Peter Morrison "The Yeomen of England"
Accompanied by the Ambrosian Chorus and the Chandos Concert Orchestra, Morrison sings this beloved favourite from Merrie England. Morrison sings it splendidly, and the orchestra plays it perfectly. I felt the chorus was a little too shouty at times but they seem to back off a bit for the second verse. Easily among the best of the individual songs from the opera.
Details: "The Yeomen of England" - Peter Morrison & the Ambrosian Chorus acc. by The Chandos Concert Orchestra conducted by Stuart Barry (a.k.a. Barry Knight)
(from "Treasures of Operetta II" 1987 Chandos Records - CD - cat. no. CHAN 8561
reissued on "Treasures of Operetta" 2004 Chandos Records - 2CD set - cat. no. CHAN 6689(2)
Gwen Catley "Letter Song"
I found this recording to be annoying, in that there is too much ritardando throughout the song, and Catley seems strained to reach the upper notes. The strings sound artificial in places, particularly toward the end. This would not be my first or even second choice if I wanted to hear just this song.
Details: Letter Song (Merrie England) - Gwen Catley acc. by The Pro Arte Orchestra conducted by Stanford Robinson
(from "My Choice - Gwen Catley" c.1958 Pye Records - 45 rpm EP - cat. no. ?
reissued on "Memories of the Musicals - Gwen Catley" 1999 Dutton Laboratories - CD - cat. no. CDLX 7039
Joan Sutherland "For to-night" from Tom Jones
Sutherland sings this song beautifully, although she hangs on to some high notes a little longer than necessary. The tempo never sags, as I've heard done on other recordings; in fact, it seems to gain to speed as goes on. Sutherland even adds a top D at the very end of the song, which makes for a nice surprise
Details: Waltz Song - "For Tonight" - Joan Sutherland acc. by New Philharmonia Orchestra conducted by Richard Bonynge
(from "Love Live Forever" 1967 Decca Record Co. - 2LP set - cat. no. ?
reissued in 1998 Decca Record Co. - 2CD set - cat. no. 452 955-2)
Richard Tauber "The English Rose"
Tauber's performance of the beloved "English Rose" uses a lot of parlando and portemento, giving him a more baritonic sound than a tenor one. The orchestra is quite good, and employs a harp in places throughout. Tauber also performs the dotted 8-16th notes as double-dotted 8ths and 32nd notes. This song would be acceptable, except that he adds an inauthentic, un-German ending to the song. He also does not take the top B-flat in the second verse, opting for the lower one instead, suggesting that he is, in fact, a baritone.
Details: "The English Rose" - Richard Tauber with orchestral accompaniment
(recorded April 1939, originally issued by Parlophone Records - (10" - 78 rpm) - cat. no.?
reissued on "Richard Tauber - The Golden Years" 1991 ABC Music (Australia) - CD - cat. no. 434 660-2
also reissued on "Richard Tauber - Intermezzo" 2005 Vocalion - CD - cat. no. CDVS 1910)
Another fine performance of the patriotic aria, though Dawson sings it in C instead of D. He also performs the same business as Lytton does in his recording of the song. ("And Spaniards and Dutchmen/And Frenchmen and such men" instead of what's in the score.) There is no chorus, which can be safely omitted for soloists, and percussion is entirely eliminated. Dawson makes a rare slipup toward the very end where he is not in perfect time with the orchestra. Additionally, he does not give the final words "Shall they ever thrive" as the other recordings of the song do - the orchestra just finishes it up for him.
Details: "The Yeomen of England" - Peter Dawson with orch. acc.
(recorded April 26th 1929 - originally issued by H.M.V. (10" - 78 rpm): cat. no. B-3111
reissued on "The Sounds of England" 1992 EMI - Music for Pleasure 2CD, etc.)
Webster Booth "The English Rose"
This recording of the song is among the best I've heard. There are virtually no musical liberties, the singing is not excruciating, and the tempo is pretty even. The only thing I would complain about is the nasty reverb on the recording, which appears to have been an engineering flaw from the time of the take.
Details: "The English Rose" - Webster Booth with orchestra conducted by Clifford Greenwood
(recorded July 1939 - originally issued by H.M.V. (10" - 78 rpm): (Mat. no. OEA 8027) - cat. no. B 8947
reissued on "Sir Edward German" 1993 Pearl - Pavilion Records CD, etc.)