Lovely music, beautifully performed
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This eclectic collection of British songs is radiantly performed by soprano Lynne Dawson. If you are the kind of music listener who is averse to classical sopranos, then you need to hear this glorious voice and decide if you have been exposed to the wrong ones. Miss Dawson's voice never veers unpleasantly into the warbly vibrato that has marred many a recorded performance. She always maintains a control of pitch that reminds this listener of the great contralto Kathleen Ferrier. This is the kind of recording that you will go back to again and again, finding new favorites as the years go by. Current favorite: her performance of Vaughan Williams's Silent Noon, a heartbreakingly beautiful interpretation."
There is much beauty 'On This Island'
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 01/28/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Though the composers from the Great Britain are highly represented in the 'big works' of the concert repertoire, the songs so loved by the British, remain somewhat insular. Yes, there are superb song cycles by Benjamin Britten and others that enjoy wide performance popularity, but the songs so wedded to the landscape of the British Isles have not often reached beyond the shores. That deficit is superbly corrected in this lovely recital, richly varied in style and time.
The songs include Traditional songs, songs by Peter Warlock, Charles Villiers Stanford, Roger Quilter, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Gerald Finzi, Herbert Howells, Ivor Gurney, Sir Charles H.H. Parry (!), and of course Benjamin Britten whose sole offering is the title song of the album. Each of the composer's works demonstrates that fine sensitivity to the poets' lines. While the selection is varied and not all of the songs are destined for posterity, collectively they offer a fine portrait of British music.
The soloist for this recital is Lynne Dawson, long a member of the Hilliard Ensemble serving as soprano soloist for the many recordings conducted by Stephen Cleobury with the King's College Choir Cambridge. Though not known internationally, Dawson possesses a soprano voice in intense musicality, beauty of sound and agile in execution of all forms of writing. Her superb accompanist is Malcolm Martineau and their collaboration is impeccable. This is one of those albums perfect for quiet times when the purity of simple songs crowds out the bother of the world. Recommended. Grady Harp, January 06
A journey into the quiet and brilliant beauties of English s
Ingrid Heyn | Melbourne, Australia | 07/31/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Impeccable" is one word that comes to mind when contemplating the beautiful and very interestingly used voice of Lynne Dawson. Her voice is that of a lyric soprano, utilising both the lovely shimmer of her voice but also the central vocal core which does not imitate the colour of other sopranos, but takes a vocal course that is simply unique to her own timbre. I have heard Ms Dawson sing some of the most moving things I've ever encountered - for instance, her final two arias as Cleopatra in the oratorio by Handel (not she of the gilded eyelids, but an entirely different Cleopatra), upon hearing that her husband has been killed.
Lynne Dawson is very gifted, both as a singer and as an artist - and she has the unusual sense to be true to her voice rather than attempt to fit into a typical "lyric soprano mould". By avoiding sounding like every other soprano, she emerges as a unique voice, always intelligent, always true to the music she sings. This particular album gave me great pleasure from the first moment, and while it's hard to pick out just one track, let me draw particular attention to "Silent Noon" by Vaughan Williams. It's immeasurably tender and passionate in a wonderfully clean-cut way. I could literally smell the grass and the sweetness of it as I listened to this track.
For a fine album of English songs sung with - yes - impeccable style, beautiful tone and wonderful sympathy, you need look no forther than this recording."