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Vaughan Williams: Along the Field, etc / Ainsley, et al

Album Summary

>Vaughan Williams, Ralph : Merciless beauty
>Vaughan Williams, Ralph : English Folksongs (2) for voice & violin
>Vaughan Williams, Ralph : Blake Songs (10) for Voice and Oboe
>Vaughan Williams, Ralph : Along the Field, song cycle for voice & violin
>Vaughan Williams, Ralph : On Wenlock Edge, song cycle for tenor, piano & string quartet (or tenor & orchestra)
Performer Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Though rightly regarded as one of the twentieth century's great symphonists, Ralph Vaughan Williams responded to the setting of words throughout his long life. Songs were therefore as significant among his earliest efforts as they were in his final creative period. Tenor John Mark Ainsley has made several recent recordings on Hyperion devoted to the great English song writers. This most enjoyable new album presents the instrumentally accompanied songs of Vaughan Williams.

'John Mark Ainsley's performance is among his best on record in these austerely beautiful, imaginatively scored settings' (Gramophone)

'John Mark Ainsley's voice has exactly the right timbre for this music. First-rate. A most desirable disc. Very strongly recommended' (Fanfare, USA)

'Superbly sung. A warm recommendation' (International Record Review)

Gramophone Classical Music Guide
The programme here has an identity of its own and as such is without competitors. Its 'theme' is to collect those of Vaughan Williams's songs which have something other than piano accompaniment.

On Wenlock Edge (1909) is for voice, piano and string quartet, Merciless Beauty (1921) with string trio, Along the Field (1927) and Two English Folksongs (published 1935 but of earlier date) voice and violin, and the Blake songs (1957) with oboe. Eligible for inclusion might have been Four Hymns (1914) with piano and viola, and perhaps The Willow Whistle (1939) for voice and pipe. The Three Vocalises of 1958, with clarinet, are specifically for soprano, but show the composer's continuing taste for such combinations right into the last year of his life. John Mark Ainsley sings with the sense of a civilised personal utterance, refined and restrained, yet capable of full-bodied tone and a ringing forte when needed: the cry 'O noisy bells, be dumb' is as emotional as an operatic climax and all the more effective for the exceptional frankness of its release. These are highly demanding pieces, the voice unremittingly exposed. He brings to them a fine poise, in breathing, phrasing, expression and the even emission of quite beautiful tone. He has also the considerable advantage of exceptional players to work with.

Individually admirable, they combine in On Wenlock Edge to give an unusually imaginative performance.



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Works Details

>Vaughan Williams, Ralph : Merciless beauty
  • Performer: John Ainsley (Tenor)
  • Ensemble: Nash Ensemble
  • Notes: 10/25/1999-10/27/1999
  • Running Time: 6 min. 39 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1921

>Vaughan Williams, Ralph : English Folksongs (2) for voice & violin
  • Performer: John Ainsley (Tenor)
  • Ensemble: Nash Ensemble
  • Notes: 10/25/1999-10/27/1999
  • Running Time: 4 min. 33 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: ?1935

>Vaughan Williams, Ralph : Blake Songs (10) for Voice and Oboe
  • Performer: John Ainsley (Tenor)
  • Ensemble: Nash Ensemble
  • Notes: 10/25/1999-10/27/1999
  • Running Time: 17 min. 30 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1957

>Vaughan Williams, Ralph : Along the Field, song cycle for voice & violin
  • Performer: John Ainsley (Tenor)
  • Ensemble: Nash Ensemble
  • Notes: 10/25/1999-10/27/1999
  • Running Time: 1 min. 34 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Written: 1927

>Vaughan Williams, Ralph : On Wenlock Edge, song cycle for tenor, piano & string quartet (or tenor & orchestra)
  • Performer: John Ainsley (Tenor)
  • Ensemble: Nash Ensemble
  • Notes: 10/25/1999-10/27/1999
  • Running Time: 20 min. 46 sec.
  • Period Time: Post Romantic
  • Form: Vocal
  • Written: 1908-1909