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During 1904 Dawson joined Santley on an eight-week concert tour of the West of England with leading Canadian soprano Dame Emma Albani (1847-1930). Between 1909-10 and 1948-49 he toured and/or appeared in Australia ten times. Other tours took him to South Africa, India, Burma, the Straits Settlements and throughout the British Isles, notably in Promenade Concerts and at Wigmore Hall (1924) with Gerald Moore.
Despite a 1909 Covent Garden appearance as the Night Watchman in Die Meistersinger under Hans Richter, he was not comfortable with the opera stage, and his career developed as a concert and oratorio singer.
Dawson's first BBC radio broadcast came in 1931 (including German lieder); from that time onward he was frequently 'on air' and still busy as a broadcaster in the 1950s. His German lied ranged across the repertoire -- taking in songs of Schubert, Schumann, Karl Loewe, Brahms, Richard Strauss and Hugo Wolf. Russian standards also appeared in his programmes, notably by Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff and Leonid Malashkin (1842-1902).
However it was English language and British songs above all that ensured Dawson's fame. Other forms of popular music began to displace Victorian musical fashion, yet Peter Dawson's career helped to preserve the concert recital, and many older ballad-type songs. As is clear from this CD he was especially successful with hearty, rollicking songs
[listen -- track 7, 0:00-0:50].
Copyright © 9 February 2008
Howard Smith, Masterton, New Zealand