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KATHLEEN FERRIER: THE COMPLETE EMI RECORDINGS (3 CDS)

$ 14.99 $ 24.36

Kathleen Ferrier (22 April 1912–8 October 1953) remains one of the best-loved British singers of our time. The eminent vocal expert Alan Blyth wrote of her in 1998: ‘Kathleen Ferrier, a legend in her own lifetime, has certainly become one since her untimely death in 1953. Her professional life, lasting little more than a decade, saw her rise from the obscurity of appearing with choirs in the north of England to the eminence of an international career in the company of such conductors as Barbirolli, Walter and Klemperer. It was an extraordinary transformation in every respect, but one wholly justified by the dignity and conviction of her singing and the commitment of her interpretations.’

CD1 begins with four test recordings of pieces by Gluck, Brahms and Elgar recorded by producer Walter Legge in June 1944 but not issued until 1978. Ferrier signed a one-year contract with EMI in September 1944 and her first commercial release was the two arias by the Baroque composer Maurice Greene that follow. Then come two Handel solos and five duets with soprano Isobel Baillie of compositions by Purcell and Mendelssohn. These completed Ferrier’s EMI contract and she then moved to Decca.

In 1949 Ferrier came back to EMI to record Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder in London with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Bruno Walter, the great Mahlerian who had introduced Ferrier to this work, which closes CD1

CD2 begins with four items recorded at a rehearsal in June 1950 for a concert of the Bach Mass in B Minor in Vienna with the Vienna Symphony Orchestra conducted by Karajan. EMI was setting up its recording equipment in the Musikvereinssaal for another project while the rehearsal was taking place and the engineer, as a test, turned on the tape machine to capture, almost complete, these four precious Ferrier tracks, which include two solos and two duets with the soprano Elisabeth Schwarzkopf.

Then comes a complete performance of Ferrier’s signature operatic role, that of Orfeo in Orfeo ed Euridice by Gluck. This live recording dates from a radio broadcast in July 1951 in Amsterdam.

CD3 concludes with two bonus tracks; these are reserve takes of the first and the fifth movements of Kindertotenlieder being issued here for the first time. This work was originally recorded on 12-inch waxes, with a tape machine running as safety back-up, as was EMI’s practice in 1949. Masters from the waxes were used for most of the original 78-rpm sides, but for the release of the work on CD, the back-up tapes were used, and these reserve ‘takes’ have also survived.

Bach, J S:
Mass in B minor, BWV232: Christe eleison
Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (soprano)
Wiener Symphoniker, Bruno Walter
Mass in B minor, BWV232: Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris
Wiener Symphoniker, Bruno Walter
Mass in B minor, BWV232: Et in unum dominum
Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (soprano)
Wiener Symphoniker, Bruno Walter
Mass in B minor, BWV232: Agnus Dei
recorded in rehearsal in Vienna on 15th June 1950
Wiener Symphoniker, Herbert von Karajan
Brahms:
Liebestreu, Op. 3 No. 1
recorded on 30th September 1944
Gerald Moore (piano)
Feinsliebchen, du sollst mir nicht barfuß gehen (No. 12 from Deutsche Volkslieder, WoO 33)
recorded on 30th September 1944
Gerald Moore (piano)
Elgar:
My work is done (from Dream of Gerontius)
recorded on 30th September 1944
Gerald Moore (piano)
Gluck:
Che faro' senza Euridice? (from Orfeo ed Euridice)
recorded on 30th September 1944; sung in English as 'What is life to me without thee?'
Gerald Moore (piano)
Orfeo ed Euridice
performed in the 1889 Ricordi Edition; recorded live on 10th July 1951
Kathleen Ferrier (Orfeo), Greet Koeman (Euridice), Nel Duval (Amore)
Chorus & Orchestra of the Netherlands Opera, Charles Bruck
Greene, M:
I will lay me down in peace
recorded on 30th September 1944
Gerald Moore (piano)
O praise the Lord
recorded on 30th September 1944
Gerald Moore (piano)
Handel:
Spring is coming (from Ottone)
recorded on 20th April 1945
Gerald Moore (piano)
Come to me, soothing sleep (from Ottone)
recorded on 20th April 1945
Gerald Moore (piano)
Mahler:
Kindertotenlieder
recorded on 4th October 1949
Wiener Philharmoniker, Bruno Walter
Nun will die Sonn so hell aufgehn (Kindertotenlieder)
alternative take previously unissued; recorded 4th October 1949
Wiener Philharmoniker, Bruno Walter
In diesem Wetter, in diesem Braus (Kindertotenlieder)
alternative take previously unissued; recorded 4th October 1949
Wiener Philharmoniker, Bruno Walter
Mendelssohn:
Ich wollt' meine Lieb' ergösse sich, Op. 63. No. 1
sung in English as 'I would that my love'; recorded on 21st September 1945
Isobel Baillie (soprano), Gerald Moore (piano)
Gruss, Op. 63 No. 3
sung in English as 'Greeting'; recorded on 21st September 1945
Isobel Baillie (soprano), Gerald Moore (piano)
Purcell:
Sound the trumpet, beat the drum, Z335
recorded on 21st September 1945
Isobel Baillie (soprano), Gerald Moore (piano)
Let us Wander not Unseen (based on music from The Indian Queen, Z630)
recorded on 21st September 1945
Isobel Baillie (soprano), Gerald Moore (piano)
Shepherd, shepherd, leave decoying (from King Arthur, Z628)
recorded on 21st September 1945
Isobel Baillie (soprano), Gerald Moore (piano)


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