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Robert A Moore
American Record Guide, July 2016

With his sublimely lustrous voice Johnson’s singing is spellbinding. He avoids crooning when he reduces to mezza voce. He has a great sense of the musical line and shows careful attention to dynamics. His breath control is impressive as he spins out a long line to a slender thread of sound while maintaining tonal quality and bringing the line to an exquisite release. I actually gasped at the end of Coates’s ‘Bird Songs at Eventide’ when I heard him leap an octave to a soft high B-flat that he then reduced to a mere whisper. Baillieu also grants these songs dignity with prudent accompaniment—as well as energy when it is needed. © 2016 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide



Richard Fairman
Gramophone, March 2016

…Johnson displays an easy mastery of the genre, pointing the words in a way that is touching without sounding arty. If the prospect of so many ballads in a row seems forbidding, do not despair. Johnson’s choice of songs keeps an eye out for variety. He is good at the comic numbers, adept both at the country dialogue in Coates’s ‘Betty and Johnny’ and the deadpan humour of Lehmann’s mock-funereal ‘Henry King’. © 2016 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone




Robert Hugill
Planet Hugill, February 2016

Both Ben Johnson and James Baillieu bring superb technical skill to the disc. …overall marvel at the beauty of tone, control and lovely mezza voce. There is quite a lot of sentiment and sentimental song on this disc, but it works because Ben Johnson makes you believe every word. © 2016 Planet Hugill Read complete review



Midwest Tape, February 2016

Audience Prize winner at BBC Cardiff Singer of the World (2013), accomplished young English tenor Ben Johnson lends his dulcet tones to a program featuring a bouquet of ballads from the British Isles. This song form enjoyed extraordinary popularity in private homes throughout the Victorian, Edwardian, and Modern eras, inspiring generations of talented composers—men and women—to marry words and music in a delightful variety of styles. © 2016 Midwest Tape



David Mellor
Classic FM, January 2016

These neglected songs are full of charm and melodic distinction, and beautifully performed… The title song “I Heard You Singing” is a touching piece with a great tune, from that master of light music, Eric Coates.

My special favourite is Amy Woodforde-Finden’s Kashmiri Song, also possessed of a lovely melody. Sullivan’s The Lost Chord is a treasurable piece of Victorian mawkishness, that still makes an emotional impact when as persuasively performed as here. © 2016 Classic FM Read complete review




Fiona Maddocks
The Guardian, January 2016

Tenor Ben Johnson, light-voiced and lyrical, with high notes to make you swoon, and pianist James Baillieu, alert and responsive, are ideal duo partners on this Rosenblatt Recital disc of late Victorian and Edwardian ballads, popular parlour songs at the time of their writing but now mostly forgotten. © 2016 The Guardian Read complete review



David Denton
David's Review Corner, January 2016

During the early part of the 20th century the English ballad become extremely popular, a vogue that briefly enjoyed a revival during the Second World War. For my own part I grew up as a young child listening to my mother rehearsing them for her concert appearances, the present disc becoming something of a ‘sing along’ hour with the words still embedded on my memory. Now they are here taken up once again by the young English tenor, Ben Johnson, the Audience Prize-winner at the 2013 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World, a competition that many thought he had done sufficient to take the jury’s prize. I have to travel no further than the fourth track, Eric Coates’s Bird Song at Eventide, to be convinced me that he is an ideal interpreter of these art songs, though he sings them in a more straightforward manner than would have been used when first composed.  I am equally convinced that it is such an intrinsically beautiful voice, it should not be squandered on heavy opera roles that I have heard him sing. He has that rare ability to float notes that can hang on air, his intonation so impeccable, and his feeling for these songs so sincerely felt. Yet even here he must take care of his programming, Liza Lehmann’s Ah, moon of my delight sitting awkwardly on his voice, while his attempt at sobs in her balled, Henry King are highly embarrassing. He certainly makes amends with Eric Coates’s I heard you singing, Woodforde-Finden’s Kashmiri Song and Stanford’s A Soft Day. In all there are twenty-one tracks, James Baillieu evincing that he is one of today’s finest young accompanists.The disc comes as part of a series promoting young singers. © 2016 David’s Review Corner





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