Another album showing Deborah Spencer's versatility and scope as a recital singer. This album contains some of the most popular and beautiful songs from the recital repertoire spanning four centuries of music. The music ranges from quasi-religious songs to salon music and even stage and cabaret influenced works. 'Johann Sebastian Bach' wrote a good deal for voice, however only composing no more than five songs for solo voice and clavier. ' Bist du bei mir' a deceptively simple song that combines spirituality with passion is one of these five. Composed for 'Bach's' wife Anna Magdalena it dates from 1725. From these scant beginnings of Bach in German Lied the songs of 'Haydn', 'Mozart', 'Beethoven' and the great songs of 'Schubert' derive. 'The Mermaid' composed by 'Haydn' is from his collection of 'Twelve English Songs, or Canzonettas'. A bright lively strophic song filled with sparkling water, a seductive mermaid and infectious cheerfulness. The two Lied of 'Mozart', 'Als Luise die briefe' and 'Abendempfindung' are good foils for each other the first being very like a miniature operatic scene in which Luise, annoyed and hurt by the unfaithfulness of her lover destroys his letters to her in a blazing fire personifying the flames of her passion. Abendempfindung is a bitter sweet reflection of someone who looks towards the end of life. In 'Gretchen am Spinnrade', 'Schubert' has intergrated the piano so finely into the story of the song that it becomes the spinning wheel. The appeggiated chordal pattern in the piano line also ideally emphasises Gretchen's unhappiness and reflection. In Italy around this time 'Bellini' (1805-1859) composed about twenty songs. 'Per pieta' is considered one of his most elegant and beautiful settings. In France art song in the form of 'Melodie' was also developing. 'Ernest Chausson' (1855-1899) originally scored the popular 'Chanson Perpetuelle' for voice and Orchestra. The song's delicate sadness is touching, the story line or senario of the song evoking the emotional theme also found in much of the art in France at this time. By the time 'Richard Strauss' (1864-1949) had come to the Lieder scene in Germany the art form had become very finely honed. This is demonstrated through the popular song 'Allerseelen' in which the 'soul' is set free on 'All Soul's Day'. Two English language songs on the album represent two of the most wonderful composers to write for voice and piano 'Benjamin Britten' and 'Aaron Copland'. The song 'Johnny' is taken from a collection of 'Cabaret Song's' by 'Benjamin Britten'. It requires a virtuosic use of the soprano voice utilizing a large vocal register, intensity of emotion and variety of vocal styles. In this setting Britten also demonstrates compositional genius in the way he evokes the colour, humor and tragedy found in cabaret. 'Heart We Will forget Him' is a bitter- sweet setting by 'Aaron Copland', from the Twelve Poems of 'Emily Dickinson'.