"I agree wholeheartedly with "A Music Fan From Washington DC:" Fisher-Dieskau MIGHT have sung this repertoire as well as Bryn Terfel, but he did not record it, so how are we to know? And frankly, I doubt seriously that he could possibly have sung it BETTER than Terfel. These are really lovely, rare songs that deserve to be heard by a wider audience. Terfel's total command of language (he makes every word count!) as well as music,(his mellow, rich bass-baritone sounds beautiful in each and every song) make this a very emotional recording, esp. with songs like "Come away, come away, death" by the usually neglected Gerald Finzi. The choice of material is first rate: here are not only terrific composers (i.e. Vaughan Williams, Ireland, etc.) but the source material for the songs is poetry by the likes of Robert Louis Stevenson and John Masefield and Wm. Shakespeare. Each song is like a tiny play. This is a wonderful recording and should be heard."
Live or Recorded?
D. Craven | Chicago, IL USA | 04/29/2002
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This is a tough CD to comment on. It is full of great music which deserves to be heard, but which is often neglected. And Terfel is a great singer who, at least in person, is full of charm and wit which bubbles out through his performances. On the other hand, the other hand, this sound is way over processed and does not remotely resemble a real world performance of the works. For example, in "Is my Team Ploughing", Terfel does not actually sing the song the way that he would in performance, but rather plays "mike" tricks with a recording engineer on the dial. That is too bad. His "real" performance would have been all the more captivating.Perhaps, next time, Terfel can issue two versions... one with overprocessed sound and one "unplugged" in which his real sound can come out."
The Best....Simply the Best
Dr. Fartmeister | 04/04/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Fischer-Dieskau never sang this repertoire, so what he might have done does not concern me (and he never had Terfel's technique or stylistic range anyway). Terfel is splendid in this recording - full of finesse, sensitivity, and, when appropriate, brashness. His Vagabond is definitive. The dynamic control he displays is rare and satisfying. He sets a new standard."
Excellent interpretations of oft-neglected literature
Dr. Fartmeister | Vancouver BC | 01/29/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"While Bryn Terfel is not one of my favorite opera singers, I have gained a new admiration for him after hearing his uncanny renditions of some very famous and some very obscure English art songs.Some of this repertoire is well known to vocalists, and as often is the case with art song collections, is only really of interest to vocalists. However, Terfel's performances make this particular anthology a thrill for anyone interested in English music or the human voice. Terfel's voice soars to majestic fortes and sublime pianissimos on this recording (causing much distress involving the volume knob at times). He infuses these songs with such passion that not even Terfel himself seems to be able to parallel in many of his other recordings. His interpretation of Vaughan Williams' "In Dreams" is particularly exciting. His high range is unusually free in a lot of the songs, and his phrasing is immaculate. There really isn't anything bad I can say about Terfel's performance, although some of the music has become obscure for a reason. A couple of the songs, while not bad songs overall, are not really well constructed, and with all the excitement that Terfel gives them, they still aren't really all that much fun to listen to. Anyway, be forewarned of that. This CD should be indisposable to all voice students."
Terfel Brings Old Literature to a New Audience
Andrew Webb | Meridian, MS | 05/07/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Bryn Terfel's "The Vagabond" is bringing the English art song to a whole new generation of listeners. A newcomer to singing, I have been desperately trying to find recordings of many different genres of art songs, and have collected over 80 in the last 2 years. Terfel is bringing these to the generation of listeners that I am a part of, most of whom have no idea what a wealth of literature there is out there! Terfel's unbridled gusto is so fitting for the bombastic "Vagabond", which is the opening track; and Terfel closes out the project with the haunting "Is My Team Ploughing?", a song that (no matter how many times I listen to it) always evokes a spine-tingling, throat-lumping sensation that is irrepressable. I've heard five or six recordings of Fischer-Diskau, and nothing compares to Terfel's voice. No, he's not the debonnaire lyric that Fischer-Diskau was, but Terfel's voice brings him into a category all his own. This is a definite must have for anyone looking to expand upon, or begin, their vocal library."