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Bliss: A Knot of Riddles, etc / McGreevy, Spence, et al

Album Summary

>Bliss, Sir A. [Composer] : A Knot of Riddles, song cycle (7) for baritone & 11 instruments, Op. 97, F. 159
>Bliss, Sir A. [Composer] : Three Romantic Songs, song cycle for voice & piano, Op. 25, F. 179
>Bliss, Sir A. [Composer] : Four Songs, for voice, violin & piano, Op. 45, F. 158
>Bliss, Sir A. [Composer] : Seven American Poems, song cycle for voice & piano, Op. 59, F. 176
>Bliss, Sir A. [Composer] : Humoresque, song for voice & piano (Two American Poems no 1), F. 184/1
>Bliss, Sir A. [Composer] : The Return from Town, song for voice & piano (Two Amercian Poems no 2), F. 184/2
>Bliss, Sir A. [Composer] : Three Songs, song cycle for voice & piano, Op. 26, F. 180
>Bliss, Sir A. [Composer] : Fair is My Love, song for baritone & piano (Two Love Songs no 1), F. 163b/1
>Bliss, Sir A. [Composer] : In Praise of His Daphnis, song for baritone & piano (Two Love Songs no 2), F. 163b/2
>Bliss, Sir A. [Composer] : The Tramps, song for voice & piano, Op. 6, F. 182
>Bliss, Sir A. [Composer] : When I Was One and Twenty, song for voice & piano, F. 185
>Bliss, Sir A. [Composer] : Two Nursery Rhymes, song cycle for soprano, clarinet (or viola) & piano, Op. 20, F. 165
>Bliss, Sir A. [Composer] : Elegiac Sonnet, for tenor, piano & string quartet, Op. 81, F. 156
>Bliss, Sir A. [Composer] : Angels of the Mind, song cycle (7) for soprano & piano, Op. 118, F. 167
>Bliss, Sir A. [Composer] : The Tempest, overture & incidental music for 2 solo voices & chamber ensemble, Op. 21, F. 164
>Bliss, Sir A. [Composer] : The Ballads of the Four Seasons, song cycle (4) for voice & piano, Op. 27, F. 170
>Bliss, Sir A. [Composer] : The Fallow Deer at the Lonely House, song for voice & piano, Op. 33, F. 172
>Bliss, Sir A. [Composer] : Rich or Poor, song for voice & piano, Op. 39, F. 174
>Bliss, Sir A. [Composer] : A Child's Prayer, song for voice & piano, Op. 38, F. 171
>Bliss, Sir A. [Composer] : Three Jolly Gentlemen, song for voice & piano, Op. 29, F. 178
>Bliss, Sir A. [Composer] : The Hammers, song for voice & piano, F. 173
>Bliss, Sir A. [Composer] : Simples, song for voice & piano, Op. 51, F. 177
>Bliss, Sir A. [Composer] : Tis Time I Think by Wenlock Town, song for voice & piano, F. 181
>Bliss, Sir A. [Composer] : At the Window, song for voice & piano, F. 168
>Bliss, Sir A. [Composer] : Auvergnat, song for voice & piano, Op. 61, F. 169
Performers Conductor Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

'This double album is a revelatory document and a source of ever unpredictable delight ... These songs beg to be performed more often.' (BBC Music Magazine)

'Kathleen Raine's poems drew the best from Bliss: simple eloquence, bold, shining gestures and memorable images including a fine nocturne: they are masterly, and would alone make investigating this pair of discs worthwhile. Geraldine McGreevy sings them simply, purely and very movingly.' (Gramophone)

Gramophone Classical Music Guide
Nearly all Bliss's songs are here (only a few orchestral ones are omitted) but they're of uneven quality and are presented in almost random order, with no sense given of Bliss's development as a songwriter. It was a mistake to include the Two Love Songs, which are in fact the vocal movements of Bliss's beautiful Serenade for baritone and orchestra. Kathron Sturrock, throughout a wonderfully musical and responsive accompanist, does her best to make Bliss's piano reductions seem pianistic; but despite her they just sound clumpy.

The finest songs here are mostly on the second disc. Kathleen Raine's poems drew the best from the composer - simple eloquence, bold, shining gestures and memorable images including a fine nocturne: they're masterly, and would alone make investigating this pair of discs worthwhile.

Geraldine McGreevy sings them simply, purely and very movingly, as she does the progression from lyric charm to bare strength of The Ballads of the Four Seasons. Also on CD2 is The Tempest; this vivid storm scene is all that survives of some 1921 incidental music to Shakespeare's play, set with striking originality for two voices, trumpet, trombone and five percussion players. Things of such quality are rarer on CD1, though the ThreeSongs to poems by W H Davies are all strong, Bliss's setting of When I was one-and-twenty has a blithe insouciance, and several of the other sets contain pleasing discoveries, like the elegantly witty 'A Bookworm' from A Knot of Riddles or the charming 'Christmas Carol' that opens FourSongs. McGreevy is the best of the singers, but both Herford and Spence are committed advocates.

The best of these songs (about half) are of a quality to make their present neglect seem inexplicable.



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Works Details

>Bliss, Sir A. [Composer] : A Knot of Riddles, song cycle (7) for baritone & 11 instruments, Op. 97, F. 159
  • Performer: Henry Herford (Baritone)
  • Conductor: Martyn Brabbins
  • Ensemble: Nash Ensemble
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London, England (02/09/1998-02/11/1998)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 6 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1963

>Bliss, Sir A. [Composer] : Three Romantic Songs, song cycle for voice & piano, Op. 25, F. 179
  • Performers: Toby Spence (Tenor); Kathron Sturrock (Piano)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London, England (02/09/1998-02/11/1998)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 37 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1921

>Bliss, Sir A. [Composer] : Four Songs, for voice, violin & piano, Op. 45, F. 158
  • Performers: John Lenehan (Piano); Geraldine McGreevy (Soprano); Leo Phillips (Violin)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London, England (02/09/1998-02/11/1998)
  • Running Time: 6 min. 9 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1927

>Bliss, Sir A. [Composer] : Seven American Poems, song cycle for voice & piano, Op. 59, F. 176
  • Performers: Henry Herford (Baritone); Kathron Sturrock (Piano)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London, England (02/09/1998-02/11/1998)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 4 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 08/1940

>Bliss, Sir A. [Composer] : Humoresque, song for voice & piano (Two American Poems no 1), F. 184/1
  • Performers: Geraldine McGreevy (Soprano); Kathron Sturrock (Piano)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London, England (02/09/1998-02/11/1998)
  • Running Time: 2 min. sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1940

>Bliss, Sir A. [Composer] : The Return from Town, song for voice & piano (Two Amercian Poems no 2), F. 184/2
  • Performers: Geraldine McGreevy (Soprano); Kathron Sturrock (Piano)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London, England (02/09/1998-02/11/1998)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 13 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1940

>Bliss, Sir A. [Composer] : Three Songs, song cycle for voice & piano, Op. 26, F. 180
  • Performers: Toby Spence (Tenor); Kathron Sturrock (Piano)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London, England (02/09/1998-02/11/1998)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 5 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1923

>Bliss, Sir A. [Composer] : Fair is My Love, song for baritone & piano (Two Love Songs no 1), F. 163b/1
  • Performers: Henry Herford (Baritone); Kathron Sturrock (Piano)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London, England (02/09/1998-02/11/1998)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 27 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1929

>Bliss, Sir A. [Composer] : In Praise of His Daphnis, song for baritone & piano (Two Love Songs no 2), F. 163b/2
  • Performers: Henry Herford (Baritone); Kathron Sturrock (Piano)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London, England (02/09/1998-02/11/1998)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 11 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1929

>Bliss, Sir A. [Composer] : The Tramps, song for voice & piano, Op. 6, F. 182
  • Performers: Henry Herford (Baritone); Kathron Sturrock (Piano)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London, England (02/09/1998-02/11/1998)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 11 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1916

>Bliss, Sir A. [Composer] : When I Was One and Twenty, song for voice & piano, F. 185
  • Performers: Henry Herford (Baritone); Kathron Sturrock (Piano)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London, England (02/09/1998-02/11/1998)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 17 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1923

>Bliss, Sir A. [Composer] : Two Nursery Rhymes, song cycle for soprano, clarinet (or viola) & piano, Op. 20, F. 165
  • Performers: Michael Collins (Clarinet); John Lenehan (Piano); Geraldine McGreevy (Soprano)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London, England (02/09/1998-02/11/1998)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 59 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1920

>Bliss, Sir A. [Composer] : Elegiac Sonnet, for tenor, piano & string quartet, Op. 81, F. 156
  • Performer: Toby Spence (Tenor)
  • Conductor: Martyn Brabbins
  • Ensemble: Nash Ensemble
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London, England (02/09/1998-02/11/1998)
  • Running Time: 8 min. 20 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1954

>Bliss, Sir A. [Composer] : Angels of the Mind, song cycle (7) for soprano & piano, Op. 118, F. 167
  • Performers: Geraldine McGreevy (Soprano); Kathron Sturrock (Piano)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London, England (02/09/1998-02/11/1998)
  • Running Time: 15 min. 19 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1969

>Bliss, Sir A. [Composer] : The Tempest, overture & incidental music for 2 solo voices & chamber ensemble, Op. 21, F. 164 :: The S
  • Performers: Henry Herford (Baritone); Toby Spence (Tenor)
  • Conductor: Martyn Brabbins
  • Ensemble: Nash Ensemble
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London, England (02/09/1998-02/11/1998)
  • Running Time: 6 min. 57 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1921

>Bliss, Sir A. [Composer] : The Ballads of the Four Seasons, song cycle (4) for voice & piano, Op. 27, F. 170
  • Performers: Geraldine McGreevy (Soprano); Kathron Sturrock (Piano)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London, England (02/09/1998-02/11/1998)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 58 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Vocal
  • Written: 1923

>Bliss, Sir A. [Composer] : The Fallow Deer at the Lonely House, song for voice & piano, Op. 33, F. 172
  • Performers: Toby Spence (Tenor); Kathron Sturrock (Piano)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London, England (02/09/1998-02/11/1998)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 55 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1924

>Bliss, Sir A. [Composer] : Rich or Poor, song for voice & piano, Op. 39, F. 174
  • Performers: Henry Herford (Baritone); Kathron Sturrock (Piano)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London, England (02/09/1998-02/11/1998)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 58 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1925-1926

>Bliss, Sir A. [Composer] : A Child's Prayer, song for voice & piano, Op. 38, F. 171
  • Performers: Geraldine McGreevy (Soprano); Kathron Sturrock (Piano)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London, England (02/09/1998-02/11/1998)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 40 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1926

>Bliss, Sir A. [Composer] : Three Jolly Gentlemen, song for voice & piano, Op. 29, F. 178
  • Performers: Geraldine McGreevy (Soprano); Kathron Sturrock (Piano)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London, England (02/09/1998-02/11/1998)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 6 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1923

>Bliss, Sir A. [Composer] : The Hammers, song for voice & piano, F. 173
  • Performers: Toby Spence (Tenor); Kathron Sturrock (Piano)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London, England (02/09/1998-02/11/1998)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 36 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1915

>Bliss, Sir A. [Composer] : Simples, song for voice & piano, Op. 51, F. 177
  • Performers: Toby Spence (Tenor); Kathron Sturrock (Piano)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London, England (02/09/1998-02/11/1998)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 20 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1932

>Bliss, Sir A. [Composer] : Tis Time I Think by Wenlock Town, song for voice & piano, F. 181
  • Performers: Toby Spence (Tenor); Kathron Sturrock (Piano)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London, England (02/09/1998-02/11/1998)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 24 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1914

>Bliss, Sir A. [Composer] : At the Window, song for voice & piano, F. 168
  • Performers: Toby Spence (Tenor); Kathron Sturrock (Piano)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London, England (02/09/1998-02/11/1998)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 17 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1925

>Bliss, Sir A. [Composer] : Auvergnat, song for voice & piano, Op. 61, F. 169
  • Performers: Toby Spence (Tenor); Kathron Sturrock (Piano)
  • Notes: Henry Wood Hall, London, England (02/09/1998-02/11/1998)
  • Running Time: 1 min. 33 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1943