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Down By The Salley Gardens / Bejun Mehta, Julius Drake


Release Date: 09/13/2011 
Label:  Harmonia Mundi   Catalog #: 902093   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Lennox BerkeleyGerald FinziIvor GurneyVictor Hely-Hutchinson,   ... 
Performer:  Bejun MehtaJulius Drake
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Bejun Mehta is a true countertenor; that is, his voice possesses a natural brightness that's warm, never harsh, and can never be mistaken for the quality of a baritone or tenor singing falsetto. And, importantly, there are none of those weak spots in his range as those pretend countertenors usually have. Here he's chosen ideal repertoire for his voice and expressive powers, ranging from the dramatic--Howells' "King David", Stanford's "La Belle Dame Sans Merci"--the humorous--Warlock's "Jillian of Berry", Hely-Hutchinson's "Set in the manner of Handel"--and the reflective, evocative, and melancholy--most of the rest of the 23 selections.

Mehta is completely in control of both the
Read more emotional and descriptive aspects of the texts, and he particularly seems to relish the songs by Finzi and Quilter, who not coincidentally are masters at realizing in music the sounds, rhythms, and inflections of the poetry (by Hardy, Shakespeare, Stevenson). His rendition of Finzi's "The Sigh" is a delight among many such highlights, and in Vaughan Williams' "Bright is the ring of words" we're treated to his velvety-rich lower-register tones--would that we could hear many more!

Although Mehta's "King David" is a rendition as affecting as anyone could tastefully wring from this song, it does reveal one flaw in his singing style: he has a tendency to "lean in" to notes at certain points of a phrase he wants to emphasize, which could be used as an occasional, effective expressive device, but as a habit it turns into a distracting affectation. Fortunately this isn't a constant mannerism, but it's prevalent enough to mention, and once you notice it, it does detract from a few of the otherwise flawless, ingratiating performances.

We've praised this singer before, almost a year ago for his solo-debut Handel program- and this duplicates that impressive offering, complemented by an agreeable sonic perspective. If you don't know this repertoire, this makes a fine introduction. Strongly recommended.

--David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1. Songs (5), Op. 26: The Horseman by Lennox Berkeley
Performer:  Bejun Mehta (Countertenor), Julius Drake (Piano)
2. Oh fair to see, Op. 13: no 7, Since we loved by Gerald Finzi
Performer:  Bejun Mehta (Countertenor), Julius Drake (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1956; England 
3. A Young Man's Exhortation, Op. 14: no 7, The Sigh by Gerald Finzi
Performer:  Bejun Mehta (Countertenor), Julius Drake (Piano)
4. I Said to Love, Op. 19b: At Middle-Field Gate in February by Gerald Finzi
Performer:  Bejun Mehta (Countertenor), Julius Drake (Piano)
5. Down by the Salley Gardens by Ivor Gurney
Performer:  Bejun Mehta (Countertenor), Julius Drake (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1921; England 
6. Old Mother Hubbard "Set in the manner of Handel" by Victor Hely-Hutchinson
Performer:  Bejun Mehta (Countertenor), Julius Drake (Piano)
7. King David by Herbert Howells
Performer:  Bejun Mehta (Countertenor), Julius Drake (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1921; England 
8. Songs (4), Op. 22: The Widow Bird by Herbert Howells
Performer:  Bejun Mehta (Countertenor), Julius Drake (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1915 
9. The little boy lost by Herbert Howells
Performer:  Bejun Mehta (Countertenor), Julius Drake (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: by 1920 
10. Oedipus, Z 583: Music for a while by Henry Purcell
Performer:  Bejun Mehta (Countertenor), Julius Drake (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: ?1692; England 
11. Lord, what is man?, Z 192 by Henry Purcell
Performer:  Bejun Mehta (Countertenor), Julius Drake (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1693; England 
Notes: Arrangement: Benjamin Britten 
12. Let the night perish, Z 191 "Job's Curse" by Henry Purcell
Performer:  Bejun Mehta (Countertenor), Julius Drake (Piano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1688; England 
Notes: Arrangement: Benjamin Britten 
13. Shakespeare Songs (5), Op. 23: no 5, Hey, ho, the wind and the rain by Roger Quilter
Performer:  Bejun Mehta (Countertenor), Julius Drake (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1921; England 
14. Shakespeare Songs (5), Op. 23: no 4, Take, O take those lips away by Roger Quilter
Performer:  Bejun Mehta (Countertenor), Julius Drake (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1921; England 
15. Shakespeare Songs (5), Op. 23: no 3, It was a lover and his lass by Roger Quilter
Performer:  Bejun Mehta (Countertenor), Julius Drake (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1919-1921; England 
16. La Belle Dame sans Merci by Charles Villiers Stanford
Performer:  Bejun Mehta (Countertenor), Julius Drake (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1877; England 
17. Linden Lea by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Performer:  Bejun Mehta (Countertenor), Julius Drake (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1901; England 
18. Songs of travel: no 8, Bright is the ring of words by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Performer:  Bejun Mehta (Countertenor), Julius Drake (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1901-1904; England 
19. Jillian of Berry by Peter Warlock
Performer:  Bejun Mehta (Countertenor), Julius Drake (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1926; England 

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