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The Very Best Of English Song

Very Best Of English Song / Various
Release Date: 04/03/2012 
Label:  Emi Classics   Catalog #: 80513   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Ralph Vaughan WilliamsJohn IrelandCharles Hubert ParryRoger Quilter,   ... 
Performer:  Dame Janet BakerGerald MooreThomas AllenGeoffrey Parsons,   ... 
Conductor:  Sir Neville MarrinerSir John BarbirolliSimon RattleSteuart Bedford,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the FieldsFretworkLondon Symphony Orchestra,   ... 
Number of Discs: 5 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Ranging from Shakespeare’s contemporaries to the Victorian school and beyond, this fine box set calls on some of the greatest artists—including a wealth of British talent—to celebrate the diversity and longevity of English song. From simple melodic expression to the textural sophistication of orchestral settings, with the sea and landscape assuming a prominent role throughout, the songs included here comprise a fitting tribute, simultaneously revealing the rich cultural legacy of English poetry. Ranging from Shakespeare’s contemporaries to the Victorian school and beyond, this fine box set calls on some of the greatest artists—including a wealth of British talent—to celebrate the diversity and longevity of English song. From simple melodic expression to the textural sophistication of orchestral settings, with the sea and landscape assuming a prominent role throughout, the songs included here comprise a fitting tribute, simultaneously revealing the rich cultural legacy of English poetry. Read less

Works on This Recording

1. Linden Lea by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Performer:  Dame Janet Baker (Mezzo Soprano), Gerald Moore (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1901; England 
2. Songs Sacred and Profane: no 4, The salley gardens by John Ireland
Performer:  Dame Janet Baker (Mezzo Soprano), Gerald Moore (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1929-1931; England 
3. O mistress mine by Charles Hubert Parry
Performer:  Dame Janet Baker (Mezzo Soprano), Gerald Moore (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
4. Songs (3), Op. 3: no 1, Love's Philosophy by Roger Quilter
Performer:  Dame Janet Baker (Mezzo Soprano), Gerald Moore (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1905; England 
5. Songs (3), Op. 3: no 2, Now sleeps the crimson petal by Roger Quilter
Performer:  Thomas Allen (Baritone), Geoffrey Parsons (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1904; England 
6. Bredon Hill by Graham Peel
Performer:  Thomas Allen (Baritone), Geoffrey Parsons (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
7. Songs (6) from A Shropshire Lad: Loveliest of trees by George Butterworth
Performer:  Anthony Rolfe Johnson (Tenor), David Willison (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1911; England 
8. Down by the Salley Gardens by Ivor Gurney
Performer:  Anthony Rolfe Johnson (Tenor), David Willison (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1921; England 
9. Black Stichel by Ivor Gurney
Performer:  Anthony Rolfe Johnson (Tenor), David Willison (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1920; England 
10. Belloc Songs (3): no 3, My own country by Peter Warlock
Performer:  Anthony Rolfe Johnson (Tenor), David Willison (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1926; England 
11. Passing by by Peter Warlock
Performer:  Anthony Rolfe Johnson (Tenor), David Willison (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1928; England 
12. Pretty ring time by Peter Warlock
Performer:  Anthony Rolfe Johnson (Tenor), David Willison (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1925; England 
13. Blake Songs (10) for Voice and Oboe: no 5, The lamb by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Performer:  Janet Craxton (Oboe), Ian Partridge (Tenor)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1957; England 
14. House of life: no 2, Silent Noon by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Performer:  Ian Bostridge (Tenor), Julius Drake (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1903; England 
15. Shakespeare Songs (3), Op. 6: no 1, Come away, Death by Roger Quilter
Performer:  Ian Bostridge (Tenor), Julius Drake (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1905; England 
16. Oh fair to see, Op. 13: no 7, Since we loved by Gerald Finzi
Performer:  Ian Bostridge (Tenor), Julius Drake (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1956; England 
17. Earth and Air and Rain, Op. 15: no 6, Rollicum-rorum by Gerald Finzi
Performer:  Jonathan Lemalu (Baritone), Roger Vignoles (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1928-1932; England 
18. Sea fever by John Ireland
Performer:  Jonathan Lemalu (Baritone), Roger Vignoles (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1913; England 
19. Trade Winds by Frederick Keel
Performer:  Jonathan Lemalu (Baritone), Roger Vignoles (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
20. Songs (5) of the sea, Op. 91: no 1, Drake's drum by Charles Villiers Stanford
Performer:  Robert Lloyd (Bass), Nina Walker (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1904; England 
21. Songs (5) of the sea, Op. 91: no 5, The "Old Superb" by Charles Villiers Stanford
Performer:  Robert Lloyd (Bass), Nina Walker (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1904; England 
22. Indian Love Lyrics (4): no 1, Kashmiri Song "Less than dust" by Amy Woodforde Finden
Performer:  Jack Byfield (Piano), Frederick Harvey (Baritone)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: by 1902; England 
23. Bless this house by May Brahe
Performer:  Dame Janet Baker (Mezzo Soprano), Sir Philip Ledger (Organ)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
24. Carols (3): Balulalow by Peter Warlock
Performer:  Dame Janet Baker (Mezzo Soprano), Sir Philip Ledger (Organ)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1923; England 
25. Tom Bowling by Charles Dibdin
Performer:  André Previn (Piano), Robert Tear (Tenor)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1789; England 
26. Clari: Home, Sweet Home by Henry Bishop
Performer:  André Previn (Piano), Robert Tear (Tenor)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1823; England 
27. Come into the garden, Maud by Michael Balfe
Performer:  André Previn (Piano), Robert Tear (Tenor)
28. Folksongs (7), Volume 3: no 5, Foggy, Foggy Dew by Benjamin Britten
Performer:  Sir Philip Ledger (Piano), Robert Tear (Tenor)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1947; England 
29. Folksongs (7), Volume 3: no 1, The plough boy by Benjamin Britten
Performer:  Sir Philip Ledger (Piano), Robert Tear (Tenor)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1947; England 
30. Façade: Suite no 2 - Popular Song by Sir William Walton
Performer:  Michael Flanders (Speaker)
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of St. Martin in the Fields
Period: 20th Century 
Written: by 1938; England 
31. Greensleeves by Traditional
Performer:  Alfred Deller (Counter Tenor), Desmond Dupré (Lute)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 16th Century; England 
32. First Booke of Ayres: It was a lover and his lasse by Thomas Morley
Performer:  Alfred Deller (Counter Tenor), Desmond Dupré (Lute)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 1600; England 
33. O mistress mine, where are you roaming by Thomas Morley
Performer:  Alfred Deller (Counter Tenor), Desmond Dupré (Lute)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
34. Willow Song by Anonymous
Performer:  Alfred Deller (Counter Tenor), Desmond Dupré (Lute)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: England 
35. Where the bee sucks by Robert(II) Johnson
Performer:  Alfred Deller (Counter Tenor), Desmond Dupré (Lute)
Period: Baroque 
36. Full fathom five by Robert(II) Johnson
Performer:  Alfred Deller (Counter Tenor), Desmond Dupré (Lute)
Period: Baroque 
37. Psalmes, Sonets and Songs: Lullaby, my sweet little baby by William Byrd
Performer:  Michael Chance (Counter Tenor)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Fretwork
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1588; England 
38. Ye sacred muses "Elegy for Thomas Tallis" by William Byrd
Performer:  Michael Chance (Counter Tenor)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Fretwork
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1585; England 
39. Second Booke of Songes or Ayres: no 3, Sorrow sorrow stay, lend true repentant teares by John Dowland
Performer:  Emma Kirkby (Soprano), Anthony Rooley (Lute)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 1600; England 
40. Firste Booke of Songes or Ayres: no 5, Can she excuse my wrongs? by John Dowland
Performer:  Emma Kirkby (Soprano), Anthony Rooley (Lute)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 1597; England 
41. Firste Booke of Songes or Ayres: no 19, Awake, sweet love by John Dowland
Performer:  Emma Kirkby (Soprano), Anthony Rooley (Lute)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: by 1597; England 
42. Second Booke of Songes or Ayres: no 16, Wofull heart with griefe opressed by John Dowland
Performer:  Emma Kirkby (Soprano), Anthony Rooley (Orpharion)
43. Second Booke of Songes or Ayres: no 19, Shall I sue, shall I seeke for grace? by John Dowland
Performer:  Charles Daniels (Tenor), David Miller (Lute)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 1600; England 
44. Third and Last Booke of Songes or Aires: no 5, Me, me and none but me by John Dowland
Performer:  Charles Daniels (Tenor), David Miller (Lute)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 1603; England 
45. Second Booke of Songes or Ayres: no 2, Flow, my teares by John Dowland
Performer:  Charles Daniels (Tenor), David Miller (Lute)
Period: Renaissance 
Written: 1600; England 
46. King Arthur, or The British Worthy, Z 628: Fairest Isle by Henry Purcell
Performer:  Nancy Argenta (Soprano), Nigel North (Archlute)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1691; England 
47. Oedipus, Z 583: Music for a while by Henry Purcell
Performer:  Nancy Argenta (Soprano), John Toll (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: ?1692; England 
48. Indian Queen, Z 630: I attempt from Love's sickness to fly by Henry Purcell
Performer:  Nancy Argenta (Soprano), Paul Nicholson (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1695; England 
49. If music be the food of love, Z 379 by Henry Purcell
Performer:  Nancy Argenta (Soprano), Richard Boothby (Viola da gamba), John Toll (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1692-1695; England 
50. Now that the sun hath veiled his light, Z 193 "Evening Hymn on a Ground" by Henry Purcell
Performer:  Nancy Argenta (Soprano), Paul Nicholson (Chamber Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1688; England 
51. Yarmouth Fair by Peter Warlock
Performer:  Owen Brannigan (Bass), Ernest Lush (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1924; England 
52. Smuggler's song by Mortimer
Performer:  Owen Brannigan (Bass), Gerald Moore (Piano)
53. Down Below by Sydney Carter
Performer:  Donald Swann (Piano), Ian Wallace (Baritone)
54. A Transport of Delight by Donald Swann
Performer:  Donald Swann (Piano), Ian Wallace (Baritone)
Period: 20th Century 
55. The Wart Hog by Donald Swann
Performer:  Donald Swann (Piano), Ian Wallace (Baritone)
Period: 20th Century 
56. The Hippopotamus Song by Donald Swann
Performer:  Michael Flanders (Baritone), Donald Swann (Piano)
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
57. Sea Pictures, Op. 37 by Sir Edward Elgar
Performer:  Dame Janet Baker (Mezzo soprano)
Conductor:  Sir John Barbirolli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1897-1899; England 
58. Songs of travel by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Performer:  Thomas Allen (Baritone)
Conductor:  Simon Rattle
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1901-1904; England 
Date of Recording: 05/1983 
Venue:  Town Hall, Birmingham 
Length: 23 Minutes 12 Secs. 
Language: English 
59. Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings, Op. 31 by Benjamin Britten
Performer:  Alan Civil (French Horn), Robert Tear (Tenor)
Conductor:  Sir Neville Marriner
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Northern Sinfonia
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1943; England 
Date of Recording: 06/1970 
Venue:  Old Banqueting Hall, Newcastle upon Tyne 
Length: 25 Minutes 31 Secs. 
Language: English 
60. Folksongs (7), Volume 1: no 3, Bonny Earl o' Moray by Benjamin Britten
Performer:  Neil Mackie (Tenor)
Conductor:  Steuart Bedford
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Scottish Chamber Orchestra,  Paisley Abbey Boys Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1943; England 
Date of Recording: 05/1988 
Venue:  Queen's Hall, Edinburgh 
Length: 2 Minutes 40 Secs. 
61. Folksongs (7), Volume 1: no 7, Oliver Cromwell by Benjamin Britten
Performer:  Neil Mackie (Tenor)
Conductor:  Steuart Bedford
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Scottish Chamber Orchestra,  Paisley Abbey Boys Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1943; England 
Date of Recording: 05/1988 
Venue:  Queen's Hall, Edinburgh 
Length: 0 Minutes 46 Secs. 
62. Mystical Songs (5) by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Performer:  John Shirley-Quirk (Baritone)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra,  Cambridge King's College Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1911; England 
63. Dies natalis, Op. 8 by Gerald Finzi
Performer:  Wilfred Brown (Tenor)
Conductor:  Christopher Finzi
Orchestra/Ensemble:  English Chamber Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1925-1939; England 
64. Songs (5) of the sea, Op. 91 by Charles Villiers Stanford
Performer:  Benjamin Luxon (Baritone)
Conductor:  Norman Del Mar
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra,  Bournemouth Chorus
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1904; England 
Date of Recording: 07/1982 
Venue:  Guildhall, Southampton, England 
Length: 18 Minutes 24 Secs. 
65. Songs (2), Op. 60: no 1, The Torch by Sir Edward Elgar
Performer:  Robert Tear (Tenor)
Conductor:  Vernon Handley
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1909-1910; England 
Date of Recording: 11/1979 
Venue:  Civic Hall, Bedworth, England 
Length: 2 Minutes 26 Secs. 
Language: English 
66. Songs (2), Op. 60: no 2, The River by Sir Edward Elgar
Performer:  Robert Tear (Tenor)
Conductor:  Vernon Handley
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1909-1910; England 
Date of Recording: 11/1979 
Venue:  Civic Hall, Bedworth, England 
Length: 3 Minutes 40 Secs. 
Language: English 
67. Love blows as the wind blows: In the year that's come and gone by George Butterworth
Performer:  Robert Tear (Tenor)
Conductor:  Vernon Handley
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
68. Love blows as the wind blows: Life in her creaking shoes by George Butterworth
Performer:  Robert Tear (Tenor)
Conductor:  Vernon Handley
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
69. Love blows as the wind blows: Coming up from Richmond by George Butterworth
Performer:  Robert Tear (Tenor)
Conductor:  Vernon Handley
Orchestra/Ensemble:  City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra
70. Les illuminations, Op. 18 by Benjamin Britten
Performer:  John Mark Ainsley (Tenor)
Conductor:  Nicholas Cleobury
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Britten Sinfonia
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1939; USA 
Language: English 
71. Sea Drift by Frederick Delius
Performer:  John Noble (Baritone)
Conductor:  Sir Charles Groves
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra,  Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Choir
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1903-1904; France 
Date of Recording: 06/1973 
Venue:  Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool, England 
Length: 25 Minutes 2 Secs. 
72. On Wenlock Edge by Ralph Vaughan Williams
Performer:  Ian Bostridge (Tenor)
Conductor:  Bernard Haitink
Orchestra/Ensemble:  London Philharmonic Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
Date of Recording: 12/1997  
Venue:  The Colosseum, Watford, England  
Length: 21 Minutes 32 Secs. 
Language: English 
73. In Summertime on Bredon by Graham Peel
Performer:  Frederick Harvey (Baritone)
Conductor:  George Weldon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: by 1922 
74. Devonshire Cream and Cider, song for voice & orchestra by Wilfrid Sanderson
Performer:  Frederick Harvey (Baritone)
Conductor:  George Weldon
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Philharmonia Orchestra

Sound Samples

Linden Lea - A Dorset song (1994 - Remaster)
Songs Sacred and Profane (2003 Digital Remaster): 4. The Salley Gardens
English Lyrics Set II (2003 Digital Remaster): 1. O mistress mine
Three Songs Op. 3 (1994 Digital Remaster): 1. Love's Philosophy
Now sleeps the crimson petal Op. 3 No. 2
In summertime on Bredon
Six Songs from 'A Shropshire Lad' (2001 Digital Remaster): I. Loveliest of trees
Down by the Salley Gardens (2001 Digital Remaster)
Black Stitchel (2001 Digital Remaster)
My Own Country (2001 Digital Remaster)
Passing By (2001 Digital Remaster)
Pretty Ring Time (2001 Digital Remaster)
Ten Blake Songs: 5. The Lamb
Ten Blake Songs: 6. The Shepherd [oboe tacet]
Silent Noon (No. 2 of The House of Life)
Come away, death, Op.6 No. 1
Since we loved, Op.13 No. 7
Earth and Air and Rain Op. 15: 6. Rollicum-Rorum
Sea Fever
Trade Winds (Salt-Water Ballads No. 2)
Songs of the Sea Op. 91 (version with piano) (2003 Digital Remaster): I. Drake's Drum (Tempo di marcia moderato)
Songs of the Sea Op. 91 (version with piano) (2003 Digital Remaster): V. The Old Superb (Allegro vivace)
Four Indian Love Lyrics: 3. Pale hands I loved beside the Shalimar (Kashmiri Song)
Bless this House
Balulalow (wds Wedderburn brothers after Luther) (1994 Digital Remaster)
Tom Bowling
Home! Sweet Home!
Come into the garden, Maud (1993 Digital Remaster)
Folk Song Arrangement: The Foggy, Foggy Dew (2000 Digital Remaster)
Folk Song Arrangement: The Plough Boy (2000 Digital Remaster)
Façade - An entertainment with poems by Edith Sitwell (2000 Digital Remaster): 19. Popular Song
Greensleeves [solo lute verse at end cut] (1995 Digital Remaster)
Two songs: It was a lover and his lasse (The First Booke of Ayres or Little Short Songs) (As you like it)
Two songs: O mistress mine (attrib. Morley; arr. from The First Booke of Consort Lessons) (Twelfth Night)
The Willow Song (Othello) (1995 Digital Remaster)
Where the bee sucks (The Tempest) (1995 Digital Remaster)
Full fathom five (The Tempest) (1995 Digital Remaster)
Lullaby, my sweet little baby [last verse cut]
Elegy on the death of Thomas Tallis (Ye sacred muses)
The Second Booke of Songs or Ayres: Sorrow, stay!
Can she excuse my wrongs? (The First Booke of Songes or Ayres)
The First Booke of Songes or Ayres: Awake, sweet love (The First Booke of Songes)
Woeful heart (The Second Booke of Songs or Ayres)
Shall I sue? (The Second Booke of Songs or Ayres)
Me, me and none but me (The Third and Last Booke of Songs or Aires)
Flow, my tears (The Second Booke of Songs or Ayres)
King Arthur, Z.628: Fairest isle
Oedipus, Z.583: Music for a while
I attempt from love's sickness to fly, Z.630
If music be the food of love (1st setting), Z.379
Now that the sun hath veiled his light, Z.193
Yarmouth Fair (1994 Digital Remaster)
The Smuggler's Song (2003 Digital Remaster)
Down Below (2003 Digital Remaster)
A Transport of Delight (The Omnibus) (2003 Digital Remaster)
The Wart Hog (2003 Digital Remaster)
The Hippopotamus Song [introduced by Michael Flanders] (1991 Digital Remaster)

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 an excellent mixed bag April 11, 2012 By D. Scamehorn (Kentwood, MI) See All My Reviews "I ordered this set as a longtime fan of EMI's "British Composers" line of CDs. I was slightly surprised though, to find that this was simply a reissue of 2 roughly 10-year-old remastered sets from "The Very Best of..." series (for the curious, "The Very Best of English Song" and "T.V.B. of English Orchestral Song). It includes such classics as Dame Janet Baker's 1965 recording of "Sea Pictures", and "Songs of Travel" sung by Thomas Allen in his prime; other entries include Robert Tear in Britten and Emma Kirkby in Dowland lute songs. A few unexpected (but great fun) fillers are heard in some Flanders & Swann songs, one sung with a very enthusiastic audience joining in on the chorus!

This is the kind of album that will probably be best if you don't have any recordings of this rep, and are looking for a good introduction. Hard-core record collectors might remember the earlier issues of these recordings, and miss their "companions"--for example, Allen was paired up with Robert Tear's rendition of "On Wenlock Edge" (both cycles in rarely-heard orchestral guise). And, for that matter, why didn't EMI simply include the entire (wonderful) Ian Partridge RVW disc, instead of just 2 of the Blake Songs?

So then--fifty-fifty. If you've never heard these songs before, go and buy! If you're a collector, you may already have some of the songs re-packaged here."
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