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Bryn Terfel: Scarborough Fair shakes hands with Pop and Folk

img  Tobias
To Bryn Terfel, making too much fuss about his choice of repertoire would be besides the point: “When you sing any piece of music, you have to give it the same kind of performance and musical integrity”, he stressed in a pre-release interview, “Technique becomes involved in many guises: with styles, with poetry and words, with accompaniments. Although some might consider these songs to be on the lighter side, one has to remember that the forces behind them generate a much stronger field. The fabulous acoustic of AIR Studios, the magnificent London Symphony Orchestra, the guest artists: that all adds to the ambience of the disc and to my own performances.”

Terfel also mentioned that the process of arriving at suitable arrangements was a highly experimental one which included several drafts. In the end, there were 100 possible tracks for inclusion on the CD, of which only 16 could be chosen. Not an easy task, but the result of intense debates and discourses is a record which is just as happy bathing in the warmth of orchestral movements as it is relying on nothing but the essence of a man and his voice.

Even though “Scarborough Fair - Songs from the British Isles” integrates material from Ireland, Scotland and England, it is also, in a way, a tribute to a youth spent in Wales: “There's a great tradition of singers and singing in Wales, and the language must have had a wonderful effect in nurturing it”, Bryn Terfel summed up his sentiments, “And you must not forget the influence of the church. We had to have something that would bring the community together, so Sunday morning in church you'd join in the singing of the hymns. It was always in four-part harmony, so you'd have the basses and the tenors, the sopranos and altos. And the singing was engaging! Even when the teenage years came, when you might have chosen not to go, there was the lure of the music, and of that special feeling of community.”

Bryn Terfel’s “Scarborough Fair - Songs from the British Isles” is out now on Deutsche Grammophon.

Homepage: Bryn Terfel
Homepage: Deutsche Grammophon

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