MY OWN COUNTRY An English Song Collection. Felicity Lott, Graham Johnson. Champs Hill Records

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My Own Country An English Graham Johnson Champs Hill Records

MY OWN COUNTRY

An English Song Collection

Felicity Lott, soprano

Graham Johnson, piano

Felicity Lott brings her delicacy and rich understanding to a collection of English song inspired by the idyllic Sussex countryside.

“A lovingly planned programme by Graham Johnson, beautifully sung by Dame Felicity” Gramophone

The Englishness typified here is not derived from one unique musical style; rather from each composer’s response to the texts. Graham Johnson groups together songs under headings Country Courtship. . . To Music. . . . Love’s Philosophy. . . . Country Scenes. . . . Night & Dawn. . . .Children’s Corner’ . . . and Envoys on this charming – and occasionally surprising - disc.

It includes songs by Quilter, Elgar, Parry, Ireland, Bax and Holst. The Elgar songs Speak Music and In Moonlight (included under the heading ‘To Music’) remind us that the paradigm of Englishness Elgar cultivated was more to do with his association with ‘Pomp and Circumstance’ than necessarily musical matters. As part of ‘Country Scenes’, Bridge’s jolly Go Not, Happy Day gives nothing away about its year of publication, 1916, and the scars which led to later music of a more sombre tone.

Also included are a selection of Harold Fraser-Simpson’s songs based on verses from A.A. Milne’s The Hums of Pooh, and settings by Liza Lehmann - the Edwardian English operatic soprano – including Matilda from ‘Four Cautionary Tales’ by Hillaire Belloc, a duet with both parts taken by Felicity Lott.

The CD takes its title from Peter Warlock’s setting of another Belloc text - My Own Country.

Dame Felicity Lott lives in Sussex and was the very first artist to perform in the Music Room at Champs Hill. In 2005 she and Graham Johnson returned there to mark the 30th anniversary of her Wigmore debut with this programme.

Champs Hill Records CHRCD024

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