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German: Tom Jones / Hulme, Staykov, Morrison, Shipp, National Festival Orchestra & Chorus, Et Al


Release Date: 08/25/2009 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8660270-71   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Edward German
Performer:  Timothy Ochala-GreenoughDonald MaxwellRichard MorrisonMarianne Hellgren Staykov,   ... 
Conductor:  David R. Hulme
Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Festival Orchestra
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 50 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Only one operetta of the four Edward German composed is represented in full on disc. That sole entry is an old EMI recording of Merrie England with William McAlpine and June Bronhill in the 1960s (CfP 757 6727). The arrival of Tom Jones is a welcome addition as it allows a better assessment of German’s quality of penmanship. Over the last few years CD recordings of German’s symphonies and theatre incidental music have appeared on the Dutton and Marco Polo. A 1966 EMI highlights disc of Tom Jones (coupled with The Beggar’s Opera) was reissued a few years ago on Classics for Pleasure CfP 759 7227 in a recording by the largely forgotten Gilbert Vinter with the Nigel Brooks chorus. Naxos offer us the full opera.

When Tom Jones
Read more was staged in 1907 it was greeted with success that equaled that of Merrie England premiered five years earlier. The new opera was believed by many to be German’s operatic masterpiece. Its success was understandable since the composer deliberately used a similar format, structure and ballad-style to that he provided in Merrie England.

German was born in deep country (Whitchurch, Salop) and had received a good grounding in musical education at the Royal Academy of Music. He provided incidental music for a number of Shakespearian plays that was much admired. Unusually, he was given a rare opportunity to discover the secrets of a successful operatic composer when invited to complete Emerald Isle, the comic opera Arthur Sullivan left unfinished when he unexpectedly died. The D’Oyly Carte establishment had decided that German was the most competent craftsman in Britain at the time to complete the master’s work and entrusted him with the task, which he did competently. Thus German had an unexpected operatic foundation on which to build his newly found talents.

In this first full recording of the complete Tom Jones we have a fresh and sprightly reading by David Russell Hulme. Hulme is no stranger to German, having for many years researched and studied the late 19th Century operatic tradition where German received his grounding. From the opening of Act I we can imagine a sun-drenched Somerset countryside with bustling villagers going about their business on Squire Western’s estate. German successfully creates that idyllic country charm of the olde English idiom made popular in his Nell Gwyn dances and later recalled by Coates and Grainger. The second Act is set at the Inn at Upton, … and yes the small hamlet of Upton in Somerset does exist. The Ranelagh Gardens setting for Act III may well be related to the palace gardens at Wiveliscombe near Taunton.

To my ears, the highlights of the opera are the Introduction and Act I opening, the “Wisdom says” trio, the “Barley Mow” sextet, a haunting Barcarolle and the Morris Dance of Act III.

There is a well-founded belief in the theatre that too many characters in a show leads to a complex plot. It may also result in insufficient exposure of a character to develop the personality sufficient to hold an audience’s interest. The characters in this comic opera are many. Thirty are catalogued in the vocal score, many of whom are individually listed in this recording. Fortunately in Tom Jones, many of these characters are embedded in the chorus and so the difficulties mentioned above do not occur. With a book fairly close to Fielding’s original novel, Squire Western, the jovial squire of the village - sung with purposeful authority by Donald Maxwell - wishes to see his mischievous and flirtatious daughter, Sophia, engaged to an insipid Mr Blifil. Sophia has other plans as she is increasingly enamoured by the advances made by villager Tom Jones, a lad who is champion of the chase and is seen as a lovable rascal by the Squire and villagers. Richard Morrison as Tom manages to provide that carefree charisma needed to attract attention and sings well with clear diction in “West Country lad”.

Sophia, sung by Marianne Hellgren Staykov, is charming, especially in the languid and sleepy “Love makes the Heart”, admirably supported by equally fine singing by Rachel Harland (Betty) and Elizabeth Menezes (Peggy) in ‘The Barley Mow’. Betty and Peggy have little input to the plot yet are vital to the balance of numbers. Honour, Sophia’s maid is given as large a part as Sophia and sings in many numbers. Heather Shipp plays the role with the protective innocence that a servant might have for her mistress. In her two solo numbers, I found her very responsive to the situation in a cheery rendering of ‘The Green Ribbon”.

The comedy in this opera is carried by two G&S patter-men, Simon Butteriss (the servant, Gregory) and Richard Suart (village barber, Ben). Gregory who regularly has to cart a drunken Squire off to bed delivers the zaniest of West Country numbers in “Jan Tappin oi niver did zee”, with its phrase-echoing chorus. Ben, who after an introduction reminiscent of John Wellington Wells (The Sorcerer), launches into a patter song ‘A Person of Parts’ that is amusing and well sung, yet with its off-beat Latin adds nothing to the plot’s development. Where was the writers’ joke? A laughing trio, “You have a Pretty Wit” is a jolly, vivacious piece that is engaging because of its brisk pace.

This comic opera, with fast-flowing and witty dialogue, is given a broad West Country setting by its authors Thompson and Courtneidge with its libretto written phonetically; e.g. ‘Somersetshire’ written as ‘Zummersetsheer’, to make sure the words are delivered in the vernacular! In a budget label recording, it would be too much to expect the booklet to contain a full libretto, but one expects too much for words to be heard above a full orchestra. I would have preferred to pay a little extra for its inclusion (see Editor's Note below). Amongst the notes is an interesting section where Hulme mentions the evolution of the original production and explains the origination of three additional numbers provided at the end of CD 2. Amongst them are two very appetizing numbers: a romantic song for Sophia, “By Day and Night” and a catchy trio with skipping rhythm, “Come away” (Tom, Sophia, & Honour).

David Russell Hulme imbues the score with freshness in his spirited reading. The orchestra plays magnificently in the warm acoustic of the RNCM’s Concert Hall. I was amused to see that the same name, ‘Donald Maxwell’, has been copy/pasted as electronic text as artist in all track numbers yet I don’t think he plays the role of Sophia or Honour although indicated as such!

Raymond J Walker, MusicWeb Internatioal
Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Tom Jones: Act 1. Introduction and by Edward German
Conductor:  David R. Hulme
Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Festival Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1907; England 
Length: 3 Minutes 16 Secs. 
Notes: Lyricist: Charles Taylor. 
2.
Tom Jones: Act 1. Opening Chorus. Don't you find the weather charming? by Edward German
Performer:  Timothy Ochala-Greenough (Voice)
Conductor:  David R. Hulme
Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Festival Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1907; England 
Length: 4 Minutes 31 Secs. 
Notes: Lyricist: Charles Taylor. 
3.
Tom Jones: Act 1. Song. On a Januairy morning by Edward German
Performer:  Donald Maxwell (Baritone)
Conductor:  David R. Hulme
Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Festival Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1907; England 
Length: 2 Minutes 49 Secs. 
Notes: Lyricist: Charles Taylor. 
4.
Tom Jones: Act 1. Song. West Country lad by Edward German
Performer:  Richard Morrison (Baritone)
Conductor:  David R. Hulme
Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Festival Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1907; England 
Length: 3 Minutes 0 Secs. 
Notes: Lyricist: Charles Taylor. 
5.
Tom Jones: Act 1. Song. To-day my spinet by Edward German
Performer:  Marianne Hellgren Staykov (Soprano)
Conductor:  David R. Hulme
Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Festival Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1907; England 
Length: 3 Minutes 45 Secs. 
Notes: Lyricist: Charles Taylor. 
6.
Tom Jones: Act 1. Interlude. I gave your message, Miss by Edward German
Performer:  Heather Shipp (Mezzo Soprano), Marianne Hellgren Staykov (Soprano), Richard Morrison (Baritone)
Conductor:  David R. Hulme
Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Festival Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1907; England 
Length: 1 Minutes 15 Secs. 
Notes: Lyricist: Charles Taylor. 
7.
Tom Jones: Act 1. Trio. Wisdom says, Festina lente by Edward German
Performer:  Richard Morrison (Baritone), Marianne Hellgren Staykov (Soprano), Heather Shipp (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  David R. Hulme
Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Festival Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1907; England 
Length: 3 Minutes 21 Secs. 
Notes: Lyricist: Charles Taylor. 
8.
Tom Jones: Act 1. Sextet. 'The Barley Mow' by Edward German
Performer:  Paul Carey Jones (Baritone), Iestyn Morris (Tenor), Heather Shipp (Mezzo Soprano),
Simon Butteriss (Baritone), Rachel Harland (Soprano), Elizabeth Menezes (Soprano)
Conductor:  David R. Hulme
Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Festival Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1907; England 
Length: 3 Minutes 56 Secs. 
Notes: Lyricist: Charles Taylor. 
9.
Tom Jones: Act 1. Madrigal Quartet. Here's a paradox for lovers by Edward German
Performer:  Paul Carey Jones (Baritone), Heather Shipp (Mezzo Soprano), Marianne Hellgren Staykov (Soprano),
Richard Morrison (Baritone)
Conductor:  David R. Hulme
Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Festival Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1907; England 
Length: 3 Minutes 16 Secs. 
Notes: Lyricist: Charles Taylor. 
10.
Tom Jones: Act 1. Finale. For aye, my love by Edward German
Performer:  Paul Carey Jones (Baritone), Richard Morrison (Baritone), Ashley Bremner (Baritone),
Marianne Hellgren Staykov (Soprano), Donald Maxwell (Baritone)
Conductor:  David R. Hulme
Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Festival Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1907; England 
Length: 9 Minutes 41 Secs. 
Notes: Lyricist: Charles Taylor. 
11.
Tom Jones: Act 2. Opening Chorus. Hurry! Bustle! by Edward German
Performer:  Catrine Kirkman (Soprano), Giles Davies (Baritone)
Conductor:  David R. Hulme
Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Festival Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1907; England 
Length: 3 Minutes 51 Secs. 
Notes: Lyricist: Charles Taylor. 
12.
Tom Jones: Act 2. Song. 'A Person of Parts' by Edward German
Performer:  Richard Suart (Baritone)
Conductor:  David R. Hulme
Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Festival Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1907; England 
Length: 3 Minutes 30 Secs. 
Notes: Lyricist: Charles Taylor. 
13.
Tom Jones: Act 2. Song. 'Dream o'Day Jill' by Edward German
Performer:  Marianne Hellgren Staykov (Soprano)
Conductor:  David R. Hulme
Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Festival Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1907; England 
Length: 2 Minutes 55 Secs. 
Notes: Lyricist: Charles Taylor. 
14.
Tom Jones: Act 2. Song. Gurt-Uncle Jan Tappit by Edward German
Performer:  Simon Butteriss (Baritone)
Conductor:  David R. Hulme
Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Festival Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1907; England 
Length: 2 Minutes 35 Secs. 
Notes: Lyricist: Charles Taylor. 
15.
Tom Jones: Act 2. Jig. With a fal la la by Edward German
Conductor:  David R. Hulme
Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Festival Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1907; England 
Length: 1 Minutes 31 Secs. 
Notes: Lyricist: Charles Taylor. 
16.
Tom Jones: Act 2. Chorus. My lady's coach by Edward German
Performer:  Catrine Kirkman (Soprano)
Conductor:  David R. Hulme
Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Festival Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1907; England 
Length: 1 Minutes 6 Secs. 
Notes: Lyricist: Charles Taylor. 
17.
Tom Jones: Act 2. Song. As all the maids by Edward German
Performer:  Heather Shipp (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  David R. Hulme
Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Festival Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1907; England 
Length: 3 Minutes 23 Secs. 
Notes: Lyricist: Charles Taylor. 
18.
Tom Jones: Act 2. Laughing Trio. You have a pretty wit by Edward German
Performer:  Heather Shipp (Mezzo Soprano), Simon Butteriss (Baritone), Richard Suart (Baritone)
Conductor:  David R. Hulme
Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Festival Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1907; England 
Length: 2 Minutes 27 Secs. 
Notes: Lyricist: Charles Taylor. 
19.
Tom Jones: Act 2. Song. 'A Soldier's Scarlet Coat' by Edward German
Performer:  Richard Morrison (Baritone)
Conductor:  David R. Hulme
Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Festival Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1907; England 
Length: 2 Minutes 24 Secs. 
Notes: Lyricist: Harry Besswick. 
20.
Tom Jones: Act 2. Song. Love maketh the heart a garden fair by Edward German
Performer:  Marianne Hellgren Staykov (Soprano)
Conductor:  David R. Hulme
Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Festival Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1907; England 
Length: 3 Minutes 15 Secs. 
Notes: Lyricist: Charles Taylor. 
21.
Tom Jones: Act 2. Finale. Where be my daughter? by Edward German
Performer:  Giles Davies (Baritone), Donald Maxwell (Baritone), Marianne Hellgren Staykov (Soprano),
Richard Morrison (Baritone), Gaynor Keeble (Mezzo Soprano), Catrine Kirkman (Soprano),
Richard Suart (Baritone)
Conductor:  David R. Hulme
Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Festival Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1907; England 
Length: 9 Minutes 51 Secs. 
Notes: Lyricist: Charles Taylor. 
22.
Tom Jones: Act 3. Morris Dance and by Edward German
Conductor:  David R. Hulme
Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Festival Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1907; England 
Length: 1 Minutes 56 Secs. 
Notes: Lyricist: Charles Taylor. 
23.
Tom Jones: Act 3. Gavotte. Glass of fashion by Edward German
Conductor:  David R. Hulme
Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Festival Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1907; England 
Length: 2 Minutes 20 Secs. 
Notes: Lyricist: Charles Taylor. 
24.
Tom Jones: Act 3. Song. 'The Green Ribbon' by Edward German
Performer:  Heather Shipp (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  David R. Hulme
Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Festival Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1907; England 
Length: 4 Minutes 46 Secs. 
Notes: Lyricist: Charles Taylor. 
25.
Tom Jones: Act 3. Song. If love's content by Edward German
Performer:  Richard Morrison (Baritone)
Conductor:  David R. Hulme
Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Festival Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1907; England 
Length: 3 Minutes 30 Secs. 
Notes: Lyricist: Charles Taylor. 
26.
Tom Jones: Act 3. Barcarolle. Beguile, beguile, with music sweet by Edward German
Performer:  Annette Stein (Voice), Karen Wise (Voice), Rachel Chapman (Voice)
Conductor:  David R. Hulme
Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Festival Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1907; England 
Length: 3 Minutes 21 Secs. 
Notes: Lyricist: Charles Taylor. 
27.
Tom Jones: Act 3. Recitative and Waltz Song. Which is my own true self? / For to-night by Edward German
Performer:  Marianne Hellgren Staykov (Soprano)
Conductor:  David R. Hulme
Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Festival Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1907; England 
Length: 3 Minutes 26 Secs. 
Notes: Lyricist: Charles Taylor. 
28.
Tom Jones: Act 3. Trio. Says a well-worn saw by Edward German
Performer:  Simon Butteriss (Baritone), Heather Shipp (Mezzo Soprano), Richard Suart (Baritone)
Conductor:  David R. Hulme
Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Festival Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1907; England 
Length: 2 Minutes 7 Secs. 
Notes: Lyricist: Charles Taylor. 
29.
Tom Jones: Act 3. Melos by Edward German
Conductor:  David R. Hulme
Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Festival Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1907; England 
Length: 0 Minutes 57 Secs. 
Notes: Lyricist: Charles Taylor. 
30.
Tom Jones: Act 3. Finale. Hark, the merry marriage bells! by Edward German
Performer:  Richard Morrison (Baritone), Heather Shipp (Mezzo Soprano), Marianne Hellgren Staykov (Soprano)
Conductor:  David R. Hulme
Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Festival Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1907; England 
Length: 1 Minutes 47 Secs. 
Notes: Lyricist: Charles Taylor. 
31.
Tom Jones: Additional Musical Numbers. Song. A Foundling Boy by Edward German
Performer:  Richard Morrison (Baritone)
Conductor:  David R. Hulme
Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Festival Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1907; England 
Length: 3 Minutes 18 Secs. 
Notes: Lyricist: Charles Taylor. 
32.
Tom Jones: Additional Musical Numbers. Song. By night and day by Edward German
Performer:  Marianne Hellgren Staykov (Soprano)
Conductor:  David R. Hulme
Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Festival Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1907; England 
Length: 3 Minutes 44 Secs. 
Notes: Lyricist: Charles Taylor. 
33.
Tom Jones: Additional Musical Numbers. Trio. Come away with me my deary by Edward German
Performer:  Heather Shipp (Mezzo Soprano), Richard Morrison (Baritone), Marianne Hellgren Staykov (Soprano)
Conductor:  David R. Hulme
Orchestra/Ensemble:  National Festival Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1907; England 
Length: 3 Minutes 3 Secs. 
Notes: Lyricist: Charles Taylor. 
34.
Tom Jones by Edward German
Conductor:  David R. Hulme
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1907; England 

Sound Samples

Tom Jones: Act I, "The lawn at Squire Western's": Introduction
Tom Jones: Act I: Don't you find the weather charming? (Chorus)
Tom Jones: Act I: Song: On a Januairy morning (Squire Western, Chorus)
Tom Jones: Act I: Song: West Country lad (Tom, Chorus)
Tom Jones: Act I: Song: To-day my spinet (Sophia)
Tom Jones: Act I: Interlude: I gave your message, Miss (Sophia, Honour, Tom)
Tom Jones: Act I: Trio: Wisdom says, Festina lente (Sophia, Honour, Tom)
Tom Jones: Act I: Sextet: The Barley Mow (Honour, Gregory, Peggy, Betty, Grizzle, Dobbin)
Tom Jones: Act I: Madrigal Quartet: Here's a paradox for lovers (Sophia, Honour, Tom, Allworthy)
Tom Jones: Act I: Finale: For aye, my love (Sophia, Tom, Squire Western, Blifil, Allworthy, Chorus)
Tom Jones: Act II, "The Inn at Upton": Hurry! Bustle! (Chorus)
Tom Jones: Act II: Song: A Person of Parts (Partridge, Chorus)
Tom Jones: Act II: Song: Dream o' Day Jill (Sophia)
Tom Jones: Act II: Song: Gurt-Uncle Jan Tappit (Gregory, Chorus)
Tom Jones: Act II: Jig: With a fal la la (Chorus)
Tom Jones: Act II: My lady's coach (Chorus)
Tom Jones: Act II: Song: As all the maids (Honour)
Tom Jones: Act II: Laughing Trio: You have a pretty wit (Honour, Partridge, Gregory)
Tom Jones: Act II: Song: A Soldier's Scarlet Coat (Tom, Chorus)
Tom Jones: Act II: Song: Love maketh the heart a garden fair (Sophia, Chorus)
Tom Jones: Act II: Finale: Where be my daughter? (Lady Bellaston, Tom, Squire Western, Partridge, Officer, Hostess, Chorus)
Tom Jones: Act III, "Ranelagh Gardens": Morris Dance
Tom Jones: Act III: Gavotte: Glass of fashion (Chorus)
Tom Jones: Act III: Song: The Green Ribbon (Honour, Chorus of Men)
Tom Jones: Act III: Song: If love's content (Tom)
Tom Jones: Act III: Barcarolle: Beguile, beguile, with music sweet (Chorus, Chapman, Karen Wise, Annette Stein)
Tom Jones: Act III: Recitative: Which is my own true self? (Sophia) - Waltz Song: For to-night (Sophia)
Tom Jones: Act III: Trio: Says a well-worn saw (Honour, Partridge, Gregory)
Tom Jones: Act III: Melos
Tom Jones: Act III: Finale: Hark, the merry marriage bells! (Sophia, Honour, Tom, Chorus)
Tom Jones: Additional Song: A Foundling Boy (Tom)
Tom Jones: Additional Song: By night and day (Sophia)
Tom Jones: Additional Trio: Come away with me my deary (Sophia, Honour, Tom)

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