I have started revising the page on Recording of Edward Lear Poems inserting links to the pieces available on Tidal and/or Spotify (of course they may be available on other services too). Here is a just-published CD which includes the first complete recordings of Stanford’s Nonsense Rhymes, composed, under the pseudonym of Karel Drofnatski, on poems by Lear:
Best of all are the delightful Nonsense Rhymes, settings over the years of limericks by Edward Lear with which the composer would regale his friends at private soirees. Stanford, it’s clear, was both a compositional dictionary and a ready wit. Musical jokes can fall flat but not here. Listen to how subtly he pastiches Grieg in The Hardy Norsewoman (“There was a Young Lady of Norway, who casually sat in a doorway”); or Beethoven’s Pastoral in The Cow and the Coward. I love the Richard Strauss send ups in Gongdicthung (“There was an Old Man with a gong, who bumped at it all the day long”). Equally brilliant is A Visit of Elizabeth (“There was a Young Lady of Joppa, who came a society cropper. One day with a friend, she went off to Ostend, and the rest of the story’s improper,” in which Stanford sets the text to the Prelude from Tristan before bringing in the ‘improper’ Venusburg music from Tannhäuser. Williams and Way have a ball and listeners should too since spotting the quotes is great fun!
Mathias, William. “Learsongs.” Choral Music. Naxos B081KRDQQF, 2020.
Somers, Harry. “Birminal Trilogy.” Singing Somers Theatre. Russell Hartenberger (percussion), Monica Whicher (soprano), Robert Cram (flute), Ryan Scott (percussion), John Hess (piano), Krisztina Szabo (mezzo-soprano), Michael Colvin (tenor), Julian Armour (cello), Andrew Tunis (piano), Kimberley Briggs (soprano), Tanya Turner (vocals), Barbara Chilcott (narrator), David Dunbar (narrator), Charles Fowler (vocals), Sung Chung (vocals): Centrediscs CMCCD6901, 2012.
Ford, Andrew. There was a man lived in the moon : nursery rhymes and children’s songs / traditional tunes arranged by Andrew Ford ; performed by Jane Sheldon and Teddy Tahu Rhodes. ABC Classics 4812235, 2015.