Kathleen FERRIER – Remembered inc 16 unpublished performances

Kathleen Ferrier Remembered –  Brahms, Schubert, Wolf, Mahler et al

Bruno Walter, Gerald Moore & Frederick Stone

SOMMCD264 @ £13.25*

Remembering Kathleen Ferrier: A collection of German Lieder and British songs, including 16 previously unpublished performances: 1947-1952, with Bruno Walter, Gerald Moore and Frederick Stone.

CD review

“An essential purchase for anyone interested in the all-too-brief recording career of Kathleen Ferrier. The honesty and integrity of Ferrier’s artistry and the quiet intensity of her interpretations shine through in every track, while the quality of the voice proper contralto richness, youthful and never hardening into matronly hauteur can still be heard despite the technical deficiencies in the recordings” Gramophone

“The naturalness, clarity and poise of Ferrier’s lieder and song is evident in every bar: a delightful Musensohn, Wasserflut (from Winterreise). Sound is necessarily primitive but has been as lovingly restored as possible.” Classical Music, August 2017

About the CD and project …

Kathleen Ferrier’s legacy of recordings has been well-known and widely-admired for over 60 years. So it seems amazing that, after so long, a treasury of previously unpublished and little-circulated BBC broadcasts is now being released.

In typical fashion, SOMM leads the way in remembering great composers and artists of the past and Kathleen Ferrier is one of the most divinely gifted among them.

These recordings are from two sources. Several are from the BBC’s own archives and include Ferrier’s first broadcast of Rubbra’s Three Psalms Op. 61, of which she was the dedicatee, five Schubert Lieder, four by Brahms and Parry’s Love is a bable, recorded at the 1948 Edinburgh Festival, which makes a delightful conclusion to the CD.

The other source is the remarkable collection of Kenneth Leech, a composer and engineer who, from the 1930s to the 1950s, recorded numerous broadcasts, mainly using Bakelite and metal discs the usual way for an enthusiast to preserve radio programmes at that time. This collection is stored at the National Sound Archive in the British Library.

These recorded performances are immensely valuable, as they allow us, so many years later, to hear several songs that Ferrier never set down commercially “including Brahms’ Nachtigall – as well as others that can be now compared with their commercially-made counterparts. So we can hear her sing Lieder by Schubert and Brahms and songs by Stanford and Jacobson which have never before been issued.

Technically Leech’s discs do not match the standards of Ferrier’s Decca recordings but with the dedication and expertise of sound engineer Ted Kendall, they have been given new life and offer us a more complete view of Ferrier, the song- and Lieder- singer.

It has been a labour of love to restore Ferrier’s voice in this music, which lay at the very core of her repertoire.

Ferrier’s accompanists on this CD are three of her friends and valued collaborators – Bruno Walter, Gerald Moore and Frederick Stone. Their contributions to this recital are very considerable.

This disc offers 23 tracks and almost 80 minutes of incomparable performances from one of the 20th century’s greatest singers. SOMMCD264

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