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228 A CENTURY OF BALLADS
This is a verdict that probably no one will be found to dispute. Since she made her debut in 1892, appearing in Gluck's Orfeo and as Ursula in The Golden Legend within the same week, Clara Butt has won her way to a very warm place in the hearts of the public.
"To hear Madame Butt sing," said a well-known critic nine years ago, "is to learn in a moment what a god-like gift the power of song is ! With her there is none of that too often apparent striving for effect; when she sings, she sings naturally, which, in her case, is consummate art, the art of phrasing, perfect enunciation, light and shade, the marvellous transition from one mood to another, so that the rendition of the simplest ballad by her at once holds her hearers spellbound by the artistic wealth with which she illuminates it."
Of her singing of " Kathleen Mavourneen ' mention has already been made in another chapter. Of more modern popular ballads Cowen's "Promise of Life," Edward Murray's "The Nights," Chaminade's "The Little Silver Ring," Joan Trevalsa's "My Treasure," Franco Leoni's "Leaves and the Wind," Frances Allit-sen's "There's a Land," and S. Liddle's setting of "Abide with Me" have been amongst those which she has made essentially her own.
Her delightful singing of classical German