WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Spotlight - George London - Spirituals


Release Date: 08/08/2006 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 000673602   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Ralph Ricardo SimpsonTraditionalHenry Thacker BurleighHall Johnson
Performer:  George London
Conductor:  Carl Michalski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian State Opera Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 40 Mins. 

CD not available: This title is currently only available as an MP3 download.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

"[T]he terse blurb on the back cover mentions the fact that London would end most of his recitals with a spiritual as background to support the recordings with orchestra and chorus that he made in 1963. The notes mention the fact that London was not happy with the result, but go no further in explaining the reasons. As self-critical as the bass may have been, this recording shows him in fine voice in some lively arrangements of traditional American spirituals. ... As arrangements, though, the presentation of this selection of popular spirituals is articulate and sensitive. ... [I]t is difficult to fault the execution, especially London’s articulate rendering of the melodies with his resonant and smooth bass voice. With the opening song, Read more “Swing low, sweet chariot,” he gives a sense of the richness of the source. This is a serious and persuasive interpretation that London bears out in the other numbers. ... With the chorus of the Bavarian State Radio at his disposal, London worked with some excellent forces to compile this CD. All of these pieces lie well for London, whose resonant voice commands attention throughout the recording. This is a side of the singer’s career that is not well known, but nevertheless relevant for the interest London had in this repertoire. For whatever reasons London had in proscribing the release of this recording during his lifetime, it should not be taken for any over reasons in his performances. While audiences will always remember London for his Boris, his Wotan, his Scarpia, and other familiar opera roles, his interest in spirituals took shape in a recording that benefits from this posthumous release." -- operatoday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1. Swing low, sweet chariot by Ralph Ricardo Simpson
Performer:  George London (Bass Baritone)
Conductor:  Carl Michalski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian State Opera Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
2. Hebbn'-Hebbn' by Traditional
Performer:  George London (Bass Baritone)
Conductor:  Carl Michalski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian State Opera Orchestra
3. Poor wayfarin' stranger by Traditional
Performer:  George London (Bass Baritone)
Conductor:  Carl Michalski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian State Opera Orchestra
Written: USA 
4. Sometimes I feel like a motherless child by Traditional
Performer:  George London (Bass Baritone)
Conductor:  Carl Michalski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian State Opera Orchestra
Written: USA 
5. Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen by Henry Thacker Burleigh
Performer:  George London (Bass Baritone)
Conductor:  Carl Michalski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian State Opera Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: USA 
6. Oh, what a beautiful city by Traditional
Performer:  George London (Bass Baritone)
Conductor:  Carl Michalski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian State Opera Orchestra
Written: USA 
7. I couldn't hear nobody pray by Traditional
Performer:  George London (Bass Baritone)
Conductor:  Carl Michalski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian State Opera Orchestra
Written: USA 
8. Hard trials by Traditional
Performer:  George London (Bass Baritone)
Conductor:  Carl Michalski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian State Opera Orchestra
Written: USA 
9. Deep river by Traditional
Performer:  George London (Bass Baritone)
Conductor:  Carl Michalski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian State Opera Orchestra
Written: USA 
10. Joshua fit the Battle of Jericho by Traditional
Performer:  George London (Bass Baritone)
Conductor:  Carl Michalski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian State Opera Orchestra
11. Oh, didn't it rain by Traditional
Performer:  George London (Bass Baritone)
Conductor:  Carl Michalski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian State Opera Orchestra
12. Ride on, King Jesus! by Traditional
Performer:  George London (Bass Baritone)
Conductor:  Carl Michalski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian State Opera Orchestra
13. My Lord, What a Mornin' by Henry Thacker Burleigh
Performer:  George London (Bass Baritone)
Conductor:  Carl Michalski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian State Opera Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: England 
14. I Got to Lie Down by Hall Johnson
Performer:  George London (Bass Baritone)
Conductor:  Carl Michalski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian State Opera Orchestra
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
15. Water boy by Traditional
Performer:  George London (Bass Baritone)
Conductor:  Carl Michalski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian State Opera Orchestra
Written: USA 
16. Go Down Moses by Henry Thacker Burleigh
Performer:  George London (Bass Baritone)
Conductor:  Carl Michalski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Bavarian State Opera Orchestra
Period: Romantic 
Written: USA 

Sound Samples

Swing Low, Sweet Chariot - Arr. Friedrich Meyer
"Hebbn' - Hebbn'" - Arr. Friedrich Meyer
"Poor Wayfarin' Stranger" - Arr. Friedrich Meyer
Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child - Arr. Friedrich Meyer
Nobody Knows The Trouble I've Seen - Arr. Friedrich Meyer
Oh, What A Beautiful City - Arr. Friedrich Meyer
I couldn't hear nobody pray - Arr. Friedrich Meyer
"Hard trials" - Arr. Friedrich Meyer
Deep River - Arr. Friedrich Meyer
Joshua Fit The Battle Of Jericho - Arr. Friedrich Meyer
Oh, didn't it rain - Arr. Friedrich Meyer
Ride on, King Jesus - Arr. Friedrich Meyer
My Lord, What A Mornin' - Arr. Friedrich Meyer
"I got to lie down" - Arr. Friedrich Meyer
Water Boy - Arr. Friedrich Meyer
Go Down Moses - Arr. Friedrich Meyer

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  2 Customer Reviews )
 What a voice!! February 11, 2014 By Dr. Mitchell Gurk (Spencer, MA) See All My Reviews "Interpretations worthy of Marion Anderson." Report Abuse
 A Rarity Worth Hearing October 25, 2012 By Mark Stenroos (Aliso Viejo, CA) See All My Reviews "I had never heard of this album. Who did? It was never released. I don't know if it's kosher to release an album that an artist refused to approve for release (even if you're releasing it long after the artist's passing), but I am happy DG has opted to do so (I'm sure they can point to some contractual permission for doing so). London's singing on this CD isn't simple by the usual vocal standard, but it is simple in that it is honest, musical and enjoyable. Yes, some of the arrangements are over-the-top, but does it matter? Surely, the singing is what's important, and great singing it is. Personally, I kinda liked the couple of arrangements on this CD that have a New Orleans flavor to them. I recommend this CD." Report Abuse
Review This Title
Review This Title Share on Facebook