Celebrating 25 Years of Excellence

Kathleen Ferrier: 20th Century British Treasures


This item will be released on 4 December, 2020.

SOMM RECORDINGS’ acclaimed series of re-mastered recitals by the much loved, fondly remembered contralto Kathleen Ferrier continues with Kathleen Ferrier: 20th Century British Treasures.

Featuring recordings made for Decca and the BBC between 1946 and 1953, it includes a previously unpublished recording of Ferrier’s passionate performance of Lennox Berkeley’s Four Poems of St Teresa of Ávila.

Sir Thomas Allen, the distinguished interpreter of British song and Trustee of the Kathleen Ferrier Awards, contributes an extensive booklet commentary that brings a lifetime’s experience to bear in an insightful analysis of Ferrier’s dexterous and treasured talent, accented by the distinctive tones of her native Lancashire.

The earliest recording, from 1947, is of Benjamin Britten’s ‘The Flower Song’ from The Rape of Lucretia, the latest, from 1953 (both BBC recitals), includes Howard Ferguson’s lovely five-part Discovery, three songs by William Wordsworth and Edmund Rubbra’s Three Psalms, specially written for Ferrier.

Pieces by defining proponents of British song including Parry, Stanford, Vaughan Williams, Roger Quilter, Frank Bridge and Peter Warlock complete a crucial celebration of Ferrier’s inimitable contribution to the genre.

Pianist Julian Jacobson, son of composer Maurice Jacobson, whose melancholy but sensuous The Song of Songs is heard in a 1947 BBC broadcast, also provides a personal poignant note on Ferrier’s championing of his father’s music.

Previous Ferrier releases on SOMM include Kathleen Ferrier Remembered (SOMMCD 264), which prompted Norman Lebrecht to say “I would not want to be without this record of an immortal artist, and nor will you once you have heard it”, Kathleen Ferrier in Celebration of Bach (Ariadne 5004), which Audiophile Audition’s five-star review said “carries us into a realm of rapt devotion”, and the Gramophone Editor’s Choice, Kathleen Ferrier in New York (Ariadne 5007), hailed as “a treasure to be sure”.

On This Recording


  1. Love is a bable, Op.152 No.3 a
  2. Quilter

  3. Now sleeps the crimson petal, Op.3 No.2 b
  4. To Daisies, Op.8 No.4 b
  5. The Fair House of Joy, Op.12 No.7 c
  6. Vaughan Williams

  7. Silent Noon (The House of Life No.2) a
  8. Stanford

  9. The Fairy Lough, Op.77 No.2 a
  10. A Soft Day, Op.140 No.3 a
  11. La Belle Dame sans Merci, Op.12 d
  12. Bridge

  13. Go not, happy day a
  14. Warlock

  15. Sleep a
  16. Pretty Ring Time a
  17. Jacobson

  18. The Song of Songs e
  19. Rubbra: Three Psalms, Op.61 f

  20. Psalm 6, O Lord, rebuke me not
  21. Psalm 23, The Lord is my Shepherd
  22. Psalm 150, Praise ye the Lord
  23. Wordsworth: Three Songs f

  24. Red Skies
  25. The Wind
  26. Clouds
  27. Ferguson: Discovery f

  28. The Freedom of the City
  29. Babylon
  30. Jane Allen
  31. Discovery
  32. Dreams Melting
  33. Britten

  34. The Flower Song, Op.37 (The Rape of Lucretia) g
  35. Berkeley: Four Poems of St Teresa of Ávila, Op.27 h

  36. If, Lord, Thy love for me is strong
  37. Shepherd, shepherd hark that calling
  38. Let mine eyes see Thee
  39. Today a shepherd and our kin

Kathleen Ferrier contralto
Frederick Stone ade, Phyllis Spurr bc, Ernest Lush f piano
Anna Pollak mezzo-soprano g, EOG Orchestra, Reginald Goodall conductor g, London Symphony Orchestra, Hugo Rignold conductor h

a BBC recital, June 5, 1952
b Recorded by Decca, December 1951. Issued M680 (September 1952)
c Recorded by Decca, December 1951. Issued LX 3098 (November 1952)
d BBC recital, February 16, 1948
e BBC recital, November 3, 1947
f BBC recital, January 12, 1953 g BBC broadcast, October 11, 1946
h BBC broadcast, April 7, 1952. Previously unpublished recording