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The Ballad Singer / Gerald Finley, Julius Drake

Finley / Drake
Release Date: 06/14/2011 
Label:  Hyperion   Catalog #: 67830   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Ludwig van BeethovenCarl LoeweFranz SchubertRobert Schumann,   ... 
Performer:  Gerald FinleyJulius Drake
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 11 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Extremely well-presented. A refreshing counterpoint to the lieder and chanson that adorn the catalogues.

This is a most interesting disc. It explores a genre that, as the excellent accompanying booklet explains, evolved from a dance-song, typically performed by street minstrels, coming to mean “a strophic ... narrative song”. As befits the tradition, the songs of which this release consists explore various aspects of the off-beat, the fantastic and the supernatural. They range from the satirical scorn of Goethe’s Faust, through the surreal scenario captured in The Walking Bell, to the nightmarish horror of Erlkönig and Die Löwenbraut. Gentler sentiments are also
Read more represented, however. An example is to be found in Sullivan’s The Lost Chord - a drawing-room favourite that is here given an entirely new aspect by a sincere and artistic performance. The following item, The Desert, by the Plymouth-born Louis Emanuel, provides light relief.

The performances throughout from both artists are imaginative, thoughtful, strikingly coloured and vividly projected. Any pair of musicians performing Erlkönig must inevitably be measured against the exceptional recording made by Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau and Gerald Moore. This comes very close, with unerring clarity in the reiterated triplets from Drake and well-delineated voicing from Finley. It never strays into caricature. Imaginative voicing, too, is a feature of Edward, a grim story of patricide with a twist at its end – the repeated utterances of ‘Edward, Edward’ and ‘Mother, mother’ are altered throughout, sometimes subtly, sometimes dramatically; but always convincingly within the dramatic context. Drake shines especially in Wolf’s Der Feuerreiter, the piano part of which could easily disintegrate into chaos, so dense and so complex is it. Its colours, registration and detail are so expertly drawn out that it forms a perfect counterpoint to the textual setting. The one small quibble is Finley’s slightly less-than-convincing and inconsistently applied Scottish accent in Lord Randall – the American accent he employs for Cole Porter’s The Tale of the Oyster is similarly unpredictable.

Overall, however, this is an extremely well-presented disc which is a refreshing counterpoint to the lieder cycles and chanson sets that adorn the catalogues. Well-known and less familiar composers are united in the realisation of a genre that is all too often overlooked and these works find firm advocates in two fine and intellectually attuned artists.

-- Em Marshall-Luck, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

1.
Songs (6), Op. 75: no 3, Aus Goethes Faust by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Gerald Finley (Baritone), Julius Drake (Piano)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1809; Vienna, Austria 
2.
Ballads (3), Op. 20: no 3, Die wandelnde Glocke by Carl Loewe
Performer:  Gerald Finley (Baritone), Julius Drake (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
3.
Ballads (3), Op. 1: no 1, Edward by Carl Loewe
Performer:  Gerald Finley (Baritone), Julius Drake (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
4.
Der Erlkönig, D 328 by Franz Schubert
Performer:  Gerald Finley (Baritone), Julius Drake (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1815; Vienna, Austria 
5.
Romances and Ballades i, Op. 45: no 1, Der Schatzgräber by Robert Schumann
Performer:  Gerald Finley (Baritone), Julius Drake (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1840; Germany 
6.
Gesänge (3), Op. 31: no 1, Die Löwenbraut by Robert Schumann
Performer:  Gerald Finley (Baritone), Julius Drake (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1840; Germany 
7.
Deutsche Volkslieder (49), WoO 33: no 29, Es war ein... by Johannes Brahms
Performer:  Gerald Finley (Baritone), Julius Drake (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1893-1894; Germany 
8.
Mörike Lieder: no 44, Der Feuerreiter by Hugo Wolf
Performer:  Gerald Finley (Baritone), Julius Drake (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1888; Vienna, Austria 
9.
Des Knaben Wunderhorn: no 9, Wo die schönen Trompeten blasen by Gustav Mahler
Performer:  Gerald Finley (Baritone), Julius Drake (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892-1898; Hamburg, Germany 
10.
La Belle Dame sans Merci by Charles Villiers Stanford
Performer:  Gerald Finley (Baritone), Julius Drake (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1877; England 
11.
Lord Randall by Cyril Scott
Performer:  Gerald Finley (Baritone), Julius Drake (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
12.
The Lost Chord by Arthur Sullivan
Performer:  Gerald Finley (Baritone), Julius Drake (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1877; England 
13.
The Desert by Louis Emanuel
Performer:  Gerald Finley (Baritone), Julius Drake (Piano)
14.
Fifty Million Frenchmen: The tale of the oyster by Cole Porter
Performer:  Gerald Finley (Baritone), Julius Drake (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1929; USA 

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