Kathleen Ferrier - Bach Handel Arias

Published Tuesday 23rd September 2008
Kathleen Ferrier - Bach Handel Arias
Kathleen Ferrier - Bach Handel Arias

STYLE: Classical
RATING 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9
LABEL: Naxos 8111295

Reviewed by Steven Whitehead

The Naxos 'Great Singers' series showcases the performer although the songs selected are also significant and so we will mention them first. The two featured composers are J S Bach (1685-1750) and his contemporary George Frederic Handel (1685-1759). From Bach we get extracts from his Mass in B Minor, the St Matthew and St John Passions, and a full Cantata: "Praise Our God", Cantata No 11 (BWV 11). From Handel we have arias from 'Samson', 'Judas Maccabaeus' and 'Messiah'. Those who have any interest in baroque music will almost certainly have much of the content but, as we said, the real interest is in the performer. Kathleen Ferrier (1912-1953) was one of England's most popular singers during her all-too-brief career. The recordings on this disc were made between 1949 and 1952 with the London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Adrian Boult. Audiophiles will be interested to read the notes provided by Mark Obert-Thorn, the producer and restoration engineer. It has to be said that the final sound quality is less than perfect although nevertheless it is still perfectly listenable and the beauty of Ferrier's voice shines through. As ever with any Naxos release we are guaranteed value for money and even if you possess other recordings of the arias on this disc it is a worthwhile investment to hear such lovely singing.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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