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Simple Gifts: Bryn Terfel [& Friends] (CD) DG 2005

Simple Gifts: Bryn Terfel (& friends) CD



Best Classical Crossover Album’ at the 2006 Annual Grammy Awards

Composers: Pergolesi, Mozart, Rutter, Franck, Jenkins
Conductor Barry Wordsworth
Bryn Terfel (baritone)
Simon Keenlyside (baritone)
Aled Jones (tenor)
John Williams (guitar)
London Voices (Chorus Master: Terry Edwards)
London Symphony Orchestra
Label Deutsches Grammophon
Code CD 00289 477 5563 / CD 00289 477 5919 (UK Version)
Released 10 October 2005
Number of discs 1

Track Listing

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
1. Ave verum corpus: BT with London Voices

Trad. American
2. Deep River: BT with London Voices

John Rutter
3. The Lord Bless You and Keep You: BT with London Voices

Alan Murray
4. I’ll walk beside you: BT

Giovanni Battista Pergolesi
5. Stabat Mater dolorosa: BT with Simon Keenlyside

Trad. Austrian
6. Still, still, still: BT with London Voices

Trad. American
7. Simple Gifts: BT

Trad. Swedish
8. How great thou art: BT with London Voices

César Franck
9. Panis angelicus: BT with Aled Jones

May H. Brahe
10. Bless this house: BT

Karl Jenkins
11. Ave verum corpus: BT with Simon Keenlyside

Stanley Myers
12. She was beautiful (Cavatina): BT with John Williams

Amanda McBroom
13. The Rose: BT with London Voices

James P. Carrell & David S. Clayton
14. Amazing Grace: BT

W. S. Gwynn Williams
15. Mae ehangder (God’s Mercy): BT

Trad. Gaelic
16. Morning has broken: BT

Lowell Mason
17. Nearer My God to Thee: BT

J. S. Bach / C.-F. Gounod
18. Ave Maria: BT

Stephen Sondheim
19. Send in the clowns: BT

William G. Tomer
20. God be with you: BT with London Voice

Bryn Terfel talking to Mark Lawson on BBC Radio 4 Front Row, 28 November 2005 about choosing the tracks in Simple Gifts.

“I threw the gauntlet down and I said to Deutsche Grammophone ‘if you want another one of these, you pick the list that you think would be important for this other disc’ and so 70 songs were whittled down to 23 songs …”“…and then certain things had to be important for me like hymns like ‘How Great Thou Art’. There is also a WS Gwyn Williams song from Wales – WS Gwyn Williams was the founder of the Llangollin International Eisteddfod – so you know, you repay something. I thought Simon Keenlyside was a wonderful performer from Britain, who has perhaps been forgotten in the recording industry. We sang a Pergolesi duet which is usually sung by a mezzo and a soprano, but it boils down to Classic FM listeners think it’s one of the top 10 pieces they love to listen to, so why shouldn’t we react to that. I think we would be silly not to.”

Simon and Bryn singing Ave verum corpus by Karl Jenkins

What the critics say

From the November issue of Classic FM Magazine

“The latest, Simple Gifts, a sequel to the huge-selling Bryn (550,000 copies in the UK alone), is another selection of classical, pop and hymn tunes that shows off the versatility of his glorious voice. He’s joined by countryman Aled Jones, guitarist John Williams and superb English baritone Simon Keenlyside. The audacity of Bryn and Simon’s duet of the opening of Pergolesi’s Stabat mater, originally written for soprano and alto, has to be heard to be believed. The effect is thrilling – Bryn’s chocolatey bass-baritone weaves in and out of Simon’s caramel baritone and, as their voices climb together, the orchestra swoons behind them. Pergolesi probably would have loved it.”

Karen Price, October 7 2005. From icWales, the national website of Wales.

Bass baritone Bryn tells Karen Price about each track on his disc, Simple Gifts [excerpts]

5 Stabat Mater Dolorosa

I wanted the chance to bring some friends onto this album. This song usually makes the top 10 when voted for by Classic FM listeners. It’s a duet usually sung by two females but we wanted to try it with a bass and a bass baritone. It was a wonderful chance to invite one of Britain’s most exciting baritones Simon Keenlyside to sing with me and I think it worked.

11 Ave Verum Corpus

I sang the piece Karl Jenkins was commissioned to write for the opening of the Wales Millennium Centre so at the end of that wonderful opening gala I asked Karl if he could write a song for my album. He came up with this and I brought along Simon (Keenlyside) to sing the duet with me. Karl is one of Wales’ most prolific composers – he’s a gentleman and a scholar. It’s a privilege to have this on my disc.

Geoff Brown for The Times, 14th October 2005

Four star rating ****

“ Just occasionally, too, Terfel goes very close to the edge: the swelling emotions in the clip from Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, on which he duets with Simon Keenlyside, become almost grotesque.”

Anthony Holden for the Observer, October 9, 2005

Our Bryn has a beautiful, versatile voice and is entitled to do with it what he pleases. Fresh from his Royal Opera triumph as Wagner’s Wotan, he has chosen to go ‘crossover’ again in an album ranging from Bach to Sondheim, Mozart to Karl Jenkins, which will delight the Classic FM audience. Joining forces with fellow countryman Aled Jones on ‘Panis Angelicus’, guitarist John Williams on the cavatina from The Deer Hunter and his fellow baritone Simon Keenlyside in Pergolesi and Jenkins, Bryn brings his mellifluous yet restrained, unflashy best to songs classical and popular, secular and religious, folk and show, even essaying Sondheim’s ‘Send in the Clowns’ in a collection taking its title from a Shaker hymn.

Ben Hogwood for MusicOMH

“More effective are the two collaborations with fellow baritone Simon Keenlyside, and in particular the opening of Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater, a breath of fresh air with its taut LSO string sound and wonderful vocal interaction.”

Alfredo López-Vivié Palencia for Mundo Clasico

¿El Stabat Mater de Pergolesi con dos barítonos? Porqué no: Simon Keenlyside es un artistazo y su voz empasta bien con la de Terfel, y lo vuelve a demostrar en el citado Ave Verum de Jenkins.

Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater with two baritones ? Why not: Simon Keenlyside is a great artist and his voice mixes well with Terfel’s which he demonstrates again in the Ave verum by Jenkins mentions above.

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