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Kathleen Ferrier: A Tribute
     

Kathleen Ferrier: A Tribute

by Kathleen Ferrier
 
2003 marks the 50th anniversary of Kathleen Ferrier's death. The English contralto made her Covent Garden debut in 1947, singing the title role in Benjamin Britten's The Rape of Lucretia, and until her death at the age of 41, just six years later, Ferrier quickly became a beloved figure the world over. Her voice was remarkable

Overview

2003 marks the 50th anniversary of Kathleen Ferrier's death. The English contralto made her Covent Garden debut in 1947, singing the title role in Benjamin Britten's The Rape of Lucretia, and until her death at the age of 41, just six years later, Ferrier quickly became a beloved figure the world over. Her voice was remarkable in itself -- a true contralto instrument with depth and plushness and with a slight vibrato that offered a poignant hint of vulnerability. Interpretively, she was always dignified, yet there could be enormous intensity. Her recordings of Mahler's songs are still prized today (three "Rückert-lieder," recorded in her last year with the venerable Bruno Walter, are included on this album), she was a magical Schubertian, a noble interpreter of Baroque opera and oratorio, and was peerless (until the arrival of mezzo-soprano Janet Baker) in her performances of English song. Ferrier made most of her recordings for Decca, and the label has wisely kept most of them in its active catalog. Here, as a commemorative gesture, they have packed two CDs full of highlights from the singer's illustrious though tragically brief career. The selections touch on pretty much every aspect of her art, aside from opera (though several Baroque opera arias are included), and provide examples of her joyousness ("Der Musensohn," "The Keel Row") as well as of her heartrending sobriety ("He was Despised" from Messiah is justly celebrated). Serious collectors should have her classic account of Mahler's Das Lied von der Erde in their libraries, of course, and some would argue that many more of her recordings warrant a place here. Nevertheless, Decca's team has done a superb job, and for those wondering why there are so many Ferrier fans out there more than a half century after her death, this tribute should be explanation enough.

Editorial Reviews

New York Times - James R. Oestreich
This set affords a splendid opportunity to luxuriate in a voice of a species that has become endangered if not quite extinct.
BBC Music Magazine - George Hall
[Ferrier's] remains a unique voice -- rich in colour, with a humanity that lights up its surface and shines all the way down to its innermost depths.

Product Details

Release Date:
07/07/2003
Label:
Decca Import
UPC:
0028947507826
catalogNumber:
475078

Tracks

  1. Orfeo ed Euridice, (Italian version), opera in 3 acts, Wq. 30: What is life to me without thee?
  2. Orfeo ed Euridice, (Italian version), opera in 3 acts, Wq. 30: Che puro ciel
  3. Rodelinda, regina de' Langobardi, opera, HWV 19: Art thou troubled?
  4. Serse (Xerxes), opera, HWV 40: Ombra mai fu
  5. An die Musik ("Du holde Kunst..."), song for voice & piano, D. 547 (Op. 88/4)
  6. Der Musensohn ("Durch Feld und Wald zu schweifen"), song for voice & piano, D. 764 (Op. 92/1)
  7. Gretchen am Spinnrade ("Meine Ruh'..."), song for voice & piano, D. 118 (Op. 2)
  8. Die junge Nonne ("Wie braust durch die Wipfel"), song for voice & piano, D. 828 (Op. 43/1)
  9. Elias (Elijah), oratorio, Op. 70: Woe unto them
  10. Elias (Elijah), oratorio, Op. 70: O rest in the Lord
  11. Frauenliebe und -leben, song cycle for voice & piano, Op. 42: Er, der Herrlichste von allen
  12. Geistliches Wiegenlied ("Die ihr schwebet"), song for alto, viola & piano, Op. 91/2
  13. Sapphische Ode ("Rosen brach ich Nachts mir am dunklen Hage"), song for voice & piano, Op. 94/4
  14. Botschaft ("Wehe, Lüftchen, lind und lieblich"), song for voice & piano, Op. 47/1
  15. Atalanta, opera, HWV 35: Like as the love-torn turtle
  16. A Soft Day
  17. Go Not, Happy Day for voice & piano, H34
  18. Come You Not From Newcastle?
  19. The Keel Row
  20. Ma Bonny Lad
  21. Kitty My Love, Will You Marry Me?, folk song
  22. Blow the Wind Southerly (Northumbrian Folk Song)
  23. Ye Banks and Braes O' Bonnie Doon, folk song
  24. I Have A Bonnet Trimmed With Blue
  25. Down by the Salley Gardens, folk song
  26. The Stuttering Lovers, for voice & piano
  27. Drink to me only with thine eyes, folk song
  28. The Fairy Queen, semi-opera, Z. 629: Hark! The echoing air
  29. Judas Maccabaeus, oratorio, HWV 63: Father of Heaven
  30. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion
  31. Messiah, oratorio, HWV 56: He was despised
  32. Matthäuspassion (St. Matthew Passion), BWV 244: Have mercy, Lord on me
  33. Mass in B minor, BWV 232: Agnus Dei
  34. Johannespassion (St. John Passion), BWV 245: All is fulfilled
  35. Du bist die Ruh, song for voice & piano, D. 776 (Op. 59/3)
  36. Rosamunde, Fürstin von Cypern, incidental music, D. 797 (Op. 26): Romance
  37. Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen, song for voice & piano (or orchestra) (No. 5 of 7 Songs)
  38. Ich atmet' einen linden Duft, song for voice & piano (or orchestra) in D major (No. 4 of 7 Songs)
  39. Um Mitternacht, song for voice & piano (or orchestra) in B minor (No. 6 of 7 Songs)

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