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The Ballad Singer


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Audio CD, June 14, 2011
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Product Details

  • Performer: Gerald Finley, Julius Drake
  • Conductor: None
  • Composer: Beethoven, Brahms, Emanuel, Loewe, Mahler, et al.
  • Audio CD (June 14, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Hyperion
  • ASIN: B004V4GXYI
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #81,084 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Aus Goethes Faust (Beethoven)
2. Edward (Loewe)
3. Die wandelnde Glocke (Loewe)
4. Erlkonig (Schubert)
5. Die Lowenbraut (Schumann)
6. Der Schatzgraber (Schumann)
7. Es war ein Markgraf uberm Rhein (Brahms)
8. Der Feuerreiter (Wolf)
9. Wo die schonen Trompeten blasen (Mahler)
10. La belle dame sans merci (Stanford)
11. Lord Randall (Trad. arranged Cyril Scott)
12. The Lost Chord (Sullivan)
13. The Desert (Emanuel)
14. The Tale of the Oyster (Cole Porter)

Editorial Reviews

This latest release from the award-winning partnership of Gerald Finley and Julius Drake features the ballad a literary and musical form that inspired the greatest voices of German Romanticism. This disc contains some of the greatest examples of the form, including Schubert s Erlkönig, as well as some fascinating and lesser-known works. Gerald Finley s unrivalled gift for characterization and story telling makes him the ideal performer of these works.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Edgar Self on August 2, 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
What to admire more here? The superb pianist Julian Drake, right from the first note of Beethoven's "Faust" ballad? The magnificent Gerald Finley, with ideal German and English diction, and an "Edward" ballad by Carl Loewe t0 take its place with Hans Hotter's classic? Hugo Wolf's "Feuerreiter" actually sung, not shouted? And an imaginative program extending to Stanford, Arthur Sullivan, and a surprisingly virtuosic Cole Porter? Easily a favorite vocal CD so far this year. Gerald Finley is a treasure whose Barber songs, Charles Ives, Schumann, and opera arias in English all are first rate. His older CBC record of Vaughan Williams's "Songs of Travel" is worth a search to find. What will he ... what won't he ... do next?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By cdgray on September 2, 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The CD contains ballad related theme items which are all done with panache. Loewe's EDWARD seems on the slow side occasionally, but is done with such obvious conviction that it is successful. The variety of material finds Mr. Finley's voice in fine shape, with an abundance of poetic understanding and a gift for nuance. Mr. Drake's accompaniment of Wolf's DER FEUERREITER is akin to solo pianistic prowess. It is a stunning offering from both artists.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ronald Haak on October 1, 2013
Format: Audio CD
This is a concert duo perfectly suited to the spirit, drama and historical provenence of the programme. What we hope for, in addition to the performers' credentials, is emotional sympathy with the very special world of ballads. This emotional identification is rare and cannot be taught. Here, the duo's oneness with the music is evident from the opening bars and continues unabated for a generous 71". We can be grateful the performances are unerring in their taste. Portentious drama + urgent atmosphere are abundant. Most intriguing to me (and frustrating!) is The Lost Chord, here delivered as the sclerotic, defeated musings of an old man in one of Beckett's no-exit plays. I always expect to hear a robust man demanding to rediscover that chord NOW & frantically desperate to bang his way back to what he had a few minutes ago. But ignore this one quibble. There's every reason to be very pleased with Gerald Finley's robust dramatizations and Julius Drake's ominous rumblings at the keyboard providing what makes the genre of ballads special. Soft, tender moments are tastefully rendered. I return to this rewarding album often with unabated satisfaction.
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6 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 26, 2011
Format: Audio CD
As the cover of this recoding indicates, a balladeer or minstrel in history was one who wandered the land telling stories through song. Many composers have written works that would easily fall into this category - Mahler especially and all of the lieder of Hugo Wolf, Schumann etc. The ideal singer of ballads or lieder in this ilk is the performer who presents this recital - Gerald Finney, who is once again joined by his collaborator Julius Drake at the piano. The quality of singing and playing is without fault here, but there is something awry with the concept of placing the compositions by such a variety of composers on the same program.

The recital opens well enough with Beethoven's witty 'Song of the Flea' form Goethe's 'Faust' and includes such well known songs as Schubert's 'Erlkonig', and Mahler's 'Wo die schonen Trompeten blasen', and Wolf's 'Der Feuerreiter' - stories to tell musically. But then there are strange inclusions such as the idiomatic Brahms' 'Es war ein Markgraf uberm Rhein' - a rather dreary attempt by the composer, as well as inclusions of Arthur Sullivan's 'The Lost Chord', Cole Porter's rather fluffy 'The Tale of the Oyster', and Carl Loewe's 'Edward' that just seem out of place in the context of the other works and especially in the context of the history of tasteful programming for which both Gerald Finney and Julius Drake are known.

The performances vary from superb to lackluster - a disappointment for the public who is willing to forgive many flaws. When so many sopranos and mezzo-sopranos are able to assemble recitals such as this without dipping into secondary works, then it is a plausible concept to have a themed recital. This one just needed more time and thought. Grady Harp, October 11
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