Frederick Delius: Sunset – Birds in the High Hall Garden – In the Seraglio Garden – Love’s Philosophy – Over the Mountains High – “Serenade” from Hassan – Through Long, Long Years – Little Birdie – Slumber Song – With Your Blue Eyes
John Ireland: Spring Sorrow – Evening Song – Sea Fever – The Holy Boy – Baby – The Three Ravens – Hope – Ladslove – Summer Schemes – Her Song – In Summer Woods
Julian Lloyd Webber, Jiaxin Cheng (Cello), John Lenehan (Piano)
Recording: Wyastone Leys, Monmouthshire, United Kingdom (September 6-8, 2011) – 63’ 28
Naxos #8.572902 – Booklet in English
If one desires music soothing to the ear, brimming with expressive sentimentality, look no further than Evening Songs. Naxos’s soigné release of selected songs derived from Frederick Delius and John Ireland is worthy of repeat sojourns, the perfect antidote for tranquility.
Frederick Delius’ name most often connects with his larger, orchestral works such as the Florida Suite, Brigg Fair or even the opera, A Village Romeo and Juliet, but in his early life he began writing songs of an organic nature. There is a satisfying collection of his works that are interspersed with those of John Ireland’s art songs. Brought up in a literary family, Ireland was particularly drawn to poetry, thus providing him with a vast choice of subjects. A classic during World War I, Ireland’s Sea Fever is only one of several fitting pieces to land on this CD.
Renowned cellist Julian Lloyd Webber (younger brother to composer Andrew Lloyd Webber) deftly reinterprets what must have been going on in the minds of Delius and Ireland. Set against John Lenehan’s evenly tempered harmonics, Lloyd Webber draws his strings with sincere and transparent passion, making maximum use of each note to evince the proper amount of sincere reflection. Julian Lloyd Webber arranged most all of the album’s 21 pieces, and they performed with wonderful translation excepting Evening Song and In Summer Woods both of which are played by wife, Jiaxin Cheng. In particular, Webber delivers a beautifully arranged “Serenade” from the incidental music to Hassan, but each listener will end up having their own stash of favorites.
Quietude dominates Evening Songs, and this Naxos recording will encourage listeners to explore other musical marvels emanating from both British-born composers.