The Lark touches my own heart!
K. Farrington | Missegre, France | 04/27/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In this review I am going to be exceptionally candid! This CD is a wonderfully arranged and performed set of traditional songs that will be treasured by any lover of this delicate yet vigorous music. I was a child of post war England in a poor suburb of South East England and our music teacher used to make us sing these songs which came from The National Song Book and from the folk song collectors, notably Vaughan Williams who put so much of this national flavor into his two collections, 'The English Hymnal' and 'Songs of Praise'. Before our generation the BBC had set up a radio programme called 'Listen with Mother' which we followed the established tradition of listening to them in those years of austerity (its funny you know, but we did not seem to get bored like they do today) on November evenings when the pea souper fogs swirled around the blue mercury lamps as the coal glowed orange in the grate. This music transported us to May mornings, harvesting, landscapes peopled with grenadiers, young love sick swains tip toeing in forbidden rooms at night etc. from these bleak afternoons and gave us the promise of the return of the season when we will be able to walk the Downs under blue skies once more. They also made us think that we were part of a continuum of being young, loving, having children and growing old and dying on this misty offshore island as hundred of generations had done before us. This self-consciousness of these characteristics that made us English and in their understated passion they revealed to us the promises of adulthood together with its victories, disillusionments and inevitable tragedies. Alas, the powers that dictate the conventional wisdom today have consigned these songs to the trash basket of history in the name of multiculturalism and globalism. The songs are not sung today as they appear too ethnocentric in a pluralistic society for our contemporary captains of society. This is a shame for those of us with no real English blood could still participate and enjoy these lovely songs that summon up the freshness of a spring morning or the pangs of a spurned lover in a few lines of beautifully stated verse. These are universal feelings that just happened to be in an English setting, which was where we were! The arrangements here are sublime, particularly 'She moved through the Fair' which always moves me to tears. The subject 'What are the English?' is a current topic for the UK is still settling down after Devolution and finding its own identity. They could do worse than playing 'The Lark in the Clear Air' to answer this question tout court. Please buy, but be warned: this stuff can be dangerously upsetting in its waves of nostalgia. It is like meeting a long lost (and forgotten) friend. That is an (almost lost) part of yourself."
Beautifully Lyrical Folk Melodies a la Rutter
Daniel G. Berk | West Bloomfield, Michigan | 09/28/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is a collection of Irish, Scottish, and English folk songs beautifully caressed by The Cambridge Singers under the masterful direction of John Rutter. He seems to possess an uncanny ability to create a uniquely lush and lyrical sound with a choir.In listening to these songs, I find that they have the capacity to simultaneously evoke feelings of melancholy and joy, and, ultimately leave me to conclude that I have been visited by sheer beauty."
Rolicking English folk music
Daniel G. Berk | 06/13/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Beautifully sung under Rutter's usual masterful directions. Dashing Away with the Smoothing Iron and the Dark Eyed Sailor were my favorites."