Songs by Donald Swann

Songs by Donald Swann

by Roderick WilliamsRoderick Williams


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Donald Swann was one-half of the comic duo Flanders and Swann; it may be because of that, or because he was so prolific (he wrote more than 2,000 songs, stopping only very shortly before his death in 1994), but his serious art songs have never attracted strong attention. This double-CD set shows the esteem in which Swann is held by singers -- a quintet of them, including the septuagenarian Dame Felicity Lott, is on hand -- and it introduces what is really quite a delightful body of work. The variety of text authors, running from Shakespeare to J.R.R. Tolkien, with several American writers thrown in, might get your attention right off. One cannot do better in summarizing Swann's appeal than to quote the booklet notes by accompanist Christopher Glynn: "A sketch of Donald Swann's life must piece together a very English humor and self-deprecating charm, his deep roots in Russia and the East (Swann's mother was Turkmen), a lifelong search for meaning and solace in religion, a love of language, a gift for melody, and the fertile territory that lies -- for those who will look -- between so-called 'serious' and 'light' music." All these traits are present among the 46 songs recorded here. One might sample "He wishes for the cloths of heaven," a remarkable swan song (as well as Swann song) to a text by Yeats that has a concision bringing to mind Mompou. Swann's musical language is late Romantic, becoming only slightly more contemporary as the century developed, but this should not matter. A beautiful tribute and overview by a quintet of top British singers.

Product Details

Release Date: 06/30/2017
Label: Hyperion Uk
UPC: 0034571281728
catalogNumber: 68172
Rank: 100768


  1. He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven, for voice & piano
  2. Raiders' Dawn, for voice & piano
  3. In the Mist, for voice & piano
  4. Old Songs of Lost Love, for voice & piano
  5. Oh, Why Are the Roses So Pale?, for voice & piano
  6. Longing, for voice & piano
  7. We'll Go No More A-roving, for voice & piano
  8. Arcades, for voice & piano
  9. See, Dearest, How the Rose, for voice & piano
  10. It Was a Lover, and His Lass, for voice & piano
  11. A Red, Red Rose, for voice & piano
  12. Marguerite, for voice & piano
  13. Some People's Dreams, for voice & piano
  14. She Is All Harmony, All Wonder, for voice & piano
  15. I Loved You Once, for voice & piano
  16. Songs (6) to Poems by William Blake, for voice & piano
  17. The Harlot's House, for voice & piano
  18. An Invite to Eternity, for voice & piano
  19. Dark Rose of My Heart, for voice & piano
  20. Poems (2) by Christina Rossetti, for voice & piano
  21. Lyrics (4) from In memoriam, for voice & piano
  22. Poems (2) by Thomas Hardy, for voice & piano
  23. Stopping by Woods, for voice & piano
  24. Sonnets (2) by Edna St. Vincent Millay, for voice & piano
  25. Five Colourisations of Emily Dickinson, for voice & piano
  26. A Collection of Songs, for voice & piano

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