His heritage is Welsh, English and Scottish, and the rare and haunting beauty of his voice is ideally suited to the repertoire, but until now David Hobson has never recorded an album of music from the British Isles.
‘I have an inherent love for these glorious folk songs, and some of them have been in my concert repertoire for years,’ says Australia’s most popular tenor on the launch of his new album Enchanted Way, featuring best-loved songs from England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. ‘It’s the kind of album I’ve wanted to make for many years.’
Backed by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra conducted by Benjamin Northey, and with all-new arrangements by Jessica Wells, the album was recorded in the heat of inspiration, with David and the MSO being joined by Australian music legend (and friend) Paul Kelly, the Flinders String Quartet, and a host of leading folk musicians.
‘We wanted to give fresh interpretations to these great songs but also to preserve some sense of authenticity so we’ve used drones, as well as accordion, Celtic fiddle, and bodhran to capture the essence of these most evocative songs .’
Irish classics like Carrickfergus, She Moved Through the Fair, and Raglan Road (a line from which provides the album’s title) are included alongside quintessential Scottish ballads like Loch Lomond and Skye Boat Song, and English favourites Bushes and Briars and Foggy Foggy Dew.
For some of the Welsh repertoire, including Y Dreyn (The Dove) and David of the White Rock, David recorded his vocals in the language of his ancestors. ‘The Welsh language is so poetic, and it really lends itself to the beautiful melodies of these songs,’ David says.
Cameo appearances include David’s regular concert collaborator – the singer Janine Maunder – and pianist Calvin Bowman, who, along with conductor Northey is part of the album’s ‘Ballarat connection’. David says that the creative inspiration of all involved in the project made it one of the most satisfying experiences of his long recording career, epitomised by the most famous song on the album.
‘Danny Boy is one of my most requested songs in concert and I’ve sung it in many different arrangements, but when faced with the prospect of recording such an iconic piece, we were all drawn to the idea of doing it unaccompanied. The feeling in the studio that afternoon as we recorded it was one of many special moments that we had in the making of this album.’
‘In the end, it all came down to just the singer and the song – and the perfection of these timeless melodies.’
1. The Last Rose of Summer
2. Raglan Road
3. Skye Boat Song
4. Waly Waly
5. Barbara Allen
6. Loch Lomond
7. Bless This House
8. The Foggy Foggy Dew
9. Danny Boy
10. I Will Lay Ye Doon Love (featuring Paul Kelly)
11. The Dove
12. Mary of Argyle
13. David of the White Rock
14. Bushes and Briars
15. She Moved Through the Fair
Australian tenor and composer David Hobson is one of Australia’s best known operatic and recording artists. He has sung many roles for Opera Australia and both state and international opera companies, including his award winning performances of Rodolfo (La Boheme) and the title role in Orphee.