Kathryn’s debut album with pianist James Baillieu with Champs Hill Records “Loves Old Sweet Song” released on 2nd February 2015.
“Kathryn and James present a recital disc of songs and ballads in English, written between 1823 and 1945 by British composers whose lives were affected by the great war.
Amongst the selection of songs are nostalgic gems by Eric Coates, Alan Murray, Ivor Novello (We’ll Gather Lilacs) and Haydn Wood’s famous songs of the First World War, Roses of Picardy.
Also included are Roger Quilter’s beautifully melodic Seven Elizabethan Songs and some passionate songs by Edward Elgar, written prior to the outbreak of WW1. Works composed by serving WW1 soldiers include: William Denis Brown (To Gratiana Dancing and Singing) and Ivor Gurney’s haunting compositions from the trenches, Severn Meadows and By a Bierside.
The selection concludes with Frank Bridge’s dramatic Love went a-Riding (1914) and Benjamin Britten’s setting of the timeless Last Rose of Summer.
Kathryn writes “The sentiments of these pieces still resonate strongly in our lives today, never more so than when we remember them in relation to the events of the past.”
2015 American Record Guide September/October: “Whether or not you have any interest in English song, if you like exceptionally thoughtful music-making, this album is for you. Rudge’s voice is golden, rich, and even; her diction crystal clear, and her phrasing superb. Baillieu’s playing is warm and supportive. Outstanding performances of every piece; I loved every minute of it.”
Click here to listen/purchase “Love’s Old Sweet Song”
“Kathryn Rudge has been endowed with a remarkable talent; one that is on show on this disc even without the benefit of her presence. She has a personality that infuses and lights up her live performances and much of this and her commitment to phrasing and the line of a song comes through in this recital”.
“The three Elgar songs are well known, In Moonlight being one of those examples where the words fit an already composed melody, seemingly with little contrivance, In this performance we are beguiled by Miss Rudge’s clarity of words and her interpretation of Elgar’s tune which can seem over-sentimental in lesser hands. Pleading similarly benefits from this approach.
… if you want to hear a singer as she takes her first steps into the limelight and who has the potential of a distinguished and, I hope, great career ahead of her then do not hesitate and buy this record.”
Andrew Neil, Elgar Society Journal August 2015.
“A whole range of 20th century English song from Novello to Gurney in a finely crafted debut…
“…Kathryn Rudge has a lovely warm yet focussed mezzo-soprano voice and she sings with a combination of line and superb diction. She is well supported by James Baillieu and the pair treat each song with the same care and sense of seriousness. So that the Ivor Novello is as well done as the Ivor Gurney. In many ways this is quite a daring disc. I can think of few programmes which combine music by Ivor Gurney, Frank Bridge, Ivor Novello and Haydn Wood.”
Robert Hugill, 26th February 2015
“Rudge sings each of the sentimental love songs by composers such as Eric Coates, Ivor Novello, Ivor Gurney and Haydn Wood with earnestness and musicality…”
“….Two songs by Edward Elgar, “Pleading” and “In Moonlight,” are simply stunning with evanescent melodies that allow Rudge to show the fullness and evenness of her sound… Bridge’s lullaby, “Where she lies asleep,” is the gem of the album. Baillieu’s touch is light and delicate while Rudge is simply hypnotic and bewitching. The calm is countered by the rush of youthful energy of “Love went a-riding.”
Opera News, Steven Jude Tietjen, July 2015
“This enchanting disc explores songs of British composers between 1823 and 1945….”
“…These are songs of unabashed sentimentality, and with her warm, graceful voice, Kathryn Rudge gives them to you straight up. The intimacy of the voice and piano, as opposed to an orchestra, heightens the nostalgia.”
Mary Kunz Goldman
The Buffalo News, USA , 12th March 2015