BRYN TERFEL Silent Noon Martineau

Silent Noon - English Songs

Werke von / Works by
Britten · Dunhill · Elwyn-Edwards
Gurney · Head · Kell · Parry
Quilter · Somervell · Stanford
Vaughan Williams · Warlock
Malcolm Martineau
Int. Release 01 Feb. 2005
0289 477 5336 0
CD DDD 0289 477 5336 0 GH
"Armed with the goods to do whatever he wants . . . One only can sit back and enjoy it."New York Times, 2004

Track List

Roger Quilter (1877 - 1953)
3 Shakespeare Songs, Op.6

Ivor Gurney (1890 - 1937)
Five Elizabethan Songs (The Elizas)


Frederick Keel (1871 - 1950)
Three Salt-Water Ballads



Dilys Elwyn-Edwards (1918 - 2012)
Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872 - 1958)


Roger Quilter (1877 - 1953)
3 Songs, Op.3

5 Songs, Op.24

Arthur Somervell (1863 - 1937)
A Shropshire Lad

Michael Head (1900 - 1976)

The Sally Gardens


Oliver Cromwell


Peter Warlock (1894 - 1930)
Traditional, Charles Hubert Hastings Parry (1848 - 1918)
Thomas F. Dunhill (1877 - 1946)
Charles Villiers Stanford (1852 - 1924)
Bryn Terfel, Malcolm Martineau

Total Playing Time 1:13:34

Even more enjoyable is Bryn Terfel's new collection of British Songs accompanied by Malcolm Martineau. His first such venture won lots of awards in 1996 and this one could follow suit . . . Terfel's diction and feeling for the words is exemplary.

It is a pure and powerful record that shows Terfel's immense voice at its best . . . They are little pearls.

Love songs, drinking songs, folk songs, nonsense songs: this anthology of English airs runs the gamut from laughter to tears. Following the success of a similar collection ("The Vagabond") in the mid-1990s, Bryn Terfel returns to the recording studio with pianist Malcolm Martineau to bring his warm humanity and rich sonority . . . If you like English song, it doesn't come better sung.

Once again the energy, warmth and sheer body of Terfel's voice work wonders on music that in the past has sometimes been left to gilded throats trying to sound pretty . . . "Silent Noon" offers only delight and revelations.

In this, his second volume of songs to English texts, Wales's finest shows himself not only to be at the peak of his vocal prime, but an artist of ever-deepening musical responses. Terfel sings English words with the clarity and poetic savour he lavishes on the German verse set by Schubert or Schumann . . . In a programme notable for its variety of mood, he offers model versions of several popular classics . . . A gorgeous disc.

Bryn Terfel's second recital of English song is pure comfort listening. A gentle survey of songs by Somervell, Quilter, Warlock, Parry, Gurney and Britten, "Silent Noon" underscores Terfel's genius for the nuance of communication. Vaughan Williams's famous Rossetti setting has never sounded more ardent. Nor have Quilter's chintzy "Three Shakespeare Songs" sounded more dignified. Yes, the voice is almost embarrassingly golden for what is after all Grade VIII repertoire. But Terfel's delivery of the poetry of this innocent era is without parallel. Delicious.

To have a singer of his stature treating this repertoire as seriously as he would a disc of lieder comes as a wonderful surprise. No one since Janet Baker has sung such settings with such emotional honesty and musical care . . .

This "sequel" . . . finds the Welshman in magnificent voice and confirms him as an outstanding champion of the art songs of Vaughan Williams.

Welsh baritone Bryn Terfel's first disc of British songs was a great success and this sequel is just as good. The title piece by Ralph Vaughan Williams is beautifully sung.

No one since Janet Baker has sung such settings with such emotional honesty and musical care, and without a hint of the precious about any of them.

Bryn has rendered a major service to these forgotten English composers, who will now find themselves back on the map thanks to his dramatic talents and golden voice. Beautifully supported by Malcolm Martineau at the piano, this really is a magnificent record.

As one would expect from this past master of song, it is all immaculately performed, with a knowing sense of word-awareness and an expressive range that can take in the austerity of Quilter . . . as easily as the . . . wit of Britten.

Bass-baritone Bryn Terfel's newest recital disc of English songs is a grab bag of almost
comic omnivorousness; aside from a bevy of short Housman settings by Arthur
Somervell, none of the program's dozen composers is represented by more than three
songs. Yet the range is not too broad -- there is a distinctive feel to the folk-drenched
song repertory produced during the first half of the 20th century -- and Terfel helps by
putting his personal stamp on the entire proceedings. Accompanied with alluring vigor by pianist Malcolm Martineau, Terfel offers readings that are at once capacious and detailed, with phrases that are no less precisely calibrated for being so bold and swaggering. In the "Three Salt-Water Ballads" by Frederick Keel, Terfel plays the sea dog to the hilt, with enjoyably hammy effects; in three of Britten's folksong arrangements, his singing is sensitive and true.

It has been 10 years since Welsh bass-baritone Bryn Terfel released his first, Gramophone Award-winning album of English songs, "The Vagabond". Accompanied by noted pianist Malcolm Martineau, Terfel finally returns to that fertile soil in the captivating "Silent Noon" . . . The singer's diligence was rewarded with a treasure trove of charming songs . . .

Terfel beguiles Britain with ¿Silent Noon¿.

An impressive collection . . . Terfel not only has a spectacular voice and flawless diction, he is also a true singing actor.

Bryn Terfel . . . sets the era's standard . . . there may be no better interpreter
of British art songs today.

. . . what makes this CD captivating listening beginning to end is Terfel's obvious,
boundless affection for these songs . . . he does all the work so you can have all the fun (or at least take what artistic pleasures are on offer; some of these songs are deeply sad). Vocally, he takes them no less seriously than he would Wagner. His ability to color every syllable of the text individually and yet bind all the inflection into a convincing, mellifluous whole is what all great songsters do. He just does more of it, with an affect that is not only less fussysounding in effect but also more enrapturing . . . As ever, Malcolm Martineau, who has this music as deeply in his soul as Terfel, is the ideal, and a full, musical partner. Bryn Terfel masters English song.

The program is truly a celebration, not just of Terfel's artistry, but of the power of the English language . . . to inspire such glorious musical results . . . what a joy Terfel is.

Terfel has put a lot of study into these performances, and his work reveals numerous instances of musical sensitivity.

Gibt es etwas, das dieser Sänger nicht kann? . . . Als Liedsänger zieht der walisische Baßbariton alle Register. Man hört, daß ihm das Geschichten-Erzählen Spaß bereitet.

Malcolm Martineau erweist sich einmal mehr als nobler Parleur am Klavier . . . Bryn Terfel versieht seinen Vortrag vor allem in den Piano-Bezirken mit herrlich abgestuften, geschmeidigen Nuancen, mit subtilem Sinn für den poetischen Grundgehalt dieser Musik.

La enorme, calidez acariciante que se desprende de la voz sedosa de Terfel es la gran protagonista del disco . . . No podemos cerrar este comentario sin aludir a la extraordinaria labor de Martineau, que sabe estar presente y, sin excederse del papel asignado en las obras, es mucho más que un mero acompañante, en franco diálogo con Terfel.

. . . Terfel sirve con entrega, reduciendo a un hilo de voz su enorme caudal, prodigándose en medias voces sin pérdida de redondez, excelente en la caracterización, gracias a la segura guía de Martineau, que encuentra en estas piezas un campo donde se mueve con la mayor desenvoltura.

La calidez de sus interpretaciones, llenas de naturalidad, sentido del humor y vehemencia consiguen convencer al oyente de que no puede haber mejor traductor para estas canciones que el barítono galés, que como es habitual, viene acompañado con gran musicalidad y perfecto dominio del estilo ... por Malcolm Martineau. Recomendado para todos los seguidores de este magnífico cantante, uno de los mejores barítonos de nuestros días.

. . . una voz privilegiada como la de Terfel, y un estilo que saborea texto y música con tanta fruición como pasión comunicativa, estas obras tienen la mejor defensa imaginable, sin olvidar, claro está, al cómplice habitual del bajo-barítono en estos menesteres, Malcolm Martineau.

Miniature Masterpieces from a Golden Age: Bryn Terfel Sings English Songs

Silent Noon by Bryn Terfel and pianist Malcolm Martineau offers listeners some of the finest examples from a remarkable period in the history of English song. Given its prominence as a spoken language the world over, it is surprising that English musical settings are still so little known outside their country of origin. In fact this is an unusually rich tradition, containing many glorious examples of wonderful words matched with inspired music to form a perfect unity. These are human songs - songs that tell stories, create moods and recall powerful emotional experiences. They are wide ranging, immediate and direct - songs of truly universal appeal.

When it came out in 1995, The Vagabond, Bryn Terfel's first album of English song, was hailed as one of the finest collections of this material ever recorded. It went on to win a Gramophone Award, an Edison Award and the Prix Caecilia, and also won many more fans for this repertoire. This second collection by Terfel and Martineau is just as rich and imaginative, travelling the emotional gamut from pain to humour, and taking in love songs, folk songs, sea songs, drinking songs and nonsense songs. All of them require the keenest attention to words and a voice of range, colour and great communicative power - and in Bryn Terfel they find an ideal interpreter.

The history of English song covers many centuries, but a period of particular splendour came in the first half of the 20th century, when most of the figures represented on this disc flourished. In these golden years many composers, major and minor, drew on the rich heritage of English poetry to create miniature masterpieces that were enjoyed by a wide public and by countless performers, professional and amateur. The texts might be, as here, from folk poetry, from Shakespeare or other Elizabethan writers, from the Victorian Romantics like Tennyson and Dante Gabriel Rossetti, or from more modern figures like the Irishman W. B. Yeats. English humour had to have its place too - as for instance in two parody settings of limericks by the great writer of nonsense verse Edward Lear, composed by the Irish-born Charles Villiers Stanford, here working under an exotic pseudonym and parodying well-known musical styles - those of Johann Sebastian Bach and the Romantic violin concerto - in his delightful settings.

Stanford and his colleague Hubert Parry were in many ways the instigators of the Renaissance of English music that began in the 1880s, and the best of their finely crafted songs have certainly stood the test of time. Parry's good-humoured "Love is a Bable" has deservedly remained a favourite with singers and audiences over many years. Their pupil Ralph Vaughan Williams was a prime mover in the preservation of English folk music. In "Linden Lea" he uses a popular folk-like melody to set verses by folk poet William Barnes that tell of the happiness and satisfaction known by those who lead a rural existence. "Silent Noon", meanwhile, paints a picture in sound of a couple of lovers experiencing the drowsy heat of a summer's day in the English countryside. It is one of Vaughan Williams's six settings of sonnets by the Pre-Raphaelite artist and writer Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

Some of these songs, like "Silent Noon" itself, or Roger Quilter's "Now sleeps the Crimson Petal", can be surprisingly erotic in quality. Others, like Arthur Somervell's poignant group setting the once extremely popular poetry of A. E. Housman, convey a powerful nostalgia for a way of life that came to an end with the First World War, and a deep sense of loss at the young lives and young lovers cut down on the battlefield. Those who admired George Butterworth's settings of some of these same poems on The Vagabond will find Somervell's just as distinctive and appealing. The composer and poet Ivor Gurney was himself a soldier during the Great War, and though he survived the conflict he never recovered his health and spent the latter part of his life in mental institutions. His "Sleep" is an unforgettable cry of distress from the depths of the soul.

But there are extrovert songs too - notably the roistering drinking song "Captain Stratton's Fancy" by Peter Warlock, a man who, it is fair to say, knew a great deal about drinking himself. Michael Head's two attractive contributions range from the bouncy humour of "Money, O!" to the affecting simplicity of his setting of "The Lord's Prayer".

One intriguing aspect of this collection is the contrast between settings of the same text by different composers. We have here two completely individual responses to Yeats's touching poem "The Cloths of Heaven". Thomas Dunhill's has long been a classic, with its sweet, understated and charming manner. But many listeners will be pleasantly surprised by the warm and equally lyrical version by Dilys Elwyn-Edwards, the only Welsh composer in this anthology, and the only woman.

In fact variety of mood and the individual voices of poets and composers are the keynotes of this collection, and this is certainly an aspect to appeal to Bryn Terfel, whose own range runs from the great bass-baritone roles in Mozart and Verdi through to the world of popular musicals. His recent album of favourites, Bryn, showed him collaborating with Andrea Bocelli and the Norwegian singer Sissel (famous for her vocals on the soundtrack of Titanic) in a range of music that runs from Tchaikovsky to Hoagy Carmichael, from Schubert to "Shenandoah". His combination of superb artistry with an ability to identify with whatever music he sings is what makes Bryn special, and his powers of communication are certain to bring these marvellous English songs with great vividness to new audiences everywhere.

George Hall

Bryn Terfel - Chronology

"With the agility of a wrestler and the sexual charisma of a rock star" (Financial Times)

Born in North Wales in 1965, Bryn Terfel enters London's Guildhall School of Music in 1984, studying first with Arthur Reckless and later with Rudolf Piernay. In 1988 he wins the Kathleen Ferrier Memorial Scholarship and the following year graduates from the Guildhall, receiving the school's Gold Medal. Shortly after that he represents Wales in the "Singer of the World" Competition and launches his career by winning the lieder prize.

1990    Opera début as Guglielmo (Così fan tutte) and Figaro (Le nozze di Figaro) at Welsh National Opera; CD release of Monteverdi's Vespers of the Blessed Virgin conducted by John Eliot Gardiner (Record Academy Prize, Japan, Stella d'oro 1991)
1991 English National Opera début as Mozart's Figaro; US début at Santa Fe as Figaro; sings Jochanaan in Deutsche Grammophon release of Strauss's Salome under Giuseppe Sinopoli (Edison Award, Grand Prix de la Nouvelle Académie, Orphée d'or, Stella d'argento 1992)
1992 Breakthrough Salzburg Festival début as Jochanaan in Salome; Covent Garden début as Masetto in Don Giovanni; becomes first artist to receive the Critics' Circle Award for the most important contribution to British musical life; sings Angelotti in DG release of Puccini's Tosca under Sinopoli (Record Academy Prize, Japan, 1992, CD Compact, Stella d'argento 1993); Gramophone magazine names him "Young Singer of the Year"
1993 Signs first exclusive contract with Deutsche Grammophon; triumphant Vienna State Opera début as Mozart's Figaro; sings Ford in Falstaff at Welsh National Opera; named "Newcomer of the Year" at the International Classical Music Awards; takes part in the Wagner Gala Concert on New Year's Eve with Claudio Abbado and the Berliner Philharmoniker, recorded live by Deutsche Grammophon
1994 Appears as Figaro at Covent Garden and at Metropolitan début; first recitals in London's Wigmore Hall, at the Salzburg Festival, and in Florence; US recital début in New York's Alice Tully Hall; soloist at the "Last Night of the Proms"; sings Figaro in Archiv Produktion CD (Edison Award, Grand Prix de la Nouvelle Académie 1995) and video release conducted by John Eliot Gardiner; sings Baron Mirko Zeta in CD release of Lehár's Merry Widow under Gardiner (Grand Prix de la Nouvelle Académie 1995); release of the CD An die Musik with Schubert songs accompanied by Malcolm Martineau (Gramophone Award 1995)
1995 Leporello in Don Giovanni at the Met; Leporello and Figaro at the Salzburg Festival; Jochanaan at Covent Garden; recital début at La Scala, Milan; release of the CD The Vagabond with songs by Ralph Vaughan Williams, George Butterworth, Gerald Finzi, and John Ireland (Prix Caecilia 1995, Edison Award, Gramophone Award 1996)
1996 Leporello at Salzburg; début recital at New York's Carnegie Hall; CD releases include opera arias under James Levine (Grammy Award 1996) and Something Wonderful with songs by Rodgers & Hammerstein (Gramophone Award 1997)
1997 La Scala début as Figaro; CD release of Handel arias under Sir Charles Mackerras
1998 Hollywood Bowl début; CD releases include Leporello in Don Giovanni under Abbado, Mephistopheles in Berlioz's Damnation de Faust conducted by Myung-Whun Chung, Requiems by Fauré and Duruflé also under Chung (Classical Brit Award 2000), and If Ever I Would Leave You, a collection of famous Broadway songs with lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner
1999 Appears as Falstaff at the Sydney Opera House, Chicago Lyric Opera, and the re-opening of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; sings the title role of Don Giovanni for the first time in Paris; sings the title role of Handel's Saul under Mackerras at the Edinburgh Festival; concert tour of Australia and New Zealand; sings Nick Shadow in CD release of Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress under Gardiner (Grammy Award 2000)
2000 Met appearances in four roles in Les Contes d'Hoffmann and as Don Giovanni; Nick Shadow at the San Francisco Opera; sings Berlioz's Mephistopheles at the Edinburgh Festival; inaugural season of Bryn Terfel's Faenol Festival in North Wales; CD releases: We'll Keep a Welcome - "the Welsh Album" - and a recording of Schumann lieder
2001 Sings Don Giovanni at the Vienna State Opera, Figaro in Tokyo; Figaro and Falstaff in Munich; Falstaff at the Salzburg Festival; concert and recital tour of the Far East; in April records Falstaff for Deutsche Grammophon in Berlin with Abbado (Record Academy Prize, Japan, 2001 "Grand Prize"; Echo Award, Germany, 2002); in December, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Nobel Prize, performs with Anne Sofie von Otter before an illustrious audience of all the Nobel Prize winners, who have made their way to Stockholm for the event
2002 Appearances include Don Giovanni at Covent Garden, Falstaff at the Metropolitan Opera, Falstaff and Nick Shadow at the Bavarian State Opera, Lindorf/Coppelius/Dr. Miracle/Dapertutto in Les Contes d'Hoffmann at the Paris Opéra-Bastille, and Sondheim's Sweeney Todd (début) at the Chicago Lyric Opera; his Faenol Festival wins the Welsh Tourism Award as "Greatest Show in Wales - Event of the Year" (2001); CD release this year of arias by Wagner under Claudio Abbado (Prix Caecilia, 2003)
2003 DVD release "Bryn Terfel live in concert", songs and arias filmed live in concert at the Concertgebouw on 1 June 2002 in Amsterdam; recitals and concerts in Norway and Sweden; concert with Abbado at the Lucerne Festival; this year's Faenol Festival includes an opera gala with José Carreras; "Proms in the Park" concert in London's Hyde Park; Falstaff at Covent Garden and the Vienna State Opera; awarded a CBE for services to opera in the Queen's New Year Honours list; new Deutsche Grammophon CD recorded in March, with a broad range of songs and spirituals, arias and duets, featuring Sissel and Andrea Bocelli
2004 Plans for 2004 include further performances of Falstaff in Vienna, Jochanaan in Salome at the Metropolitan, and recitals in the US and Canada; his next recording featuring English songs by Benjamin Britten, John Ireland, Hubert Parry, Roger Quilter, Ralph Vaughan Williams, and others is scheduled for release in summer