Chester Duncan: a Tribute

product thumb

Price: $20.98

Audio Samples: 
Longing (1,632.86 kb)
This feature requires the flash player plugin

To Musick (1,632.86 kb)
This feature requires the flash player plugin

Call Number: CD 776
Media Type: CD
Year of Release: 2002
Record Label: Cana Brava

During a composition career spanning more than 60 years, Chester Duncan became unarguably one of the twentieth century's supreme exponents of English art-song. Largely dedicating himself to this genre of composition, Chester wrote more than 150 songs in which poetry of the highest quality is matched by music of subtlety and great beauty.

This disc represents a project, begun during the composer's lifetime, to record some of his finest work on a CD of professional quality. It inadvertently became a posthumous tribute, following his death on March 31, 2002.

The composer himself chose the songs, and the singers that he wished to interpret them; Mel Braun, Rachael Harwood-Jones, Karen Jensen, Heulwen Jones, John Martens, Henriette Schellenberg and Phyllis Thomson. Some of them are the dedicatees of songs included here, most had the opportunity to work with Chester during their preparation for the recordings; and he attended 4 of the 7 sessions in the studio. Laurie Duncan, son of the composer, is the outstanding and sensitive accompanist. These interpretations therefore have a definitive quality, and this CD, recorded in Winnipeg between September 2001 and June 2002 is a uniquely authentic musical document.

The selection of material turns out to have an elegaic quality, and the first song "To Musick" is the key to understanding the composer's intention in compiling this cycle the way he did. Although what follows is where Tygers and fierce storms of lost loves, and prisons, and desertions and deaths are, it is musick which tamest them and which holds the key to charme soules. This was Chesters gift, and this is his story.

Keith Davies Jones

1. To Musick: A Song

poem by Robert Herrick

2. Sigh no more, ladies

poem by William Shakespeare

3. A Death in the Opposite House

poem by Emily Dickinson

4. The Beauty of Miss Beatty

poem byJames Reaney

5. Farewell to Julliet

poem by Hillaire Belloc

6. Longing

poem by Matthew Arnold

7. Saturday and Sunday

poem by George Barker

8. From the Hazel Bough

poem by Earle Birney

9. Darkening

poem by Emily Bronte

10. Girl's Song

poem by W. B. Yeats

11. To You Simply

poem by W. H. Auden

12. To Antheus

poem by Robert Herrick

13. Autobiography

poem by Louis MacNeice

14. Sea Bells

poem by Miriam Waddington

15. To Daffodills

poem by Robert Herrick

16. The Bower

poem by Miriam Waddington

17. Funeral Blues poem by W. H. Auden

18. Rachel's Grief poem by W. H. Auden

19. by the red poem by Dennis Cooley

20. Cradle Song poem by W.B. Yeats

21. Bereft Child's First Night poem by Frances Bellerby

22. Tragedy at Meadow Lea Anon. Old Irish Air, arr.

23. To the Willow-tree poem by Robert Herrick

24. Bredon Hill poem by A. E. Housman

Suggest a Correction or Addition for this Product Record