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Lads Of Love And Sorrow: Songs By J.r. Williamson

Williamson / Rowlinson / Jones
Release Date: 07/12/2011 
Label:  Divine Art   Catalog #: 24153   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  John R. Williamson
Performer:  Mark RowlinsonDavid Jones
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews



WILLIAMSON Songs of Love and Sorrow Mark Rowlinson (bar); David Jones (pn) DIVERSIONS 24153 (66:20 Text and Translation)


John Ramsden Williamson is a British composer, born in Manchester in 1929, and is still alive. He is an enthusiast of the poet A. E. Houseman, and the vast majority of his songs (about 120 of them in all) are settings of Houseman poems. The songs on this disc are divided into categories: love, war sorrow and regret, lost love, religion, pastoral, and Read more conflict (the latter being two World War I poems by Sassoon). His style and musical grammar are conservative, clearly a part of the English song tradition. They are lyrical, with straightforward, chordal-based piano accompaniments, and they are pleasant and engaging. They may not reach the depths of Vaughan Williams’s best songs, but they make an enjoyable hour of listening.


While I am happy to have discovered Williamson’s songs, I would have preferred discovering them with a singer with more solid vocal equipment. Mark Rowlinson sounds like a singer near (or at) the end of his career; while the provided biography is not precise, it would indicate a singer in his 60s. I don’t know what the voice sounded like 10 or 20 years ago, but at this stage the tone is loose and unfocused, and seems produced more in the throat than from the diaphragm. He is a terrific musician, he is very sensitive to the texts and to the differing moods of the songs, and he does sing in tune and with a firm rhythmic pulse. The result, therefore, is good enough to serve as an introduction to these songs, particularly because the singer is clearly engaged with them, but it would be gratifying and instructive to hear someone like Gerald Finley have a go at these.


David Jones is an involved, sensitive pianist, and the recorded sound, while just a bit too airy for my taste, is certainly more than acceptable, and is well balanced between singer and voice. There are helpful notes on the songs by the composer, and bios of the composer and both artists. Although Rowlinson’s diction is excellent, it is praiseworthy for Diversions to have provided texts. In the end, I am glad to have heard this disc, and think that anyone who enjoys the special world of 20th-century English song writing will find pleasure here, despite my reservations.


FANFARE: Henry Fogel
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Works on This Recording

1.
She walks in beauty by John R. Williamson
Performer:  Mark Rowlinson (Baritone), David Jones (Piano)
2.
When we two parted by John R. Williamson
Performer:  David Jones (Piano), Mark Rowlinson (Baritone)
3.
Before the battle by John R. Williamson
Performer:  David Jones (Piano), Mark Rowlinson (Baritone)
4.
I stood with the dead by John R. Williamson
Performer:  David Jones (Piano), Mark Rowlinson (Baritone)
5.
Hughley Steeple by John R. Williamson
Performer:  David Jones (Piano), Mark Rowlinson (Baritone)
6.
I lay me down and slumber by John R. Williamson
Performer:  David Jones (Piano), Mark Rowlinson (Baritone)
7.
Sinner's rue by John R. Williamson
Performer:  David Jones (Piano), Mark Rowlinson (Baritone)
8.
Parta Quies by John R. Williamson
Performer:  David Jones (Piano), Mark Rowlinson (Baritone)
9.
He looked at me with eyes I thought by John R. Williamson
Performer:  David Jones (Piano), Mark Rowlinson (Baritone)
10.
Others, I am not the first by John R. Williamson
Performer:  David Jones (Piano), Mark Rowlinson (Baritone)
11.
Farewell to barn and stack and tree by John R. Williamson
Performer:  David Jones (Piano), Mark Rowlinson (Baritone)
12.
When the lad for longing sighs by John R. Williamson
Performer:  David Jones (Piano), Mark Rowlinson (Baritone)
13.
I hoed and trenched and weeded by John R. Williamson
Performer:  David Jones (Piano), Mark Rowlinson (Baritone)
14.
Oh were he and I together by John R. Williamson
Performer:  David Jones (Piano), Mark Rowlinson (Baritone)
15.
The new mistress by John R. Williamson
Performer:  Mark Rowlinson (Baritone), David Jones (Piano)
16.
Oh, see how thick the gold cup flowers by John R. Williamson
Performer:  David Jones (Piano), Mark Rowlinson (Baritone)
17.
Easter Hymn by John R. Williamson
Performer:  David Jones (Piano), Mark Rowlinson (Baritone)
18.
Revolution by John R. Williamson
Performer:  David Jones (Piano), Mark Rowlinson (Baritone)
19.
In valleys of springs of flowers by John R. Williamson
Performer:  David Jones (Piano), Mark Rowlinson (Baritone)
20.
March by John R. Williamson
Performer:  David Jones (Piano), Mark Rowlinson (Baritone)

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