Ernest John (‘Jack’) Moeran (1894-1950) was the last major representative of the group of English composers who, in the first decade of the twentieth century, sought musical inspiration in the melodic beauty of traditional folksong. In addition to using folksong-related material in a number of his original works, Moeran also made many direct arrangements of folksongs he collected throughout his lifetime, principally in areas of East Anglia and the south-west of Ireland, including the twenty-five for solo voice and piano recorded here together for the first time. Included in the programme, which contains a number of première recordings, are Six Folksongs from Norfolk, Six Suffolk Folksongs, Songs from County Kerry, and a further six individual folksong arrangements. A première recording of Moeran’s earliest known and only recently discovered solo song, The North Sea Ground, provides an attractive and historically significant bonus to this delightful recital.
The 24-page booklet accompanying the album contains an essay on E.J. Moeran and Folksong by Roy Palmer of the English Folk Dance and Song Society, as well as an extended note by Ian Maxwell on his edition of The North Sea Ground. Full song texts are available for download (see above). The recording is released on the sixtieth anniversary of Moeran’s death on 1 December 1950.
"...you should get hold of this outstanding disc. It is not far short of a revelation...Both singers (the baritone has the lion’s share) are a pleasure to listen to...John Talbot is a wholly sympathetic accompanist...The resulting disc has a touch of alchemy about it...this beautiful collection..."
Piers Burton-Page - International Record Review
"Everything feels just right...an essential companion to the Moeran songs on Chandos (CHAN10596)...booklet is superbly done...your Moeran collection is incomplete without this disc."
Rob Barnett - MusicWeb-International.com
"...The artists perform these songs with affection and great distinction. The disc is a welcome companion to the 2CD set of the Complete Solo Songs of Moeran, released earlier this year on the Chandos label with most of the same artists."
Brian Blyth Daubney - BMS News
"Baritone Marcus Farnsworth, winner of the 2009 Wigmore Hall International Song Competition, has the lion’s share of duties and brings a most personable warmth, commitment and no little narrative flair to the task in hand (his enunciation, by the way, is admirable). Tenor Adrian Thompson possesses a less ingratiating timbre but there’s no denying his infectious ardour and idiomatic delivery. Moreover, that indefatigable champion of the composer, John Talbot, contributes consistently understanding and stylish accompaniments. Vividly truthful sound - and a special word of praise for Roy Palmer’s painstakingly researched annotation, which strikes me as a model of its kind... A job well done!"
Andrew Achenbach - Gramophone magazine