BEETHOVEN: Irish/Welsh/Scottish Songs
Larson, LaGraff; Geer, LeFebvre,[Stull]; Brooks (violin), Kramer (cello), Hansen (piano) No texts.
CRS Barn Studio 0196 (2622 N. Triphammer Rd., Ithaca, NY 14850)
On commission from a publisher in the British Isles, Beethoven wrote more than 150 folksong settings; here are twenty-one. Far more than hackwork, his arrangements rank with latter-day settings by Bartok, Kodaly and Britten. A delightful touch is the scoring for piano trio, written at a level that would be negotiable at home.
This CD benefits from fresh, youthful, unpretentious singing. The [five] soloists also do some ensemble turns, and their accompanists, if somewhat recessively recorded, dispatch the music smartly. Yet these songs from Ireland, Wales and Scotland are delivered in a Simon-pure American accent: missing is the discreet patina of regional diction that tenor Robert White provided in his classic, lamentably out-of-print versions for Victor.
JOHN W. FREEMAN