Home | Reviews | Articles | Festivals | Competitions | Other | Contact Us


Sarah Leonard – soprano
Malcolm Martineau - piano

Portrait Classics – PCL2106 – 2 CDs – 129 minutes
Recorded 1991 and 1993

Parry: My Heart is Like a Singing Bird;  The Maiden; To Blossoms; Armida’s Garden; From a City Window; A Fairy Town
Stanford: The Fairy Lough; Cuttin Rushes; A Broken Song; Johneen; The Aquiline Snub; The Compleat Virtuoso
Quilter: Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal; Weep You No More; Fair House of Joy; Autumn Evening; Love’s Philosophy
Gurney: Orpheus; Tears; Under The Greenwood Tree; Sleep; Spring
Warlock: The Distracted Maid; Johnie wi’ the Tye; The Shoemaker; Burd Ellen & Young Tamlane; Rantum Tantum;
Warlock:The Singer; Consider; I held Love’s head; Thou gav’st me leave to kiss; A Sad Song; Rutterkin
Ireland: The Salley Gardens; Her Song; The Trellis; My True love hath heart
Howells: Gavotte; Come sing and dance; King David; Girl’s song
Bridge: Day after day; Speak to me, my love! Dweller in my deathless dreams; Journey’s End
Holst: Persephone; Now in these fairylands; A little music; The Floral Bandit; Journey’s End; The Dream City

Sarah Leonard is a soprano whose singing I much admire, as much for her seemingly instinctive musicianship as her crystal clear voice, and she is accompanied on this recording by the always reliable Malcolm Martineau.

Together they perform a very broad selection of English Song, with well known favourites and some rarities getting equal attention.

But there are snags.  It seems to me that the balance on the first CD (recorded in 1991) very much favours the piano which severely curtails the clarity of the words.  For humorous songs such Stanford’s two settings of the poems of Edward Lear this is a real drawback, especially since no texts are provided.  In fact the leaflet is only sporadic in identifying even the poets whose words have been used.

Balance is fine on the second CD (recorded in 1993) and that is thoroughly recommendable.

Serena Fenwick

See also Sarah Leonard at BMIC Cutting Edge 2007