One of the most grown-up review sites around

51,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger             Editor in Chief: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider


Reger Violin Sonatas
Renate Eggebrecht violin

Brahms Symphony 3
Dvorak Symphony 8
9 cello sonatas
Piano Music

Clara Schumann
piano concerto

Asmik Grigorian

Breathtaking Performance
controversial staging
Review Westbrook
Review Hedley
Every lover of Salome should see this recording
Mullenger interpretation

Vraiment magnifique!

Quite splendid

Winning performances

Mahler Symphony 8
a magnificent disc

a huge talent

A wonderful disc

Weinberg Symphonies 2 & 21
A handsome tribute!

Roth’s finest Mahler yet

Mahler 9 Blomstedt
Distinguished performance


REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Support us financially by purchasing this from

Great British Tenors

Gavin Dixon’s brief but interesting notes to this disc define the distinctive qualities of the British tenor as being “firm yet elegant tone, emphasis on text and on clarity of diction”. That is probably a good starting point although the voices of the twenty tenors included here differ greatly in the individual character of their voices. There is a big surprise for anyone who thinks of British tenors of the earlier part of the last century as being weedy or undramatic. Walter Hyde, Frank Mullings, Tudor Davies and Walter Widdop in particular had large but well controlled — perhaps less so in the case of Mullings — voices. Widdop for instance makes much of “Yes! Let me like a soldier fall” which can sound simply ridiculous in the hands of the kind of light-voiced singers who too often attempt it. Hyde’s Wagner could rival most Siegmunds of the period apart from Melchior and Mullings is dramatic almost to a fault in “On with the motley”.

Most of the tenors represented here have lighter voices but like almost the whole group the main characteristic is their ability to enunciate and make use of the words. Only the two Schubert songs sung by Peter Pears are not in English and it would perhaps have been better to have chosen examples of his very individual way of singing in his native language. The earlier singers included also have a very individual way with language, although in their case a manner reminiscent of actors and politicians of that period may put some listeners off. It is worth persevering, however, as this style makes the most of English songs of this period, and it should be remembered that Gervase Elwes was a close friend of Roger Quilter, two of whose songs are included here.

The choice of music included is imaginative, including operatic extracts in translation and songs by Warlock, Coleridge-Taylor and Liza Lehmann. The re-mastering is convincing and the notes are good . All in all this is worth having even if you already have earlier collections of British singers of this period issued by Dutton and others. If you do not have those discs this is even more worth having as an introduction to styles of singing that regrettably now seem to be largely lost. These days, too many singers seem to rely on surtitles for audiences to understand what is being sung.

John Sheppard

Contents (tenor and recording date listed first)
Ben Davies (1913) - Maude Valerie WHITE (1855-1937) To Mary [2:35]
John Coates (1928) - Henry PURCELL (1659-1695) The Knotting Song [3:10]
Gervase Elwes (1916-17) - Roger QUILTER (1877-1953) Love’s Philosophy [1:25] O mistress mine [1:40]
Walter Hyde (1921) - Richard WAGNER (1813-1883) Winter storms have waned – Die Walküre [3:29]
Frank Mullings (1927) - Ruggero LEONCAVALLO (1857-1919) On with the motley – I Pagliacci [3:26]
John McCormack (1927) - Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Who is Sylvia? [2:23]
Joseph Hislop (1930) - Franz LEHÁR (1870-1948) A heart as pure a gold – Frederica [2:24]
Parry Jones (1930) - Felix MENDELSSOHN (1809-1847) Then shall the righteous – Elijah [2:53]
Parry Jones (1934) - Peter WARLOCK (1894-1930) As ever I saw [1:35]
Herbert Eisdell (1928) - Liza LEHMANN (1862-1918) Ah! Moon of my delight – In a Paradise Garden [3:58]
Tudor Davies (1926) - Samuel COLERIDGE-TAYLOR (1875-1912) Onaway! Awake, beloved! – Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast [4:01]
Walter Widdop (1926) - Vincent WALLACE (1812-1865) Yes! Let me like a soldier fall – Maritana [2:56]
Derek Oldham (1931) - Franz LEHÁR (1870-1948) Patiently smiling – The Land of Smiles [2:45]
Heddle Nash ( 1952) - Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1958) Vagabond – Songs of Travel [3:19]
James Johnston (1950) - Ralph VAUGHAN WILLIAMS (1872-1978) Song of the Road – Hugh the Drover [4:00]
Henry Wendon (1942) - Samuel COLERIDGE-TAYLOR (1875-1912) Eleanore Op 37 No 6 [3:15]
Webster Booth (1938) - Georges BIZET (1838-1875) Flower Song – Carmen [4:05]
Webster Booth (1941) - Sir Arthur SULLIVAN (1842-1900) Take a pair of sparkling eyes – The Gondoliers [2:48]
Peter Pears (1950) - Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828) Im Frühling D882 [4:56] Auf der Brück D853 [3:29]
David Lloyd (1943) - Sir Edward GERMAN (1862-1936) The English Rose – Merrie England [2:34]
Walter Midgley (1951) - Jules MASSENET (1842-1912) As I closed my eyes – Manon [3:25]
Richard Lewis (1960) - TRAD. arr Arne DØRUMSGAARD (1921-2006) The foggy foggy dew [3:10] The briery bush [2:12]



We are currently offering in excess of 51,000 reviews

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger