Notes and Editorial Reviews
SOMM RECORDINGS’ acclaimed series of re-mastered recitals by the much loved, fondly remembered contralto Kathleen Ferrier continues with Kathleen Ferrier: 20th Century British Treasures. Featuring recordings made for Decca and the BBC between 1946 and 1953, it includes a previously unpublished recording of Ferrier’s passionate performance of Lennox Berkeley’s Four Poems of St Teresa of Ávila. Sir Thomas Allen, the distinguished interpreter of British song and Trustee of the Kathleen Ferrier Awards, contributes an extensive booklet commentary that brings a lifetime’s experience to bear in an insightful analysis of Ferrier’s dexterous and treasured talent, accented by the distinctive tones of her native Lancashire. The earliest recording, from 1947, is of Benjamin Britten’s ‘The Flower Song’ from The Rape of Lucretia, the latest, from 1953 (both BBC recitals), includes Howard Ferguson’s lovely five-part Discovery, three songs by William Wordsworth and Edmund Rubbra’s Three Psalms, specially written for Ferrier. Pieces by defining proponents of British song including Parry, Stanford, Vaughan Williams, Roger Quilter, Frank Bridge and Peter Warlock complete a crucial celebration of Ferrier’s inimitable contribution to the genre. Pianist Julian Jacobson, son of composer Maurice Jacobson, whose melancholy but sensuous The Song of Songs is heard in a 1947 BBC broadcast, also provides a personal poignant note on Ferrier’s championing of his father’s music.