WORKS: Three am; Two Pensive Songs; Toi et moi; Moresques; The Poetry of Dress; Prayers from the Ark
PERFORMER: Beryl Korman (soprano), Ian Partridge (tenor), Stephen Roberts (baritone), Jennifer Partridge (piano), David Campbell (clarinet); Sheherazade
CATALOGUE NO: URCD 160
Like that of many conservative post-war British composers, the concert music of Carey Blyton, born in 1932, the son of writer Enid, has been all but forgotten. Most of these songs span the period 1951-64. They are unselfconsciously sentimental, ooze a sense of ease in the composing, though sometimes
the choice of words is odd – Paul Geraldy’s collection Toi et moi is second-rate kitchen-sink platitudes – and, as in Wilde’s Symphony in Yellow, he fails to catch the right atmosphere. But I enjoyed the witty and poignant Prayers from the Ark, composed ten years later, his 1992 setting of what’s alleged to be the shortest known poem in the English language, ‘The Flea’, Op. 100 ½ (sic), and his G&S parody ‘Indigo Blues’, Op. 103 ½ purportedly composed in 1899 in a place called Hardh Pawncore.
Performances are varied. Top marks to tenor Ian Partridge, baritone Stephen Roberts and the clarinettist David Campbell. One or two fewer to the soprano Beryl Korman, and fewer still to the soprano Verona Chard (part of the harp, flute and soprano ensemble Sheherazade), who brings insufficient variety of colour and flexibility of phrase to proceedings. Jennifer Partridge, at the piano, is excellent. Stephen Pettitt