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English Song Series 8 - Liza Lehmann: Daisy Chain, Bird Songs

Lehmann / Watson / Wyn-rogers / Spence / Davies
Release Date: 04/20/2004 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8557118   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Liza LehmannCharles Edward Horn
Performer:  Janice WatsonSteuart BedfordCatherine Wyn-RogersToby Spence,   ... 
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 15 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Issued as Volume 8 of Naxos' English Song Series, many listeners may have overlooked this the first time around, when it appeared on the now-defunct Collins Classics in 1997. Perhaps that's because they never heard of Liza Lehmann (1862-1918)--who happens to be the grandmother of conductor/pianist Steuart Bedford--or may simply refuse to believe that a song recital disc could be anything but boring. All I can say is, if you enjoy vocal music and you appreciate very good songs well sung, this excellent recital offers 75 entertaining minutes and includes several songs that deserve a far wider reputation. Although Lehmann's In a Persian Garden was her best-known song cycle, the selections here are drawn from several others, to which are added Read more a few stand-alone pieces. One of the latter, Lehmann's arrangement of C.E. Horn's "Cherry Ripe", begins the program with what portends a recital of light, parlor-music bon-bons. However, almost as soon as Lehmann's own music takes over--around track 3, in selections from her cycle The Daisy Chain (which includes songs to texts by Robert Louis Stevenson)--we hear the work of a bright and highly skilled melodist whose mastery of the piano also shows in her apt accompaniments. She also reveals a canny knack for depicting the sense and mood of a text--as well as many far better-known composers.


What's more, the singing, shared by four vocalists, is top-notch. Especially notable for their personable style and dead-on technique are soprano Janice Watson, mezzo Catherine Wyn-Rogers, and baritone Neal Davies. (Tenor Toby Spence is fine but occasionally his quality is a bit harsh and thin-toned.) All of their collaborations in the humorous songs--the Four Cautionary Tales (texts by Hillaire Belloc) and the Nonsense Songs from Alice in Wonderland--are expertly and engagingly done. Particularly affecting (and ideally sung) are Lehmann's settings of Constance Morgan's "Evensong", Longfellow's "Endymion", Christina Rossetti's "When I am dead, my dearest", and Shelley's "Music when soft voices die". Steuart Bedford does his grandmother very proud with his authoritative, lively, sparkling, expressive accompaniments, and all is recorded to perfection in the famed acoustics of London's Rosslyn Hill Chapel. I'm glad I didn't pass on this a second time--it's a gem. [4/19/2004]
--David Vernier, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Cherry Ripe, aria by Charles Edward Horn
Performer:  Janice Watson (), Steuart Bedford (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: circa 1826 
Venue:  Rosslyn Hill Chapel, Hampstead, London, 
Length: 2 Minutes 39 Secs. 
2.
The Daisy Chain, 12 songs of childhood, for voice & piano by Liza Lehmann
Performer:  Catherine Wyn-Rogers (), Toby Spence (), Steuart Bedford (Piano),
Neal [Bass-Baritone Vocal] Davies (), Janice Watson ()
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1902 
Venue:  Rosslyn Hill Chapel, Hampstead, London, 
Length: 11 Minutes 27 Secs. 
3.
Bird Songs (5), for voice & piano by Liza Lehmann
Performer:  Steuart Bedford (Piano), Janice Watson ()
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1906 
Venue:  Rosslyn Hill Chapel, Hampstead, London, 
Length: 9 Minutes 19 Secs. 
4.
Magdalen at Michael's Gate by Liza Lehmann
Performer:  Janice Watson (), Steuart Bedford (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: England 
Venue:  Rosslyn Hill Chapel, Hampstead, London, 
Length: 3 Minutes 36 Secs. 
5.
Evensong, for voice & piano by Liza Lehmann
Performer:  Steuart Bedford (Piano), Catherine Wyn-Rogers ()
Period: Romantic 
Venue:  Rosslyn Hill Chapel, Hampstead, London, 
Length: 2 Minutes 36 Secs. 
6.
Endymion, for voice & piano by Liza Lehmann
Performer:  Janice Watson (), Steuart Bedford (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Venue:  Rosslyn Hill Chapel, Hampstead, London, 
Length: 7 Minutes 18 Secs. 
7.
Music when soft voices die, for voice & piano by Liza Lehmann
Performer:  Steuart Bedford (Piano), Neal [Bass-Baritone Vocal] Davies ()
Period: Romantic 
Venue:  Rosslyn Hill Chapel, Hampstead, London, 
Length: 2 Minutes 27 Secs. 
8.
To a little red spider, for voice & piano by Liza Lehmann
Performer:  Catherine Wyn-Rogers (), Steuart Bedford (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Venue:  Rosslyn Hill Chapel, Hampstead, London, 
Length: 2 Minutes 50 Secs. 
9.
Dusk in the Valley, for voice & piano by Liza Lehmann
Performer:  Catherine Wyn-Rogers (), Steuart Bedford (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Venue:  Rosslyn Hill Chapel, Hampstead, London, 
Length: 2 Minutes 41 Secs. 
10.
The Lily of a day, for voice & piano by Liza Lehmann
Performer:  Janice Watson (), Steuart Bedford (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1895 
Venue:  Rosslyn Hill Chapel, Hampstead, London, 
Length: 2 Minutes 32 Secs. 
11.
When I am dead my dearest, for voice & piano by Liza Lehmann
Performer:  Janice Watson (), Steuart Bedford (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Venue:  Rosslyn Hill Chapel, Hampstead, London, 
Length: 2 Minutes 33 Secs. 
12.
Four Cautionary Tales & a Moral, for voice & piano by Liza Lehmann
Performer:  Neal [Bass-Baritone Vocal] Davies (), Catherine Wyn-Rogers (), Steuart Bedford (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Venue:  Rosslyn Hill Chapel, Hampstead, London, 
Length: 16 Minutes 21 Secs. 
13.
My true friend hath my hat, for voice & piano by Liza Lehmann
Performer:  Neal [Bass-Baritone Vocal] Davies (), Toby Spence (), Steuart Bedford (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Venue:  Rosslyn Hill Chapel, Hampstead, London, 
Length: 1 Minutes 44 Secs. 
14.
Nonsense Songs (9) from Alice in Wonderland for voice & piano: Mockturtle soup by Liza Lehmann
Performer:  Toby Spence (), Steuart Bedford (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Venue:  Rosslyn Hill Chapel, Hampstead, London, 
Length: 3 Minutes 37 Secs. 
15.
Nonsense Songs (9) from Alice in Wonderland for voice & piano: Will you walk a little faster? by Liza Lehmann
Performer:  Toby Spence (), Steuart Bedford (Piano), Janice Watson (),
Catherine Wyn-Rogers (), Neal [Bass-Baritone Vocal] Davies ()
Period: Romantic 
Venue:  Rosslyn Hill Chapel, Hampstead, London, 
Length: 1 Minutes 44 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Cherry Ripe
The Daisy-Chain: Fairies
The Daisy-Chain: Keepsake Mill
The Daisy-Chain: If no one ever marries me
The Daisy-Chain: Stars
The Daisy-Chain: The Swing
The Daisy-Chain: Mustard and Cress
Bird Songs: The Woodpigeon
Bird Songs: The Starling
Bird Songs: The Yellowhammer
Bird Songs: The Wren
Bird Songs: The Owl
Magdalen at Michael's Gate
Evensong
Endymion
Music when soft voices die
To a Little Red Spider: To a little red spider
Dusk in the Valley
The Lily of a Day
When I am Dead, My Dearest: When I am dead, My dearest
4 Cautionary Tales and a Moral: Rebecca
4 Cautionary Tales and a Moral: Jim
4 Cautionary Tales and a Moral: Matilda
4 Cautionary Tales and a Moral: Henry King
4 Cautionary Tales and a Moral: Charles Augustus Fortescue
My true friend hath my hat
Nonsense Songs: Mockturtle soup
Nonsense Songs: Will you walk a little faster?

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