Complete Songs For Voice And Piano vol.1 (2007)


Amanda Roocroft, Konrad Jarnot, Reinild Mees

Like most composers, Sir Edward Elgars first attempts at composition were with anthems and small chamber and piano pieces, though unlike most young composers of his day, strangely Elgar wrote few songs until his various love affairs from his mid-twenties onwards. Elgars early life as a composer was one of constantly importuning publishers to take small pieces - a situation that gradually changed in the 1890s as his early works for chorus and orchestra appeared. But it took Elgar a long time to become established, the Enigma Variations only appearing when he was 41. It is doubly interesting then to encounter so early a song as his setting of Edmund Waller, The Self-Banished, which dated from 1875 when he was just 18. It, of course, remained unpublished and unknown until recently when it was printed in the Elgar Collected Edition. In the present selection of Elgars songs we move on a dozen years for something more familiar, when the thirty-year old Elgar set Queen Marys Song, words by Tennyson. Written in June and July 1887 it was accepted by the London publishers Osborn & Tuckwood and revised for publication in 1889. It later became familiar when included by Elgar in the volume of Seven Lieder which the now celebrated composer published in 1907. In The Wind at Dawn the 30 year-old Elgar set words written by his future wife, (C. Alice Roberts it says on the printed copies), about a year before they were married. Alice was already a published poet and novelist, if a minor one. It was the first time he had set Alices verse. However, the musics tremendous character and impact was not fully revealed until he orchestrated it, in his most sumptuous mature manner, in July 1912. Here we have nothing less than what is, to all intents and purposes, a sixth Sea Picture.

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Amanda Roocroft

Amanda Roocroft has secured an international reputation as one of Britain's most exciting singers in opera, concert and recital. She graduated from the Royal Northern College of Music and studies with Barbara Robotham. In concert she has appeared with leading orchestras and conductors throughout Europe and North America. She has sung and recorded, with sir John Eliot Gardiner, the part of Fiordiligi in Mozart's Cosi fan tutte on compact disc and video and has also recorded Vaughan Williams' Pastoral Symphony with Bernard Haitink. She has appeared at the BBC Proms, including the 2001 season and the Edinburgh International Festival and she regularly sings at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and at the Glyndebourne Festival. Recently she has toured Japan with the Bayerische Staatsoper and Zubin Mehta and Europe with the Gustav Mahler Jugendorchester.

Reinild Mees

After extensive piano studies with Gérard van Blerk (Amsterdam), Malcolm Frager (USA) and Noël Lee (Paris) the Dutch pianist Reinild Mees concentrated her activities on accompanying singers and instrumentalists in recital. High-ranking artists as Elly Ameling, Gérard Souzay and Sandor Végh helped her refine and perfect her talents in this demanding métier.

Today Reinild Mees is a much sought-after accompanist for song recitals and duo concerts. She performs regularly in radio and television broadcasts. For Channel Classics Records she has recorded a number of interesting CD’s: The Complete Songs of Sir Edward Elgar, Ottorino Respighi, Franz Schreker and Karol Szymanowski. Currently she is recording all songcycles of Robert Schumann with the German baritone Jochen Kupfer, playing a historical grand piano from Schumann’s time. All of her CD’s have received extremely good reviews in Gramophone, Fono Forum, Musica, Luister and other magazines. In 2004 Reinild Mees won the Szymanowski - Award and the Medal 'Merit of Polish Culture' for her achievements in promoting the song repertoire of Karol Szymanowski. Recently the Szymanowski CD's won the FRYDERYK AWARD, the most prestigious music award in Poland for the best recording of Polish music in 2004.

As a vocal coach Reinild Mees has taught at the Amsterdam and Utrecht Conservatory, the European Centre for Opera and Vocal Art (Ghent) and the Opera Studio Nederland. In addition to accompanying masterclasses for Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Irmgard Seefried, Galina Vishnevskaja and other famous singers she played as an official accompanist for a number of international competitions. 

In order to promote the revival of the beautiful songs, mainly from the interbellum, which have been neglected after the Second World War, Reinild Mees founded the 20th Century Song Foundation. This foundation aims to bring back the musical treasure to the public by producing (semi-staged) song recitals with special themes: Spotlights concerts.

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Complete Songs For Voice And Piano vol.1 (2007)


Amanda Roocroft, Konrad Jarnot, Reinild Mees


De Duitse bariton Konrad Jarnot maakt over de hele linie grote indruk. Hij geeft met zijn uitmuntende bereik die liederen van Elgar, of het nu gaat om een vroeg lied of een later werk, een internationale allure die de liederen doen aansluiten bij het grote westerse liedrepertoire.


the performances are excellent ...Nothing is exaggerated, nothing treated with condescending irony, nothing pumped up into more than it is [Roocroft] sings with a fluent sense of rubatoand a seductive purity[Jarnot] is even more impressive, alert to the special flavor of each song in a way that gives this repertoire far more variety than it usually hasMees, a superlative accompanist, draws more than you might have thought possible from the piano reduction If you're interested in Elgar's songs, this is the place to start.

    BBC Music Magazine

Konrad Jarnot is mesmerising in the opening slumber and with noble tones from the pianist Reinild Mees he makes Elizabeth Barratt Browning's 'Sabbath morning at Sea' more persuasive than I've ever heard it. (...) Mees is clean and bright in the rather undistinguished piano parts, assisted by Channel Classic' full and natural l recital ambience.

    Opera News

the distribution of material between the soprano Amanda Roocroft and bariton Konrad Jarnot is well considered. Extraordinairy colourful, varied and powerfull playing by Reinild Mees. Jarnot too is an impressive artist, always driving the vocal line with firmly pointed and expressive handling if text and using a wide range of color and weight in his phrasing.

    Classics FM

a top release () (.) Roocroft steps over the traces of sentimentality associated with the songs to find refreshingly subtle vocal colours and shadings. Likewise Jarnot strikes the profoundly complex emotional heart of pieces often milked for surface pathos () (.) Eloquently matched by Mees's playing

    International Record Review

beautifully sung by Amanda Roocroft and Konrat Jarnot with his agreeable light baritone () () all the songs are accompanied with great sensitivity and musicianship by Reinild Mees (..)

    Musicweb international

This is a fascinating disc and I look forward to the remainder of the series. The performances are strong and convincing, both singers have fine diction and convey both the music and the text in a way, which is wholly admirable and necessary in this style of song. Reinild Mees makes a good accompanist with good feeling for the orchestral nature of Elgar's piano parts.


There is more to Edward Elgar's song output than Sea Pictures, as this disc, the first in a projected complete series, reminds us. That cycle appears here in a doubly unusual guise: with its original piano accompaniments and sung by a baritone. Konrad Jarnot, tonally firm and sensitive to the words, makes a good case for this version, and Reinild Mees's resourceful piano playing makes the usual orchestral finery seem almost superfluous. Amanda Roocroft, lyrical and perceptive in her interpretations, shares with Jarnot the remaining 15 songs on this disc, which take a selective journey from Victorian drawing-room balladeer to consummate late-Romantic melodist. ()


Channel Classics nous transporte au cur d'une personnalit attachante, bien loin des fulgurances orchestrales de ses uvres symphoniques. La soprano Amanda Roocroft et le baryton Konrad Jarnot se partagent, en alternance, des groupes de lieder, accompagns aves finesse par piano de Reinild Mees. Dans une belle prise de son en pur DSD respectant le naturel des timbres, cet enregistrement est un petit bijou.


eine umfassende Dokumentation des vllig unbekannten Elgar-Liedschaffens ist dies ein echt gelungener Anfang.


Sound and presentation are absolutely first-rate. All in all, an encouraging starts to what promises to be a fascination enterprise. Roll on, vol.2

    Fono Forum

Folge 1 der geplanten Gesamteinspielung bietet einen reprsentativen, nicht systematisch geordneten Querschnitt aus Elgars Liedschaffen. Mit von der Partie sind die Sea Pictures', die hier einmal in einer Klavierfassung und von einem Bariton zu hren sind. Konrad Jarnot macht seine Sache ziemlich gut. Er deklamiert die Texte genau und kann zu ihrer Gestaltung auch Dynamik und Farben angemessen einsetzen. Sein leicht tenoral timbrierter, auch im hohen Register rund klingender Bariton ist das eigentliche Ereignis dieser CD, und natrlich sein glnzendes hohes A am Ende von The Swimmer. Amanda Roocroft setzt Jarnots feiner Deklamation die Produktion wohlklingender Tne entgegen. In puncto Ausdruck schlgt sie jedenfalls zu viel ber denselben Leisten. Das klingt schn, wirkt aber auf Dauer monochrom. Zudem gert ihrer voluminsen Stimme leicht alles zur groen opernhaften Szene. Da bleibt der kammermusikalische Aspekt auf der Strecke.

een waar waagstuk dat Channel Classics het plan heeft opgevat alle liederen van Elgar op cd te zetten. () Als dan iedere snaar trilt, het ene aangrijpende beeld zich aan het andere rijgt en de liederen tevens grootse schilderingen zijn, is het aan de vocalist en zijn 'begeleider' (hier een volkomen onjuist begrip) om deze rijke aders los te beitelen en ze onopgesmukt te laten glinsteren. Als muziek al 'maniertjes' verdraagt, dan deze liederen in ieder geval niet. Roocroft en Jarnot scheppen lied na lied het unieke beeld zoals dat uit de muziek zelf voortkomt. De kracht van hun vertolkingen berust alleen op hetgeen Elgar voor hen heeft uitgespreid, ze kruipen als het ware in zijn expressie, zijn gevoelens, zoals de dichtregels hem daartoe hebben genspireerd. Gedrien hebben ze gekozen voor eenheid in grote verscheidenheid en dt maakt van ieder lied op deze cd een bijzondere, ontroerende gebeurtenis.

    Elgar Society Journal

Without doubt the recording is a triumph, and must certainly go the top of recommended recordings of the songs. Amanda Roocroft and Konrad Jarnot are excellent throughout, with impeccable diction, warmth of tone, and the sense that they believe in the songs, and so they emerge as much finer works than they have sometimes been thought to be.

Reinild Mees besticht am Klavier nun gerade durch ihre unaufdringliche Art des Spiels. Sie hlt sich im Hintergrund, ist so verlssliche Sttze der Snger. Diese sind sehr prominent und kompetent besetzt: Amanda Roocroft und Konrad Jarnot stellen sich, gleich ihrer Partnerin am Piano, vollends in den Dienst der Musik Elgars. Dadurch entstehen wunderbar anrhrende Momente, wie in 'There Are Seven That Pull The Thread', komponiert 1901: Ein uerst simples melodisches Muster, welches die Sopranstimme kaum ber den Ambitus einer Sprechstimme hinaus lsst, bildet die Grundlage einer fesselnden Schlichtheit. Es bleibt zu hoffen, dass die Reihe von Aufnahmen Elgar'scher Lieder tatschlich fortgefhrt und qualitativ an diese erste CD der Reihe angeknpft wird.

    Classics Today

This is a really pleasant recital that easily encourages repeated listening... Highlights include Sea Pictures--sung with authority and proper dramatic flair by baritone Konrad Jarnot--and the characterful, artful performances by soprano Amanda Roocroft in In the Moonlight and The Wind at Dawn. Both of these singers manage to deliver even the more parlor-ish songs in a manner that captures the music's essential emotional aspects and melodic features... It helps that the voices are so appealing, strong, and technically assured, with ideal timbre and character for this music... Highly recommended!"

    De Gelderlander

Prachtige opnamen van twintig Songs die een perfecte indruk van de liedkunst in laat-Victoriaanse Engeland schetsen, het smaakt naar mr. Veel mr.

    Financieel Dagblad

Verrukkelijk, deze ernstige, plechtstatige, pathetische muziek uit de jaren 1875-1910. Reinield Mees maakt echt werk van de meester die nauwelijks als liedercomponist bekendstaat. 'Native speakers' Roocroft en Jarnot zijn gedroomde interpreten.


Pas de doute, Elgar est entre de bonnes mains pour la suite de cette integrale, que l'on attend avec impatiebece. Comme on dit outre-Manche:


De vertolkingen zijn bijzonder verdienstelijk. Reinild Mees' richtinggevende begeleidigen staan garant voor karakter en houvast.

    Audiophile Audition

Elgar the songster should not go underestimated, as this lovely surround sound disc proves. I have been it written more than once that Elgar was not a very successful songwriter, this new release seeks to put those sorts of sentiments directly into the grave, Amanda Roocroft seems to ooze love for these works, as does Konrat Jarnot, and the pair will have quit a success on their hands with this series is brought to fruition.

Complete Songs For Voice And Piano vol.1 (2007)


Amanda Roocroft, Konrad Jarnot, Reinild Mees

Cables: van den Hul
Digital Converters: Meitner A/D DSD / Meitner DA
Mastering Engineer: Jared Sacks
Mastering Equipment: B&W 803 diamond series
Microphones: Bruel & Kjaer, Schoeps
Mixing Board: Rens Heijnis custom design
Producer: Jared Sacks
Recording Engineer: Jared Sacks
Recording Software: Pyramix bij Merging
Recording Type & Bit Rate: DSD64
Speakers: Audiolab, Holland

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27507: Complete Songs For Voice And Piano vol.1
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The Self-Banished
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Oh, Soft was the Song Op. 59 No. 3
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In Moonlight
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Pleading Op. 48 No. 1
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There Are Seven That Pull the Thread
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Twilight Op. 59 No. 6
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Sea Pictures - Sea Slumber-Song Op. 37 No. 1
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Sea Pictures - In Haven (Capri) Op. 37 No. 2
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Sea Pictures - Sabbath Morning at Sea Op. 37 No. 3
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Sea Pictures - Where Corals Lie Op. 37 No. 4
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Sea Pictures - The Swimmer Op. 37 No. 5
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The Wind at Dawn
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In the Dawn Op. 41 No. 1
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Speak, Music! Op. 41 No. 2
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Dry Those Fair, Those Crystal Eyes
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Always and Everywhere
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Like to the Damask Rose
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Queen Mary?s Song
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A Song of Autumn
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Come, Gentle Night
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