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Celebrating Felicity Lott


Johann Paul Martini
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Charles Gounod
Gabriel Fauré
Ernest Chausson
Claude Debussy
Reynaldo Hahn
Erik Satie
Maurice Ravel
Albert Roussel
Charles Koechlin
Francis Poulenc
Lennox Berkeley
Samuel Barber
Leonard Bernstein
Benjamin Britten
Henri Duparc
Camille Saint-Saëns
Maude Valérie White
Emmanuel Chabrier
Richard Wagner
Franz Liszt
Hector Berlioz
Georges Bizet
Haydn Wood

Une Entente Cordiale


Dame Felicity Lott (soprano) and Graham Johnson (piano)
Wigmore Hall - 1st April 2009


* The founder members of Songmakers' Almanac, c. 1976
(Picture - Malcolm Crowthers: Lott & Johnson at front: Editor)


Plaisir d’amour
Oiseaux, si tous les ans
Comment, disaient-ils
Le Spectre de la rose
Love’s Philosophy
Cherry-Tree Farm
Chantez, chantez, jeune inspirée
Toutes les fleurs
I n t e r v a l
Le Colibri
Il pleure dans mon coeur
The Swing
La Diva de l’Empire
Chanson des cueilleuses de lentisques
Le Bachelier de Salamanque
Keep that schoolgirl complexion
D’un vanneur de blé aux vents
Un Cygne
Civet à toute vitesse
La Belle est au jardin d’amour Départ

Roses in Picardy

It is always a pleasure to attend a concert at the Wigmore Hall, particularly one of vocal music as the room lends itself a clear and accurate reflection of the text. While listening to ‘une entente cordiale’ on Wednesday, it was easy to feel as if one was being “lectured” on the history of French song. The programme comprised songs by a staggering 24 composers all of whom represented some sort of relationship between French and English culture. I only realised the focus of the programme was on this tenuous regard between the French and the English at the interval on reading the extensive programme notes.

The evening began with early melodie from Johann Paul Martini and Mozart which felt like they were included in the programme for purely academic interest. However, the two seasoned performers soon got into their stride giving stunning performances of classics like Faure’s ‘Lydia’ and Duparc’s ‘Phidyle’. There were also lesser known songs such as Saint-Saens ‘Cherry Tree Farm’ which was a real treat and an opportunity to enjoy Lott’s charmingly naughty character.

The ‘entente cordiale’ theme was continued in Lott’s choice of gowns for the evening; the second half saw her appear in a stunning Givenchy dress which added to the glamour of the event. After the interval, it was a much warmer affair and the sense of attending a lecture completely vanished. We were treated to beautiful renditions of more mainstream melodie including Lott’s favourites Poulenc and Debussy. Again she oozed wit and charm in Koechlin’s ‘Keep that schoolgirl complexion’ and Hahn’s ‘The Swing’.

The last four songs of the programme turned the tables with French texts set by English speaking composers. The mood of these four songs meshed perfectly with that of the rest of the second half.

Overall it was a wonderful evening. It was however a concert that was to be enjoyed with the printed commentary as a companion - particularly the first half. A self-confessed lover of all things French, Lott was the perfect singer to explore the gems of the song repertoire resulting from the French fascination with the English and vice versa. She was in wonderful voice, giving us thrilling pianissimo singing as well as sparking coloratura and passionate involvement. Johnson was as ever the perfect accompanist, sensitively supporting his singer and effortlessly switching from one sound world to the next.

The three encores continued the evening's theme, the infamous ‘Roses in Picardy’ particularly memorable. Before it, Graham Johnson paid tribute to Dame Felicity Lott and the 30 years and more working relationship he had enjoyed with her, especially as founder members of Songmakers' Almanac, which Johnson founded in 1976 * see photo above.

A cordial evening? Indeed, but ultimately an extremely tender and beautiful one.

Tess Ormond









Fallen Women and Virtuous Wives
Felicity Lott (Soprano) Graham Johnson (Piano)

Kultur International Films
: DVD-Video KUL D4487

This is a generous selection from Dame Felicity's huge repertoire, filmed in the music room/studio at her home in Champ's Hill, Sussex to mark the 30th Anniversary of their first recital together at the Wigmore Hall; it finds our popular Dame in good voice and gives a feeling of informality although the credits list a large number of technical collaborators. It is a felicitous DVD, straightforward and unpretentious in effect, each song characterised with charm and varied by Felicity in party mood, appearing in a series of dresses related to the period and mood of particular songs. She seems mostly to be looking above the camera, to an imaginary audience in the 'circle' of a theatre...

The foreign language texts (Felicity Lott was a linguist before becoming a professional singer) are provided with translations in subtitles. For the English ones, you may need to replay the tracks if you don't get all the words first time...

The DVD box has no insert booklet, but the package includes a "bonus film" My Own Country (2003) which looks as if it was intended for TV - its red on purple details on the back are unreadable.

My Own Country features English poets and composers with important Sussex connections. There are discussions between Lott and Johnson, who are seen recording performances of their songs, some of them rare gems, with filmed shots around the South Downs; the whole supplemented with and put together with high-level arts/documentary presentation.

Recommended warmly.

Peter Grahame Woolf


Waldseligkeit, Op 49 No 1. Die Nacht, °pi° No 3 Standchen, Op 17 No 6. Leises Lied, Op 39 No 1. Schlechtes Wetter, Op 69 No S. Des Dichters Abendgang, Op 47 No 2. Der Stern, Op 69 No 1. Die Verschwiegenen, Op 10 No 6. Die Zeitlose, Op 10 No 7. Blauer Sommer, Op 31 No 1. Ich wollt em n Strausslein binden, Op 68 No 2. Ruhe, meine Seele!, Op 27 No 1. Allerseelen, Op 10 No 8. Einerlei, Op 69 No 3. Meinem Kinde, Op 37 No 3. Wiegenlied, Op 41 No 1. Muttertandelei, Op 43 No 2. Zueigmung, Op 10 No 1. Winterweihe, Op 48 No 4. Das Rosenband, Op 36 No 1. Cacilie, Op 27 No 2. Ach, was Kummer, Qua! und Schmerz,en, Op 49 No 8. Drei Lieder Der Ophelia, Op 67. Morgen!, Op 27 No 2.

Dame Felicity Lott sopr Graham Johnson pft
Recorded by Julian Millard, remastered by Alexander van Ingen

Champs Hill CD 037

Vintage Strauss; 26 songs, most of them familiar favorites - "intoxicatingly beautiful, performed with consummate artistry."

Greatly impressed by this new CD, I eventually found that it had been recorded in 2002 & had been previously released on ASV and reviewed by Alan Blyth.

See also the link above to one of its first new reviews.

A must for Lott's fans who don't already have it.

Peter Grahame Woolf