In praise of … Kathleen Ferrier | Editorial

The Lancashire contralto was the most beautiful of all English singers of her time, beautiful of voice and musical expression

A century after her birth in April 1912 and now nearly 60 years after her death, an incomparable sense of public loss and love still attach to the memory of Kathleen Ferrier. Writing in this paper when Ferrier died from breast cancer in 1953 aged 41, Neville Cardus called the Lancashire contralto the most beautiful of all English singers of her time, beautiful of voice and musical expression, and beautiful to look at too. The decades have done little to wither that widely shared judgment. Ferrier was, Cardus wrote, a singer of classic dignity and seriousness whose gifts and artistry enabled her to create some of the most moving musical experiences of his lifetime. Those who heard or knew Ferrier are few now. But the recordings which she left behind – today the arias from the St Matthew Passion inevitably come to mind – still convey the unforced humanity of the voice and something of the personality that gave it, all too briefly, to the world.

Editorial

The GuardianTramp

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