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Track(s) taken from CDA67124

A Lullaby, Op 19 No 2

First line:
Golden slumbers kiss your eyes
author of text
The Pleasant Comedy of Patient Grissill

Stephen Varcoe (baritone), Clifford Benson (piano)
Recording details: October 1999
Rosslyn Hill Unitarian Chapel, Hampstead, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Antony Howell
Release date: June 2000
Total duration: 2 minutes 16 seconds


'Beautifully performed with excellent notes, this recording will convince even the sceptical of the true worth of these songs … a most sensitive performance' (Gramophone)

'Maintains in each and every bar the high standards of the previous release' (BBC Music Magazine)

'This collection, along with its predecessor has changed my life. Without any question, it contains some magnificent songs, settings that would grace any company under the sun … voice and piano are in true partnership. I can only salute with deepest admiration Stephen Varcoe's sterling baritone, so utterly sympathetic to Stanford's every note, so undemonstratively secure, so responsive to word and musical line' (International Record Review)

'Immediately appealing. Stephen Varcoe is the perfect singer for this repertoire. A treasure of a disc' (Fanfare, USA)
Stanford completed his Six Songs Op 19 in May 1882. The second song, A Lullaby, took Thomas Dekker’s famous words from Act 4 Scene 2 of his play The Pleasant Comedy of Patient Grissill (1603), ‘Golden slumbers kiss your eyes’. It was first sung at a CUMS Popular Concert on 25 October 1882 by Gerard Cobb (a keen amateur musician, organist and close friend of Stanford at Trinity College) with the composer at the piano. Among the numerous interpretations of this text, by Warlock, Howells and Somervell (who excelled at lullabies), Stanford’s setting has retained perhaps the greatest popularity, owing, one suspects, to the transparent simplicity of its components – the limpid lullaby ‘charm’ that climbs gently through the octave, the artlessness of the vocal line, the unforced hemiolas, and the masterful subdominant inflections (especially at the close).

from notes by Jeremy Dibble © 2000

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