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Ivor Gurney Songs

On the Downs
Ha'nacker Mill
The bonnie Earl of Murray
The cherry trees
first recording
By a bierside
Five Elizabethan Songs
The Apple Orchard
All night under the moon (Wilfrid Gibson)
The Latmian Shepherd
I will go with my father a-ploughing
Last hours
Cathleen ni Houlihan
A Cradle Song (W B Yeats)
The Fiddler of Dooney
The Singer (Edward Shanks)
Nine of the clock (John Doyle)
Epitaph in Old Mode (Sir John Collings Squire)
The ship
The Scribe
Fain would I change that note
An Epitaph
When death to either shall come
Thou didst delight my eyes
The boat is chafing
Lights out

Susan Bickley (mezzo-soprano) & Iain Burnside (piano)

Naxos English Song Series - 857215

I have long been interested in Ivor Gurney, notable poet and prolific song composer, and hoped to fit something of his into our LP of English Song with my son Simon Woolf. As a psychiatrist in Dartford, I had the opportunity to research his treatment in the City of London 'asylum' there; see my review of a Gurney recital by Ian & Jennifer Partridge.

Gurney has an easy way with English poetry, as does Hugo Wolf with the German. There are gems amongst these thirty settings and they should certainly be explored by singers building up their song repertoires.

At Naxos price one ought not to cavill at shortcomings, and the associated support of The Ivor Gurney Society helps to make this is a valuable contribution to Gurney's discography.

But I did wonder whether Susan Bickley was not in most comfortable voice for some of the three day sessions at Potton Hall; she can sound edgy and a little harsh sometimes here. Iain Burnside's accompanying is reliable and Roderick Dunnett of the Gurney Society provides detailed track notes.

But what is the justification for what seems to have been dog-in-the-manger obstruction by many of the copyright holders, so that near twenty of the song texts had to be conspicuously omitted? It is hard enough getting vocal CDs financed and produced without being thwarted by that hurdle, surely to no-one's gain.

Peter Grahame Woolf