Charles Villers Stanford Children’s Songs Charm

Charles Villiers Stanford is often characterized in music histories as a stuffy late-Victorian. He was Edward Elgar’s composition teacher for a time. And their relationship was characterized as hidebound teacher vs. imaginative pupil. But that’s not a fair assessment at all. 

Standford was a composer of his time. His music shares Brahms’ style. But it’s not derivative. Stanford was Irish, and there’s an Irish quality to his work — especially his songs. 

These songs were meant for children to sing and enjoy. And the key to writing a good children’s song is to simply write a good, simple song. Stanford does that again and again. 

These are charming melodies that are succinct and to the point. And they have a certain artlessness to them. Which is how Kitty Whately and Barteh Brynmor perform them. There’s a lightness to their performances that’s very much in the spirit of these works. 

If you’re just discovering Stanford, I wouldn’t recommend starting here. But if you already know him through his sacred works, then add this to your collection.

Charles Villiers Stanford: Children’s Songs
Kitty Whately, mezzo-soprano; Gareth Brynmor John, baritone
Susan Allen, piano
SOMM Recordings SOMMCD 0655

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