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CD Review

John Jeffreys

English Songs

  • Awake thee, my Bessy
  • All night under the Moon
  • Black Stichel
  • Brown is my love
  • Corpus Christi
  • Drop, drop slow tears
  • The Falcon
  • The Far Country
  • From Omiecourt
  • Full fathom five
  • Horror follows horror
  • I am the gilly of Christ
  • Jillian of Berry
  • Little trotty wagtail
  • mistress mine
  • my dere hert
  • Passing by
  • The Salley Gardens
  • Severn Meadows
  • She is all so slight
  • She is ever for the new
  • The Song of Love
  • Three roses
  • Under the leavès green
  • When that I was
  • The Whin
James Gilchrist, tenor
Arthur Tilbrook, piano
Divine Art DDA25049 70m DDD
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Born in 1927, John Jeffreys has a vast array of compositions to his name. These include works for full orchestra, chamber music, solo piano pieces and several choral miniatures, but ever since the beginning of his career, Jeffreys was always strongly drawn towards the song medium.

He is regarded as belonging to the generation that followed Warlock, Moeran and Finzi but the dominant influence seems to be Warlock and his profound attraction to Elizabethan music. As for texts, the composer found inspiration from a variety of authors such as Shakespeare, Fletcher and Herrick among the Elizabethans and Yeats, Housman, Gibson and Ivor Gurney among the early 20th century poets.

Jeffreys also harbours a particular fascination for poems written by unknown authors, and on many an occasion he has set the same poem a number of times, attempting to capture all the hidden nuances of these texts.

All songs are a joy to hear throughout and each contains its own message in occasionally powerful but never short of expressive touch. All in all, a fine tribute to one of Britain's last living composers of song.

Copyright © 2007, Gerald Fenech