ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Jane Manning
WORKS: Don’t Let That Horse; In a Walled Garden; Poems of Wallace Stevens II; Farewell Already: Peroration;Adlestrop; Beastly Jingles
PERFORMER: Jane Manning (soprano)Jane’s Minstrels/Roger Montgomery
CATALOGUE NO: D025 DDD
Jane Manning does it again on behalf of her composer compatriots. We don’t hear as much of her as we used to, despite the advent of her Minstrels, who here offer excellent support. OK, so the wobble in the voice is a little more pronounced, the tone by no means always beautiful. But anyone who thinks she can no longer pitch straight and damnably true should sample the word ‘Ohoo’ in the final song of Justin Connolly’s Poems of Wallace Stevens II.
The Connolly typifies probably the most important dimension of Manning’s thirty-year enterprise in its fastidiously Modernist response to words of impeccably Modernist persuasion; Brian Elias’s Peroration demonstrates her versatility and agility via even more uncompromising means. In very different ways, In a Walled Garden by Peter Paul Nash and Farewell Already by Alison Bauld both filter through the old. Judith Weir’s Don’t Let That Horse provides a vivacious opening, Anthony Gilbert’s Beastly Jingles an amiably eccentric close; Anthony Payne, Manning’s husband, wrote Adlestrop, evocative of the English pastoral tradition, for her fiftieth birthday. Nothing here by anyone under forty, and nothing really recent: that wouldn’t have happened in the old days. But an apt celebration of both this singer and her songs. Keith Potter