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Elgar: Complete Songs For Voice And Piano Vol 2 / Roocroft, Jarno, Mees

Elgar / Roocroft / Jarnot / Mees
Release Date: 02/09/2010 
Label:  Channel Classics   Catalog #: 28610  
Composer:  Sir Edward Elgar
Performer:  Konrad JarnotReinild MeesAmanda Roocroft
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Multi 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews



ELGAR Songs, Volume 2 Amanda Roocroft (sop 1 ); Konrad Jarnot (bar 2 ); Reinild Mees (pn) CHANNEL CCS SA 28610 (SACD: 66:30 Text and Translation)


2 Speak, My Heart! 2 Is She Not Passing Fair? 2 A Read more Song of Flight, op. 31/2. 2 The Shepherd’s Song. 1 The Language of Flowers. 1 After, op. 31/1. 1 It Isnae Me. 1 The Pipes of Pan. 2 Shakespeare’s Kingdom. 2 Rondel, op. 16/3. 2 The Poet’s Life. 2 A War Song. 1 The Torch, op. 60/1. 1 The River, op. 60/2. 2 Was it Some Golden Star, op. 59/5. 2 Through the Long Days, op. 16/2. 2 Arabian Serenade. 1 As I Lay A-Thynkynge. 1 Roundel. 1 A Child Asleep. 1 The Chariots of the Lord. 1 The King’s Way


Listening to The King’s Way , which rounds out this collection, you’re apt to do a double-take. Based on the trio of the fourth of the Pomp and Circumstance Marches, it reminds us that Elgar knew how to craft a jolly good tune. At the same time, though, it reminds us of how few jolly good tunes—indeed, how few moderately catchy phrases—crop up among his songs, which are notable primarily for their lack of memorability. Even moments that ought to bring out the composer’s depth of feeling (say, the reference to the “Great grief that desolates the soul” in After ) get only a veneer of emotion. Yes, there are a few patches of harmonic ingenuity (for instance, in The River ) and restrained ecstasy (the nearly soaring conclusion of Poet’s Life ). But for the most part, this is Elgar pretending not to be Elgar.


Still, as I said in response to the first volume in this series ( Fanfare 32:1), Elgar’s songs intermittently offer their share of faded Victorian/Edwardian pleasures, a kind of ersatz nostalgia for the superficial charms of a period that none of us lived through, a nostalgia purified by its steadfast refusal even to imagine the darker corners of the culture. And, as on that first volume, those pleasures emerge with utmost tact in the hands of these exceptional musicians, who manage to capture the songs’ naive innocence and sweet flights of fancy without hyperbole, disdain, or kitschiness, keeping the performances light in texture and quick in tempo so the music never has a chance to thicken. The rare moments of drama (say, A Song of Flight ) are delivered with an ardor that’s never overwrought; the more frequent moments of sentimentality emerge without self-consciousness and without mawkishness. To add to the pleasures, in purely sensual terms, both singers have immensely attractive voices (even when Konrad Jarnot is pushed into the higher end of his range), and both invest their phrasing with imaginative but unexaggerated shape and color. As on the earlier installment, too, Reinild Mees provides unfailingly elegant accompaniments, and Channel Classics offers exceptionally realistic sound. If you’re at all attracted to this repertoire, this series is where you should begin.


FANFARE: Peter J. Rabinowitz
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Works on This Recording

1. Speak, my heart! by Sir Edward Elgar
Performer:  Konrad Jarnot (Baritone), Reinild Mees (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1903; England 
2. Is she not Passing Fair? by Sir Edward Elgar
Performer:  Konrad Jarnot (Baritone), Reinild Mees (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1886; England 
3. A Song of Flight, Op. 31 no 2 by Sir Edward Elgar
Performer:  Konrad Jarnot (Baritone), Reinild Mees (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1895 
4. The language of flowers by Sir Edward Elgar
Performer:  Reinild Mees (Piano), Amanda Roocroft (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1872; England 
5. After, Op. 31 no 1 by Sir Edward Elgar
Performer:  Reinild Mees (Piano), Amanda Roocroft (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1895; England 
6. It isnae me? by Sir Edward Elgar
Performer:  Reinild Mees (Piano), Amanda Roocroft (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1930; England 
7. Pipes of Pan by Sir Edward Elgar
Performer:  Reinild Mees (Piano), Amanda Roocroft (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1899-1900; England 
8. Shakespeare’s Kingdom by Sir Edward Elgar
Performer:  Konrad Jarnot (Baritone), Reinild Mees (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1924 
9. Rondel, Op. 16 no 3 by Sir Edward Elgar
Performer:  Konrad Jarnot (Baritone), Reinild Mees (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1894; England 
10. The Poet's Life by Sir Edward Elgar
Performer:  Konrad Jarnot (Baritone), Reinild Mees (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892; England 
11. A War Song, Op. 5 by Sir Edward Elgar
Performer:  Konrad Jarnot (Baritone), Reinild Mees (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: England 
12. Songs (2), Op. 60: no 1, The Torch by Sir Edward Elgar
Performer:  Reinild Mees (Piano), Amanda Roocroft (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1909-1910; England 
13. Songs (2), Op. 60: no 2, The River by Sir Edward Elgar
Performer:  Reinild Mees (Piano), Amanda Roocroft (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1909-1910; England 
14. Song Cycle, Op. 59: no 5, Was it some Golden Star? by Sir Edward Elgar
Performer:  Konrad Jarnot (Baritone), Reinild Mees (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1909-1910; England 
15. Through the long days, Op. 16 no 2 by Sir Edward Elgar
Performer:  Konrad Jarnot (Baritone), Reinild Mees (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1885; England 
16. Arabian Serenade by Sir Edward Elgar
Performer:  Konrad Jarnot (Baritone), Reinild Mees (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1914; England 
17. As I laye a-thynkynge by Sir Edward Elgar
Performer:  Reinild Mees (Piano), Amanda Roocroft (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1887; England 
18. Roundel "The little eyes that never knew light" by Sir Edward Elgar
Performer:  Reinild Mees (Piano), Amanda Roocroft (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1897; England 
19. A child asleep by Sir Edward Elgar
Performer:  Reinild Mees (Piano), Amanda Roocroft (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1909; England 
20. The Chariots of the Lord by Sir Edward Elgar
Performer:  Reinild Mees (Piano), Amanda Roocroft (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1914; England 
21. The King's Way by Sir Edward Elgar
Performer:  Reinild Mees (Piano), Amanda Roocroft (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1909; England 
22. Shepherd's Song, Op. 16 no 1 by Sir Edward Elgar
Performer:  Konrad Jarnot (Baritone), Reinild Mees (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1892; England 

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