The Slipped Disc daily comfort zone (193): The loveliest English Lied?

Ivor Gurney’s Sleep.


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  • A truly beautiful song that ought to be heard much more often…the recordings don’t really do it justice – Baker’s comes closest….

  • Sublime renditions of a magical song. I would say that I enjoy the Peter Warlock version as much as the Gurney. Can we just reduce things down to one ‘loveliest ‘ English song? I don’t think so really . Very necessary to me would be the Finzi ‘ Oh fair to see’ song cycle, Britten’s Winter Words, not to mention Vaughan William’s Silent Noon.

  • Gurney’s ‘Sleep’ and Howells’s ‘King David’ are right up there with the great songs in any language. Personally I just love Gurney’s setting of Edward Thomas’s poem ‘Lights Out’.

  • Oh yes, it is unquestionably a wonderful song . You have not noted one of the loveliest performances, which is by Lynne Dawson

  • One of the greats for sure. I might argue for Butterworth’s “On the idle hills of Summer, Howells’ “King David”, or “Nocturne” from On this Island by Britten.

  • Certainly one of the very best, but there are so many others. Outside of the UK British song is seldom heard and rarely performed, instrumental music also. A group of us here in the Netherlands are promoting British Piano music and the overall reception of our first CD with the Frank Bridge Sonata has been one of shock, surprise and delight. British ‘classical’ music deserves much more recognition, there are genuine masterpieces to be found here that rival the ‘common’ list of great classical composers.

  • Rankings aside, I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Janet Bakers (unsurprinsingly) wonderful interpretation. Many thanks to other commenters for other songs to explore.
    Slipped Disc can be so good with postings like this.

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