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Published on Sep 24, 2016
Sterndale Bennett, whose bicentenary takes place in 2016, was Mendelssohn’s favourite pupil, and it is not surprising that his works bear the stamp of his master. The composer’s great-grandson, Barry Sterndale Bennett, has told us “The origin of the songs lies in Bennett’s extended visits to work in Leipzig between 1836-42. He sought to raise the standard of contemporary popular songs which he thought were often poorly constructed, devoid of artistic merit and of performance. Unashamedly not intended as a vehicle for virtuoso vocal display, these polished and sensitive art songs with their easy style are regarded as a model for the English Lied.” The six songs of op. 35 are: 'Indian Love', the love song of an Indian rejected for his caste; 'Winter’s Gone', a celebration of Spring (a setting of a poem by John Clare); 'Dawn Gentle Flower', a touching ode to the life of a flower; 'Castle Gordon', a Scottish lament (to a poem by Robert Burns) for Bonnie Prince Charlie; 'As Lonesome through the Woods', a wistful stroll, to words by Mendelssohn’s friend Karl Klingemann; and 'Sing Maiden Sing', a joyous invitation to sing of the beauties of nature.
jakob Vad, accompanied by Elisabeth Nielsen, sings Bennett's songs at the 2106 Indian Summer in Levoca Festival.