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Complete Songs For Voice And Piano

Reinild Mees, Konrad Jarnot, Amanda Roocroft


SKU: 28610

Year of release: 2010

1. Speak, my Heart! Elgar 02:18
2. Is she not passing fair_ Elgar 02:23
3. A Song of Flight Op. 31 Elgar 02:48
4. The Shepherd?s Song Elgar 02:29
5. The Language of Flowers Elgar 04:13
6. After Op. 31 No. 1 Elgar 02:41
7. It isnae me Elgar 01:52
8. The Pipes of Pan Elgar 03:47
9. Shakespeare?s Kingdom Elgar 02:03
10. Rondel Op. 16 No. 3 Elgar 01:31
11. The Poet?s Life Elgar 03:27
12. A War Song Op. 5 Elgar 04:37
13. The Torch Op. 60 No. 1 Elgar 02:01
14. The River Op. 60 No. 2 Elgar 04:04
15. Was it some golden Star_ Op. 16 No. 2 Elgar 02:54
16. Through the long Days Op. 16 No. 2 Elgar 02:08
17. Arabian Serenade Elgar 02:14
18. As I laye a-thynkynge Elgar 05:31
19. Roundel Elgar 02:36
20. A Child asleep Elgar 03:22
21. The Chariots of the Lord Elgar 03:28
22. The King?s Way Elgar 03:52
Total time: 66:31

About this album

As we noted in the first volume of this survey of Elgar’s songs, like most composers his first attempts at composition were with anthems and small chamber and piano pieces, though unlike many young composers of his day, strangely Elgar wrote few songs until his various love affairs from his mid-twenties on•wards. Elgar’s early life as a composer was one of constantly hawking salon music and popular short pieces round publishers – a situation that gradually changed in the 1890s as his early works for chorus and orchestra were heard. But it took Elgar a long time to become established, the Enigma Variations only appearing when he was 41. The earliest song presented here, indeed Elgar’s earliest surviving completed work, a setting of the American James Gates Percival’s The Language of Flowers dates from May 1872 when he was not quite 15. He dedicated it to his sister Lucy on her twentieth birthday. It remained unpublished and unknown until recently when it was printed in the Elgar Collected Edition. In the 1880s, in his late-twenties, Elgar tried to establish himself as a composer with various short pieces, salon music and songs which as we have seen he took round the many London publishers of the day. A Soldier’s Song, styled as ‘Op 5’ dates from 1884 and although it was sung at the Worcester Glee Club in March that year it had to wait for publication until 1890 when it appeared in The Magazine of Music – and 1903, when renamed A War Song, Boosey took it on, doubtless with the public’s preoccupation with the Boer War in mind. Another American, Colonel John Hay provided the words for Through the Long Days, which dated ‘Gigglewycke (his friend Charles William Buck’s Yorkshire home) on 10 Aug 1885 was sung in London at a St James’s Hall ballad concert in February 1887 and, being short and tuneful was published almost immediately by Stanley Lucas, Weber & Co. Elgar generally set lesser-known or minor verse doubtless feeling that great poetry should stand on its own and not constrain him in his response. In this case the words were of immediate emotional resonance for Elgar, since, written in August 1885, they herald his lost fiancé Helen Weaver’s planned departure for New Zealand two months later. Is She Not Passing Fair? to words by Charles, Duc d’Orléans translated by Louisa Stuart Costello is dated 28 Oct 1886 and although not published until 1908 is perhaps the bestknown of our group thus far. Elgar had just met his future wife Alice Roberts and we must wonder if he was celebrating it in music. The ballad As I Laye a-thynkynge is another early publishing success, dated 12 June 1887 and issued by John Beare & Son the following year. As a Victorian, Elgar shared the period’s love of the pseudo medieval which saw so much of academe and religion decked out in the trappings of a reinvented past. Here he sets ‘Thomas Ingoldsby’ (real name R.H.Barham) complete with olde-worlde spellings…..

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Wat deze nieuwe Elgar-uitgave betreft is de hoogste lof eigenlijk maar net toereikend. Gedrieën staan Roocroft, Jarnot en Mees boven de zeer veeleisende techniek die het liederrepertoire nu eenmaal eigen is en waardoor ze zich interpretatief volkomen vrij kunnen bewegen, als drie zielen met één gedachte. In de vertolking van deze prachtige miniaturen treft het fraai afgewogen expressieve karakter waarmee de teksten muzikaal worden vormgegeven. Verbeeldingskracht en inlevingsvermogen gaan hier hand in hand, hetgeen het krachtigst denkbare pleidooi voor deze liederen oplevert. Het kan in deze liederen jagen en donderen, maar er zijn ook wondermooie pasteltinten te bewonderen als een frase net even wordt opgelicht alvorens een schaduwrand zich er meester van maakt. De spanningen worden feilloos geproportioneerd opgebouwd, zoals ze al even naturel weer mogen oplossen. Er gaat een magische aantrekkingskracht uit van deze spontane, frisse en doorleefde uitvoeringen, ze gaan rechtstreeks onder de huid en klinken nog lang na. Reinild Mees is een ideale begeleider, al moet worden gezegd dat het begrip 'begeleider' duidelijk afbreuk doet aan de creatieve invulling van zijn partij. Zijn vleugel kan fluisteren, zingen of bijna orkestraal naar de hemel reiken! De in april 2008 en januari 2009 in het Muziekcentrum Frits Philips in Eindhoven gemaakte opname is met evenveel liefde en vakmanschap gemaakt en laat het allemaal vlekkeloos uit de luidsprekers komen. Deze serie is zonder enige twijfel een must have; en niet alleen voor degenen die Elgars muziek al n hun hart hebben gesloten.

BBC Music Magazine

The songs are finely done here. Konrat Jarnot ‘s striking baritone is always neatly and eloquent employed. Amanda Roocroft brings an equally persuasive approach to both texts and notes and accompanist Reinild Mees is excellent throughout.


Ein Tässchen Tee mit Sandwiches und Gebäck, so richtig nach englischer Tradition und dazu die passende Musik! (…) (…) Zumal Reinild Mees durch ihr plastisches, feinfühliges Spiel die Orchesterfarben in den Tasten entdeckt. Die ungewohnte Besetzung mit einer männlicher Stimme erhalt durch Jarnots charaktervolle, nuancenreiche Interpretation ihre Berechtigung (...)


Zachtzinnige lyriek Het aardige aan de cd is niet alleen Elgars muziek- die varieert van speels tot dramatisch. Sopraan en bariton wisselen elkaar steeds met enkele liederen af. Beide zingers tonen veel gevoel voor de zachtzinnige, liefdevolle lyriek van Elgars muziek. Het samen spel met Reinield Mees achter de piano is perfect.


Van Speels tot dramatische muziek van Elgar’s Liederen. De sopraan en bariton wisselen elkaar steeds met enkele liederen af. Dat maakt de cd nog gevarieerder. De zangers tonen veel gevoel voor de zachtzinnige, liefdevolle lyriek van Elgars muziek. Het samenspel met de pianist Reinild Mees is perfect.


A welcome second helping of Elgar songs from these sympathetic artists. (…) Konrad Jarnot leaves a most favourable impression, his timbre fresh and diction impeccable, the ‘War Song’ and Arabian Serenade’ push him to the very limits of his natural range. Amanda Roocroft sings with infectious ardour even so, making out an especially strong case for the two passionate Op. 60 settings from 2010 of texts by Elgar’s own pseudonym (Pietro d’Alba). Reinild Mees’s accompaniments are past prase in their discerning refinement and shapeliness. Here’s a disc that many devoted Elgarian will want to try.


Elgar's songs intermittently offer their share of faded Victorian/Edwardian pleasures (…) And, as on that first volume, those pleasure emerge with the utmost tact in the hands of these exceptional musicians, who manage to capture the songs' naïve innocence an sweet flights of fancy (…) (…) The rare moments of drama are delivered with ardor that's never overwrought (…) (…) both singers have immensely attractive voices, and both invest their phrasing with imaginative but unexaggerated color. (…)


Beide zangers drukken het waardige, maar toch gevoelige karakter van de liederen geloofwaardig uit.


Een advies? Ga ook eens naar de liedkunst luisteren van Edward Elgar: briljant! In velerlei opzicht. In afwisseling, in stemkeuze en last but not least in opnamekwaliteit.

Technical Specifications

Recording Type Bit RateDSD64
SpeakersAudiolab, Holland
Recording SoftwarePyramix bij Merging
Recording LocationEindhoven Holland 2010
Recording EngineerJared Sacks
ProducerJared Sacks
Mixing BoardRens Heijnis custom design
MicrophonesBruel & Kjaer, Schoeps
Mastering EquipmentB&W 803 diamond series
Mastering EngineerJared Sacks
Digital ConvertersMeitner A/D DSD / Meitner DA
Cablesvan den Hul