Ives: Songs: Romanzo (di Central Park); Down East; In Flanders Fields; The Circus Band; They are There!; The South Wind etc

COMPOSERS: Ives
LABELS: Hyperion
ALBUM TITLE: Ives
WORKS: Songs: Romanzo (di Central Park); Down East; In Flanders Fields; The Circus Band; They are There!; The South Wind etc
CATALOGUE NO: Hyperion CDA 67644
Reviewing the first Ives anthology by Gerald Finley and Julius Drake in September 2005, I noted with pleasure that the selection left ‘plenty of first-rate material for at least one companion disc’. Now here is a second volume, ranging from Ives’s earliest surviving song – a requiem for a family cat incorporating Handel quotations – to the profound ‘Evening’ written just in time for inclusion in his 1922 publication of 114 Songs. There are favourites such as ‘The See’r’ and ‘At the River’, alongside many less familiar numbers. And Magnus Johnston’s violin brings a variety of colouring to the wartime song ‘They are There!’ and the title song, ‘Romanzo di Central Park’, a gleeful parody of the sentimental arias penned >by Victor Herbert. few quibbles: the second half of ‘The Circus Band’ is too slow to capture the intended swing of a Sousa quick march; the mystic ‘Premonitions’ seems to get too loud too soon; the early ‘Christmas Carol’ has rests of a half-bar here instead of a full bar. But these are not significant enough for me to withhold any stars from a disc that’s outstandingly well sung and played, equally well recorded, and highly recommendable to all lovers of fine songs and fine singing.

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