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Kathleen Ferrier: In Celebration of Bach

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SOMM RECORDINGS is proud to announce the release of Kathleen Ferrier: In Celebration of Bach, a collection of historic performances with Britain’s favourite classical singer of the 20th century very much the star attraction.

It includes the first appearance on disc of Ferrier singing Magnificat, with the Vienna Philharmonic conducted by Volkmar Andreae in the Grosser Musikvereinssaal, from the legendary 1950 International Bach Festival.

A rarity in Ferrier’s repertoire – she had sung it only once before and was never to again – the Magnificat was a work the much-loved singer felt a close affinity with, joyfully declaring: “Oh! The Magnificat – I am in my element in this sort of music!”

The occasion was a significant one for the singer, as Ferrier authority Paul Campion notes in his extensive, detailed and informative booklet notes:

“It was a considerable honour for Ferrier to be invited… what was quite astonishing was that of all the 15 soloists taking part [she] was the only non-native German speaker.… Her international success was indeed at its zenith.”

London’s fabled Kingsway Hall provides the venue for two memorable Cantata performances – No. 11, Praise our God, and No. 67, Hold in affection Jesus Christ – recorded by Ferrier in 1949 with tenor William Herbert, bass William Parsons and Dr Reginald Jacques’ Cantata Singers and Jacques Orchestra. From the same venue and period, Jacques and the Cantata Singers offer a bewitching encore in the sublime Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring.

Paul Campion, author of the authoritative Ferrier: A Career Recorded provides specially commissioned booklet notes.

SOMM Recordings’ previous Ferrier releases include Bach’s Mass in B minor (Ariadne 5000-2), songs by Brahms, Chausson and Mahler (SOMMCD 075) and Kathleen Ferrier Remembered, a first release of BBC Radio recordings of Lieder and British songs (SOMMCD 264).

On This Recording

    Magnificat BWV 243.2

  1. Magnficat
  2. Et exsultavit
  3. Quia respexit humilitatem
  4. Omnes generationes
  5. Quia fecit mihi magna
  6. Et misericordia
  7. Fecit potentiam
  8. Deposuit potentes
  9. Esurientes implevit bonis
  10. Suscepit Israel
  11. Sicut locutus est
  12. Gloria Patri
  13. Praise our God
  14. Cantata No. 11: Praise our God (Lobet Gott in seinen Reichen) Ascension Oratorio

  15. Then Jesus lifted His hands
  16. My Saviour, is the parting hour
  17. Ah, tarry yet, my dearest Saviour
  18. And behold, He rose
  19. Now at Thy feet
  20. And while they looked
  21. Ye honest men
  22. Ah Lord, now quickly come again
  23. Jesu, all Thy loving kindness
  24. When will the night be over
  25. Cantata No. 67: Hold in affection Jesus Christ (Halt im Gedächtnis Jesum Christ)

  26. Hold in affection Jesus Christ
  27. Christ Jesus now is risen
  28. Lord Jesus, thou the sting of death
  29. Come all and hail this King
  30. And still, O Lord
  31. Peace be unto you!
  32. Lord Christ, Thou art the Prince
  33. Cantata No. 147

  34. Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring

Reviews:

“[This] is an important addition to Ferrier’s discography, and she is indeed marvellous in it, singing ‘Esurientes implevit bonis’ with that unique, indescribable tone and expressive sincerity that characterises her finest work. She also, one notices, exercises a steadying effect on some of her colleagues. … This is grand-manner Bach…Playing and choral singing are both enthusiastic… Irmgard Seefried, singing second soprano, is, as one might expect, glorious. … Its companion pieces are the English-language recordings of Cantatas Nos 11 (the Ascension Oratorio) and 67 that Ferrier made with Reginald Jacques… and both handsomely remastered… It’s easy to forget how pioneering they were in their day: they were among the first recordings of any of the choral cantatas to be made; and Jacques’s insistence on smallish forces and absolute clarity of texture and polyphony was deemed both novel and controversial at the time. Seventy years on the sharply focused playing and choral singing still impress… [Ferrier] comes into her own, though, in No 11, where she’s truly magnificent: her central aria, imploring the risen Christ to ‘tarry yet’ on earth, remains one of the most beautiful things she ever committed to disc.”

—Tim Ashley, Gramophone Magazine

“The major news here is that Kathleen Ferrier’s performance of Bach’s Magnificat, given on 10 June 1950 in Vienna, has been found. … It’s in excellent sound… This is an important addition to Ferrier’s legacy on disc… This disc is warmly commended for sourcing and restoring the Magnificat, which will be of interest to all Ferrier enthusiasts and also, incidentally, to those for whom appreciation of Andreae as a conductor has hitherto been limited to Bruckner. It also shows two distinct choral traditions at work, and Bach on the international stage and in the vernacular in the years of post-War austerity.” —Jonathan Woolf, MusicWeb International