WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Echoes Of Nightingales / Christine Brewer, Roger Vignoles

Brewer,Christine
Release Date: 03/08/2011 
Label:  Hyperion   Catalog #: 67813  
Composer:  Sidney HomerEdwin McArthurArthur Walter KramerMildred Lund Tyson,   ... 
Performer:  Roger VignolesChristine Brewer
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 6 Mins. 

In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  
On sale! $21.98
CD:  $19.99
In Stock



Notes and Editorial Reviews

"Encores are the theme of Christine Brewer's recital, and specifically those associated with four of her great predecessors: Kirsten Flagstad, Helen Traubel, Eileen Farrell and Eleanor Steber. Like Brewere, they all but Steber had ampler, glamorous voices associated with the Wagnerian repertoire, and Brewer surely matches their vocal excellence...Irresistible."
***** Performance
**** Recording

-- George Hall, BBC Music Magazine [4/2011]

A disc with encores, many, even most of them, unknown, seems an interesting idea. It isn’t new: Elly Ameling recorded an LP with songs from all over the world and in sundry languages and there have to be others as well. The point with this disc is that we
Read more get a good handful each from four dramatic sopranos’ supply of encores, sung by a latter day equivalent. But why the title Echoes of Nightingales? Human nightingales are the likes of Erna Sack, Erna Berger, Miliza Korjus and Rita Streich and their repertoire should have been sung by Diana Damrau or Natalie Dessay. The source is the first song of this collection, Sidney Homer’s and William Ernest Henley, where the first stanza reads:

                Sing to me, sing, and sing again,
                My glad, great-throated nightingale:
                Sing as the good sun through the rain,
                Sing, as the home-wind in the sail!

The song belonged to Helen Traubel’s repertoire and she spent twelve years at the Met singing exclusively Wagner roles. But she started in a lighter vein, singing cabaret and vaudeville, which she also did in parallel with her Met tenure, much to Rudolf Bing’s dismay. All the others also ventured into light repertoire and even the great Kirsten Flagstad could let her hair down and tackle folksongs, the exquisite Grieg songs, composed mainly for his wife, the lyrical Nina Hagerup. So why complain? Human nightingales exist in all sizes and here we can wallow in sounds from one of the best endowed of the dramatic soprano species.

So there is no need to complain. Christine Brewer has long been a favourite and her contribution to Hyperion’s project with the complete Schubert songs, masterminded and accompanied by Graham Johnson, was one of the glories of that set. Hers is a fantastic voice: large, with lots of decibels in reserve, brilliant top notes but so rounded and smooth that she caresses the ear like a mild west wind. It is quite unlike Flagstad’s bronze trombone tones and nowhere near Birgit Nilsson’s laser beam sound. In recital Ms Nilsson could also let her hair down and sing for instance Swedish folk songs, or O mio babbino caro or I could have danced all night. She isn’t a new Traubel, or Farrell or Steber either. She is Christine Brewer and listening through this delightful collection I didn’t hear any of those whose encores she sang but – Christine Brewer. And that is not just fair enough – it’s great. So there is no need to complain.

I don’t know how many of these songs were actually recorded by the old ’uns. Flagstad set down the Frank Bridge song during her Indian summer Decca sojourn, but I didn’t bother to search it out for comparison. Encore time isn’t for deep analysis, it is for enjoyment.

And there is a lot to enjoy here. Occasionally an old favourite appears, like Romberg’s Will you remember, so beautifully and sensitively sung. The last rose of summer is another soft number and it is nice to hear If I could tell you, by Idabelle Firestone. She was married to Harvey Samuel Firestone, founder of the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company who sponsored the Firestone programmes on radio and television and required that the guest of the evening should sing that song as the opening number. I have recently listened to Jussi Björling in newly restored recordings from those and other American radio programmes. He never sentimentalized anything he sang but the somewhat syrupy orchestral arrangements tend to make the song sound sticky. Accompanied by piano, exquisitely played, as always, by Roger Vignoles, Christine Brewer’s scaled-down chamber version of the song sounds healthier.

Maybe, I thought before starting the CD-player, maybe I shouldn’t play the whole disc in one sitting. But I was wrong. It works well, even though there is no central group of songs by Schubert or Wolf. But Sidney Homer, Edwin McArthur (Flagstad’s long-time accompanist), Mildred Lund Tyson and Celius Dougherty (Ms Brewer’s own encore) can deputize for the Lieder greats.

I hardly need to add that the recording and production values are up to Hyperion’s usual standards. Never standard but highly interesting and perspective-building, are the liner-notes by the late lamented John Steane.

A final piece of advice: go out and buy the disc, lock the door, shut the blinds, pour a glass of Medoc, light a candle, slump down in your favourite chair, read John Steane’s essay and start listening. You won’t regret the purchase – or the wine for that matter. And agree with me: there is no cause for complaint.

-- Göran Forsling, MusicWeb International
Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Sing to me, sing, Op. 28 by Sidney Homer
Performer:  Roger Vignoles (Piano), Christine Brewer (Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
2.
Night by Edwin McArthur
Performer:  Christine Brewer (Soprano), Roger Vignoles (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
3.
Now like a lantern, Op 44 no 5 by Arthur Walter Kramer
Performer:  Roger Vignoles (Piano), Christine Brewer (Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
4.
Sea Moods by Mildred Lund Tyson
Performer:  Christine Brewer (Soprano), Roger Vignoles (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
5.
Summertime: O lovely night by Landon Ronald
Performer:  Christine Brewer (Soprano), Roger Vignoles (Piano)
Written: pub 1901 
6.
At Parting by James Hotchkiss Rogers
Performer:  Roger Vignoles (Piano), Christine Brewer (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: USA 
7.
The Sleep that Flits on Baby's Eyes by John Alden Carpenter
Performer:  Christine Brewer (Soprano), Roger Vignoles (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
8.
Hickory Hill by Paul Sargent
Performer:  Christine Brewer (Soprano), Roger Vignoles (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
9.
Through the Years: Through the years by Vincent Youmans
Performer:  Christine Brewer (Soprano), Roger Vignoles (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1932; USA 
10.
There shall be more joy, Op. 48 no 6 by Paul Nordoff
Performer:  Christine Brewer (Soprano), Roger Vignoles (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
11.
Hills by Frank La Forge
Performer:  Christine Brewer (Soprano), Roger Vignoles (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
12.
Love went a-riding, H 114 by Frank Bridge
Performer:  Roger Vignoles (Piano), Christine Brewer (Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1914; England 
13.
In My Garden by Idabelle Firestone
Performer:  Roger Vignoles (Piano), Christine Brewer (Soprano)
14.
Maytime: Will you remember? by Sigmund Romberg
Performer:  Roger Vignoles (Piano), Christine Brewer (Soprano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1917; USA 
15.
If I could tell you by Idabelle Firestone
Performer:  Christine Brewer (Soprano), Roger Vignoles (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1940; USA 
16.
Martha: Letzte Rose "The last rose of summer" by Friedrich von Flotow
Performer:  Christine Brewer (Soprano), Roger Vignoles (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1847; Germany 
17.
Song of Songs by Harold Vicars
Performer:  Christine Brewer (Soprano), Roger Vignoles (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1914; England 
18.
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by John La Montaine
Performer:  Christine Brewer (Soprano), Roger Vignoles (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
19.
Cabin in the Sky: Happiness Is a Thing Called Joe by Harold Arlen
Performer:  Christine Brewer (Soprano), Roger Vignoles (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1940; USA 
20.
On the Town: Some other time by Leonard Bernstein
Performer:  Christine Brewer (Soprano), Roger Vignoles (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1944; USA 
21.
When I have sung my songs by Ernest Charles
Performer:  Christine Brewer (Soprano), Roger Vignoles (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1934; USA 
22.
Review by Celius Dougherty
Performer:  Christine Brewer (Soprano), Roger Vignoles (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Refreshing! December 28, 2013 By Dolores C. (Norristown, PA) See All My Reviews "What a pleasure to listen to this album! The sincerity, musicality and artistry of both the singer and her marvelous pianist draw you into the era of these wonderful songs;yet,they seem timeless and are so inviting, it makes one want to listen repeatedly. I'm alerting my students to this album and think every student/singer should have some of these songs in their repertoire. Ms. Brewer's impressive voice and singing are stylishly captivating; Roger Vignoles' expressive accompaniments match this completely. This is a real "keeper" for me." Report Abuse
Review This Title
Review This Title Share on Facebook




YOU MUST BE A SUBSCRIBER TO LISTEN - TRY IT FREE!
Listen to all your favorite classical music for only $20/month.
Sign up for your monthly subscription service and get unlimited access to the most comprehensive digital catalog of classical music in the world - new releases. bestsellers, advanced releases and more.
Aleady a subscriber? Sign In