Celebrating 25 Years of Excellence

Songs by William Vincent Wallace



Sally Silver, Soprano; Richard Bonynge, piano

SOMM’s exploration of the byways of British Music continues with another wonderful discovery – Songs by William Vincent Wallace.

Conductor Richard Bonynge who partners Sally Silver in Wallace’s charming drawing room ballads should take the credit for their discovery. He writes:

My love affair with William Wallace began many years ago. In pre-television days when my parents, my aunts and I used to make music frequently in the evenings and several songs of Wallace were to be found among the stacks of old music. Perhaps because of my Irish heritage I was drawn to the Irish composers and I eventually recorded Wallace’s beautiful opera Lurline and that led me to investigate the songs. Wallace was a superb melodist and I found it a shame that so much of his music was forgotten. I thank David Grant in Ireland and Rosemary Tuck, both great Wallace scholars, for helping me with further researches.

“This exquisite new collection of Wallace’s drawing room ballads finds Bonynge at the piano for a second time following his 2011 recital of Opera Fantasies and Paraphrases with Rosemary Tuck and reunites him with Sally Silver … . It’s a disc full of delightful discoveries, distinguished by persuasive performances of idiomatic charm.” —Michael Quinn classicalear.co.uk

Wallace wrote for some of the great singers of his day (1830’s – 1860’s), Jenny Lind (Gipsy Maid), the Irish soprano Carherine Hayes (Happy Birdling), the baritone Johann Baptist Pischek (Go thou restless wind), Henriette Sontag (Orange Flower) and his soprano wife (Cradle Song).

Wallace was nothing if not versatile. He was born in Waterford, Ireland in 1812 and died in France at the age of 53 after a colourful career as a violinist (dubbed ‘the Australian Paganini’ at the age of 23, whilst in New South Wales), pianist and conductor (in South America and the USA) and finally in London as an operatic composer whose operas, particularly Maritana, Lurline and the Amber Witch gained great popularity when premiered in the London theatres.

In his excellent CD booklet notes, Andrew Lamb (author of William Vincent Wallace: Composer, Virtuoso and Adventurer), writes:  “Wallace’s songs readily display his instinctive melodic gift, and the graceful melodic lines are allied to the same comfortable grasp of keyboard technique that pervades his piano output. The collection recorded here is mostly upbeat, avoiding the maudlin sentiment that disfigures much of Victorian balladry.

Sally Silver
Commanding a repertoire that spans the operatic heroines of Bellini, Donizetti, Verdi and Handel, Romantic rarities by English, French and Irish composers, and newly commissioned works, Sally Silver has been praised by The Times for her “magnificently variegated and tireless soprano” and described by The Daily Telegraph as “dazzling and stylish”.

With Scottish Opera she has triumphed in Lucia di Lammermoor, I Puritani and Handel’s Orlando, also appearing with ENO as Ännchen in Der Freischütz and Mila in the world premiere of Jonathan Dove’s Palace in the Sky, frequently with Longborough Festival Opera, while other UK operatic appearances have included the title role in Gounod’s Mireille at Cadogan Hall (an interpretation welcomed by The Daily Telegraph as “first-class singing by any standards”), Handel’s Amadigi at Wigmore Hall, The Fairy Godmother in Massenet’s Cendrillon for Blackheath Halls Opera and, for Music Theatre Wales, multiple roles in Mark- Anthony Turnage’s Greek at the Buxton, Cheltenham and Edinburgh Festivals.

Elsewhere in Europe, operas ranging from Rigoletto and La Traviata to Les Huguenots, Les Contes d’Hoffmann and Thomas Adès’ Powder Her Face have brought appearances with the Opéra de Metz, Opéra de Rennes, Opéra de Nantes, Berliner Kammeroper, Denmark’s Den Anden Oper and the Netherlands’ National Reisopera, while in 2010 in Weimar Sally Silver scored a considerable personal success when she replaced Lyuba Orgonosova at 24 hours’ notice in a concert of Bellini and Donizetti arias.

At the Spitalfields Festival and Wigmore Hall Ms Silver performed Three Songs from Gitanjali, written for her by the Punjabi-born British composer Naresh Sohal , while other UK concert appearances have included Sullivan’s rarely heard oratorio The Martyr of Antioch and on radio, appearances on the BBC’s Friday Night is Music Night. She premiered Songs of Five Rivers by Naresh Sohal with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, as well as performing Mendelssohn‘s Lobgesang with the LSO.

In addition to the present disc of Songs by Wallace, Silver’s collaboration with the conductor and pianist Richard Bonynge has produced three recordings: recitals of songs by Massenet, Balfe and  the title role in a complete recording of Wallace’s opera Lurline. Her other recordings include the role of Ariadne in excerpts from Tovey’s opera The Bride of Dionysus and Carlo Franci’s Dreamtime.

Richard Bonynge
Richard Bonynge, AC, CBE, was born in Sydney and studied piano at the New South Wales Conservatorium of Music and later with Herbert Fryer, a pupil of Busoni, in London. He made his conducting début in Rome in 1962 with the Santa Cecilia Orchestra and has since conducted at most of the world’s opera houses. He was Artistic Director of Vancouver Opera and Musical Director of Australian Opera. He was awarded the CBE (Commander of the British Empire) in 1977, Officer of the Order of Australia in 1983, Companion of the Order of Australia in 2012, Commandeur de l’Ordre National des Arts et des Lettres, Paris in 1989 and made “Socio d’onore” of the R. Accademia Filarmonica di Bologna in 2007. He married the late soprano Joan Sutherland in 1954 and has one son.

He has recorded over fifty complete operas, has made videos and DVDs of many operas and recorded numerous ballets. As a conductor Bonynge is widely regarded as being extraordinarily sympathetic to singers on the stage and his instinct, knowledge and feel for voices has become legendary. Richard Bonynge is acknowledged as a scholar of bel canto, in 18th and 19th century opera and ballet music.

Anna Noakes
Anna Noakes
is widely known as a soloist, recitalist and chamber musician. She has an extensive discography of both solo and chamber music and several of her recordings have received Gramophone Magazine’s coveted ‘Critics Choice’.

Noakes works as Guest Principal Flute with the LPO, Philharmonia, RPO, Royal Opera House, ENO among others.  She is also  a frequent broadcaster on BBC Radio 3 and Classic FM. Anna is Professor of Flute at Trinity College of Music.

Yvonne Howard
Hailed in the international press as ‘one of the finest singing actors of her generation’ Yvonne Howard has a busy and varied career on the operatic and concert stage. From recitals and oratorio to title roles in operas, from Handel to Wagner, Mezzo to Soprano, she enjoys performing and taking on new challenges. Being involved in this recording has been yet another happy experience.

On This Recording

  1. Why Do I Weep for Thee?
  2. The Desert Flower: The Desert Flower: Through the Pathless Forests Drear
  3. Bird of the Wild Wing
  4. Orange Flowers
  5. Softly, ye night winds
  6. Happy Birdling of the Forest: Happy Birdling of the Forest, Op. 63
  7. The Gypsy Maid
  8. Alice
  9. Seabirds Wing their Way
  10. Over the Silvery Lake
  11. It Is the Happy Summer Time
  12. Wild Flowers
  13. Go! Thou Restless Wind
  14. Cradle Song
  15. The Star of Love
  16. The Spring and Summer Both are Past
  17. The Winds that Waft My Sighs to Thee
  18. Good Night, and Pleasant Dreams
  19. Old Friends and Other Days
  20. The Leaves are Turning Red