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Heddle Nash - Serenade


Release Date: 08/1995 
Label:  Pearl   Catalog #: 9175   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Pietro MascagniGeorges BizetCharles GounodGiuseppe Verdi,   ... 
Performer:  Heddle NashGerald MooreAnonymous
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Male Quartet Choir
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Mono 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews



SERENADE Heddle Nash (ten); Miriam Licette (sop); 1 Muriel Brunskill (mez); 2 Denis Noble (bar); 3 Malcolm Sargent, cond; 4 Aylmer Buesst, cond; 5 Royal Liverpool PO; 4 British Natl Op Company O; 5 Gerald Moore (pn); Read more class="SUPER12">6 Male qrt 7 PEARL 9175, mono (71: 41)


BIZET 4 Carmen: Je fleur que tu m’avais. 4 Les pêcheurs des perles: Je crois entendre encore. 4 Jolie filles de Perth: Serenade. GOUNOD 4 Faust: Salut, demeure. MASCAGNI 5 Cavalleria rusticana: Excerpts in English. VERDI 1,2,3 Rigoletto: Bella figlia dell’amore. 1,7 Il trovatore: Miserere. PUCCINI La bohème: Che gelida manina. ROSSINI La danza. J. STRAUSS 3 Die Fledermaus: Ein souper. LEHÁR Friederike: Wayside Rose. STRAUSS 6 Ständchen (in English). DELIUS 6 Love’s Philosophy: To the Queen of my heart. MacMURROUGH 6 Macushla. TRADITIONAL 6 Eileen Alannah. 6,7 Annie Laurie. ASCHER 6 Alice, Where Art Thou?


The name and fame of William Heddle Nash (1896–1961) are far less here in the U.S. than they are in England, where he remains a near-legendary figure on a par with McCormack and Björling. He had much in common with both singers: an unusually beautiful timbre, a natural proclivity to sing according to score, and a personality that came through even the most serious aria or song as pleasant, warm, and comfortable. He also shared with them a solid singing technique, closer to that of McCormack than Björling.


This CD, as wonderful as it is, has but one handicap, and that is in presenting several excerpts from his 1928 complete recording of Cavalleria rusticana, surely the most “prettified” and unexciting ever made, rather than excerpts from his outstanding 1929–30 complete recording of Faust or his early Messiah under Beecham. Both would have served to give listeners new to his voice a better idea of his strengths and weaknesses; and I could also say the same about this inappropriate version of the “Miserere” from Il trovatore (more on that later) which really should have been replaced with his outstanding yet little-known (over here) recording of “Il mio tesoro” from Don Giovanni. That latter disc has achieved the status of a locus classicus among British collectors, and rightfully so, since it is on a par with the legendary 1916 McCormack version.


But this is the only complete CD recital by Nash currently available, thus I stubbornly place it in the Hall of Fame in spite of its few shortcomings. Despite the late date of some of these recordings (1944), plus the fact that Nash’s career actually extended into the 1950s, his voice astonishingly retained its youthful beauty, and his technique and vocal production are of a sort that had, to all extents and purposes, vanished by the time of his debut (1923) and certainly by the time he debuted in England (1925). They revolve around a remarkable and almost constant use of head tone, not of the sort we know from such tenors as Björling and Nicolai Gedda, where the singer uses chest up to the break but then switches to head as he ascends the scale. In terms of technique—but, thankfully, not style—Nash was trained in both the Blackheath Conservatoire by teachers who, like many British schools of that time, were ingrained by the Garcia technique, as well as by Giuseppe Borgatti who, though born in 1871, was an exponent of the old Italian head-tone technique that de Lucia used. Borgatti’s stage career came to a sudden and unexpected halt in 1913, when he suddenly became blind during a rehearsal of Tristan und Isolde. Thereafter, he had to make his living as a teacher and occasional concert singer. This tragic loss for Borgatti became Nash’s gain.


You can hear the results of this outstanding training, however, in virtually every track of this disc. Ironically the first three tracks, though recorded later (1944) compared to the rest of the disc, are reproduced the least clearly. The treble is rolled back for some reason, giving both voice and orchestra an uncharacteristically muddy sound. I suggest starting with the 1932 “La danza” (the only recording here of foreign material sung in the original language, in this case Italian, rather than English), the 1933 “Che gelida manina,” the 1931 Macushla or even the 1928 Siciliana and “Mamma, quel vino” from Cavalleria rusticana. All these will reveal an absolutely ear-ravishing lyric voice, impeccably clean in musical values, used with unfailing taste and a warm and ingratiating personality. Then you may go back to hear the first three tracks, where I suggest boosting treble on your playback system until the orchestra sounds somewhat clear and natural: you may then be sure that the voice will sound more natural, too. It is, perhaps, more normal for us today to hear “Je crois entendre encore” from Bizet’s Pearl Fishers sung with not so much head tone as the Carmen Flower Song; yet the latter benefits strongly from this approach. Again, following the score, Nash understands that this aria is meant to sound very “inner,” the dynamic markings indicating a rapturous and personal expression of love. He doesn’t quite manage to sing the high B? as softly as the composer calls for, but it is far from belted out, and wonder of wonders, Nash holds it only as long as the composer indicates.


At whatever point you listen to “La danza,” I particularly draw your attention to his breath control. It is seamless, so much so that, at times, it almost sounds as if he was using circular breathing to maintain a long line even while singing the rapid triplets. Considering how much modern singers are really into Baroque- and Classical-era music, and how well so many of them sing it, I’m more than a little surprised that more of them don’t pursue the kind of voice placement and technique revealed on Nash’s records. Provided that they already have a solid vocal technique, they can learn so much just by listening to the way Nash sings. This is a style and technique that deserves wider use today.


Although sung in English and having a certain over-tidiness that is quintessentially British, the Rigoletto quartet here will give listeners an idea of just how good these singers were in the 1929–30 BNOC recording of Faust —all except Dennis Noble, who was not on that recording (the baritone was Harold Williams). Their exquisite vocal placements complement each other in a way that is seldom if ever achieved nowadays, regardless of the scuola from which they sprang, and the style (for me) is only marred by Licette’s taking the unwritten high note at the end. (Miriam Licette, by the way, was the last pupil of Mathilde Marchesi, and so in her own way also represents a school of singing now so dead and gone that I almost doubt it could be revived without serious and prolonged retraining by contemporary sopranos.) Unhappily, the Trovatore “Miserere” is as misguided an interpretation as Nash’s Cavalleria recording, with a male vocal quartet acting as “chorus” and sounding for all the world like a group of madrigal singers! But technique and style are the star attractions of this disc, and even here one can learn from Nash how to place the voice in music that lies almost constantly high in tessitura.


The Fledermaus, the Ständchen, and the English songs are all superb performances as well as superbly sung from a technical standpoint, and here the sound is clear and natural. In short, this is a disc that needs to be in every tenor lover’s collection, regardless of musical proclivities and despite the emotional reticence of the Mascagni and Verdi excerpts. Heddle Nash’s voice is one always worth hearing and, for professional singers, worth learning from.


FANFARE: Lynn René Bayley
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Works on This Recording

1.
Cavalleria Rusticana: O Lola, ch'ai di latti la cammisa by Pietro Mascagni
Performer:  Heddle Nash (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1890; Italy 
Date of Recording: 1928 
2.
Cavalleria Rusticana: Mamma, quel vino è generoso "Addio" by Pietro Mascagni
Performer:  Heddle Nash (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1890; Italy 
Date of Recording: 1928 
3.
Carmen: La fleur que tu m'avais jetée "Flower song" by Georges Bizet
Performer:  Heddle Nash (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1873-1874; France 
Date of Recording: 1944 
4.
Faust: Salut! demeure chaste et pure by Charles Gounod
Performer:  Heddle Nash (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1859; France 
Date of Recording: 1944 
5.
Les pêcheurs de perles: Je crois entendre encore by Georges Bizet
Performer:  Heddle Nash (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1863; France 
Date of Recording: 1944 
6.
La jolie fille de Perth: A la voix d'un amant fidèle by Georges Bizet
Performer:  Heddle Nash (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1866; France 
Date of Recording: 1932 
7.
Cavalleria Rusticana: A casa, a casa, amici by Pietro Mascagni
Performer:  Heddle Nash (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1890; Italy 
Date of Recording: 1928 
8.
Cavalleria Rusticana: Viva il vino spumeggiante "Brindisi" by Pietro Mascagni
Performer:  Heddle Nash (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1890; Italy 
Date of Recording: 1928 
9.
Rigoletto: Bella figlia dell' amore [Quartet] by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Heddle Nash (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1851; Italy 
Date of Recording: 1931 
10.
Il trovatore: Quel suon...Ah! che la morte "Miserere" by Giuseppe Verdi
Performer:  Heddle Nash (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1853; Italy 
Date of Recording: 1931 
11.
La Bohème: Che gelida manina by Giacomo Puccini
Performer:  Heddle Nash (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1896; Italy 
Date of Recording: 1932 
12.
Die Fledermaus: Komm' mit mir zum Souper by Johann Strauss Jr.
Performer:  Heddle Nash (Tenor)
Written: 1874 
Date of Recording: 1930 
13.
Friederike: Sah ein Knab ein Röslein stehen by Franz Lehár
Performer:  Heddle Nash (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1928; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1930 
14.
Lieder (6), Op. 17: no 2, Ständchen by Richard Strauss
Performer:  Heddle Nash (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1885-1887; Germany 
Date of Recording: 1944 
15.
Songs (3): no 2, Love's Philosophy by Frederick Delius
Performer:  Heddle Nash (Tenor)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1891 
Date of Recording: 1934 
16.
Songs (3): no 3, To the Queen of my Heart by Frederick Delius
Performer:  Heddle Nash (Tenor)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1891 
Date of Recording: 1934 
17.
Macushla, your sweet voice is calling by Dermot Macmurrough
Performer:  Heddle Nash (Tenor), Gerald Moore (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: by 1910; Ireland 
Date of Recording: 1931 
18.
Eileen Alannah by John Rogers Thomas
Performer:  Heddle Nash (Tenor), Gerald Moore (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1873; England 
Date of Recording: 1931 
19.
Annie Laurie by Traditional
Performer:  Heddle Nash (Tenor), Anonymous (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Male Quartet Choir
Written: Scotland 
Date of Recording: 1933 
20.
Alice, where are thou? by Joseph Ascher
Performer:  Heddle Nash (Tenor), Gerald Moore (Piano)
Written: 1861 
Date of Recording: 1931 
21.
Les soirées musicales: no 8, La danza by Gioachino Rossini
Period: Romantic 
Written: circa 1830-1835; Italy 
Date of Recording: 1932 

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