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CHAN 5043
    2 Ratings
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CHAN 5043

Stanford: Songs of the Fleet/ Songs of the Sea/A Ballad of the Fleet

The Classical Shop
release date: May 2006

Originally recorded in 2005


BBC National Orchestra of Wales

Richard Hickox

Gerald Finley


BBC National Chorus of Wales


Brangwyn Hall, Swansea


Brian Couzens


Ralph Couzens

Michael Common


Record Label



Vocal & Song

Total Time - 68:17
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Songs of the Fleet, Op. 117*

  for Baritone Solo, Chorus and Orchestra  
1 I Sailing at Dawn. Andante molto tranquillo 4:20
2 II The Song of the Sou'Wester. Allegro non troppo, ma con fuoco 3:12
3 III The Middle-Watch. Andante molto tranquillo 7:42
4 IV The Little Admiral. Allegro vivace - Poco meno mosso - 3:41
5 V Fare Well. Quasi adagio - Poco più mosso - 6:09

The Revenge: A Ballad of the Fleet, Op. 24

  for Chorus and Orchestra  
6 I At Flores in the Azores. Allegro giusto e pesante - 4:10
  Then spake Sir Richard Grenville -  
  So Lord Howard pass'd away. Un poco più lento -  
7 IV He had only a hundred seamen: Andante sostenuto - 1:35
  'Shall we fight or shall we fly?. . .' Poco più mosso -  
  And Sir Richard said again. Tempo I (Allegro giusto) -  
8 V Sir Richard spoke and he laugh'd. Allegretto con moto - 6:05
  Thousands of their soldiers look'd down -  
  And while now the great San Philip. Adagio molto -  
  And the battle-thunder broke. Allegro con fuoco -  
  But anon the great Sn Philip -  
  And the sun went down -  
  Ship after ship, the whole night long.  
  Allegro con fuoco -  
  For he said: 'Fight on! fight on! Con fuoco -  
9 XI And the night went down. 4:47
  Allegro tranquillo ma con moto -  
  And we had not fought them in vain. Più mosso -  
  But Sir Richard cried in his English pride.  
  Allegro giusto -  
  And the gunner said: 'Ay, ay'. Andante sostenuto -  
  And the lion there lay dying. Adagio molto -  
10 XIII And the stately Spanish men. Allegretto maestoso - 4:43
  But he rose upon their decks. Allegro giusto -  
  'I have fought for Queen and Faith. . .' Molto maestoso -  
  '. . .With a joyful spirit I Sir Richard Grenville die!'  
  Più lento -  
  And they stared at the dead -  
11 But they sank his body with honour down. 3:56
  Allegretto maestoso -  
  When a wind from the lands. Allegro moderato -  
  Till it smote on their hulls. Più allegro e con fuoco -  
  And the little Revenge herself went down.  
  Molto moderato e tranquillo  

Songs of the Sea, Op. 91*

  for Baritone, Chorus and Orchestra  
12 1 Drake's Drum. Tempo di marcia moderato - 3:12
13 2 Outward bound. Andante espressivo 3:14
14 3 Devon, O Devon, in wind and rain. Allegro molto 1:44
15 4 Homeward bound. Andante tranquillo - Più lento 6:41
16 5 The Old Superb. Allegro molto - Presto 3:06
  Also available as SACD CHSA 5043
No Notes Found.

"Stanford’s sea songs are magnificently sung here by Gerald Finley, with splendid support from chorus and orchestra under Richard Hickox."

Sunday Telegraph

For a moment I even wondered if Hickox was finding more in this music than is really there; but no, perish the thought, for this recording is a triumph for him, for the glorious-voiced Finley, who sings without a trace of condescension or disdain, and for the absolutely splendid Welsh chorus, which is magnificent throughout… Add to all this a superb note by Jeremy Dibble… full English texts, and outstanding Brangwyn Hall sound, and the result is an outstanding Naval Victory to add to Trafalgar and all the rest.
International Record Review

Singing Stanford song cycles is no way to court wide popularity though Gerald Finley deserves just that with his sonorous baritone and sensitive musicianship. His intuitive feeling for a score’s inner life reaps manifold rewards in his fine accounts of Songs of the Sea and Songs of the Fleet. Richard Hickox conducts the BBC National Chorus and Orchestra of Wales, both very rousing, and I’m joining the navy immediately.
The Times

The choral singing is splendid throughout, with the BBC National Chorus of Wales clearly loving the bluster and heroism of ‘The Revenge’, while the orchestra provide characterful emphatic support. The Brangwyn hall recording captures everything with great vividness and warmth.
The Telegraph Classical CD of the Week

Classical CD of the Week
Sunday Times

With its quasi-operatic characterisations and dramatic retelling of the story of Richard Grenville’s heroic battle against the Spanish fleet in 1591, however, it’s easy to see why The Revenge was such a huge success across Britain after its first performance in 1886. Stanford’s orchestration is deft too, even though it is short on memorable invention when heard alongside the two song-cycles. They are the real reason to buy the disc.
The Guardian

Gerald Finley’s firmly focussed, ringing tone is a joy. He doesn’t possess the salty tang of Benjamin Luxon, but the voice is steadier and he sings with unfailing ardour, intelligence and sensitivity. Hickox and his BBC Welsh forces provide exemplary support.
Gramophone Record of the Month

This [EMI’s] is a grand, idiomatic account… is outclassed by this new Chandos SACD, which has impressive presence.
BBC Music Magazine

Now remembered primarily for his church music, Stanford’s rampant patriotism shines through in these lusty songs very popular in their day, redeemed from period archness by Finley’s gusto, the powerful BBC chorus, and the evident enthusiasm of conductor Richard Hickox.

Classic FM Magazine

Elgar’s Second Symphony blossoms in the hands of Richard Hickox and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales
Classic FM Magazine ‘Disc of the Month’ on CHSA 5038

Très bel album et sans réel équivalent dans la discographie.
Diapason (France)

Stanford’s rediscovery is well deserved, and Chandos can be thanked for adding to the momentum. Now if you don’t mind, I really want to listen to this again
American Record Guide

Gramophone Awards 2006 ‘Editor’s Choice’ and 'Best Choral'

Excellente prise de son, somptueuse et precise.

Richard Hickox’s studio recording certainly deserves a place in that select band. The Chandos sound is glorious and the orchestral playing first rate – on form the BBC National Orchestra of Wales is a match for any of the corporation’s other orchestras around the country – and Hickox’s performance has the sense of carefully moulded ebb and flow that the Second Symphony requires.
The Guardian on CHSA 5038

Superb performance and sonic quality. The music evokes sentiments of days of glory at sea.
G Velan

M Lace