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What if a Day or a Month or a Year

Elizabethan lute songs and Ayres sung by founding member of the Deller Consort, Gerald English.

During a career spanning more than forty years, Gerald English has enjoyed success as a performer of operatic and concert repertoire. With Jonathan Rubin (lute) and Sharyn Wicks (gamba) he has created a fascinating and charming disc featuring 400 year old English Ayres by composers Dowland, Campion, Holborne, Ferrabosco and Cutting.


Gerald English

During a long career, Gerald English (1925-2019) enjoyed success as a performer of operatic and concert repertoire, as a recording artist and as an academic. He has given premier performances of some of the greatest works of the century and built close working relationships with such composers as Stravinsky, Henze, Britten, Tippett and Ford, often premiering their works in performances under their own direction.

Press quotes

“World acclaimed singer and early music specialist, Gerald English, passed away on 6th February 2019. Born in 1925, he started his singing career as a choirboy, then progressed to fame in opera, concert, early music, as recording artist and academic. His achievements are lengthy and may be traced in an on-line search. This CD is a collection of mainly lute songs by Dowland, Campion, Ferrabosco and Jones, with accompaniment by Jonathan Rubin (lute) and Sharyn Wicks (viola da gamba). It is a broad example of the re-emergence of lute song repertoire in the early music style.”

Early Music News

“As nearly everyone has said already, English’s voice was a highly individual one; in my mind, it couldn’t be mistaken for any other for its note-centredness, impressive rapidity of negotiation, flawless diction, and unabashedly ‘forward’ projection. As you can hear in this British music, nothing is lost or thrown away as incidental; dealing with works of this transparency, the tenor knew the value of every scrap of music. And the most admirable element – one that distinguishes English from his peers – is the lack of ponderousness, self-importance, or ego. I suppose the intention of this re-release was to summon up the memory of a fine singer who gave a good deal to this country through his teaching and the exercise of his skills. We have few enough records of English’s years in Australia; this disc is a happy demonstration of his craft in a field where he shone – not eclipsing his peers, but standing in their front rank.”

Read full review

— Clive O'Connell,

“English is at the height of his considerable talent and the singing is superb.”

Recorder and Early Music

“A radiant collection.”

The Melburnian

“Both music and words show that delicacy and powerful delight which is the hallmark of the time.”

New Englander

“Gerry was a musician’s musician, with extraordinary intellect. I loved his high, clear voice (sometimes disparaged by others as being secondary to his musical skills, or a “comprimario” voice), and was mesmerised by his ability to deliver text so clearly and affectingly. He had the finest diction of any singer I’ve ever heard. What if a Day or a Month or a Year would seem to be a Lazarus with a triple bypass project. It was recorded in 1979 (just after his arrival in Australia, when English was at the height of his vocal powers), and intended for vinyl release. However, it finally emerged not as an LP, but as a CD, in 1995. The collection is terrifically sequenced, in terms of key relationships, emotional journey, and instrumental insertions. The chief joy of this disc though is Gerry, who delivers these songs with such ease, flourish and musicality.”

— Jane Edwards, Music Trust e-zine Loud Mouth

Audio preview

Track Listing

  1. What if a day or a month or a year Thomas Campion (Anonymous)
  2. Fain I would, but oh I dare not Alfonso Ferrabosco
  3. The night watch Anthony Holborne
  4. In darkness let me dwell John Dowland
  5. Pavan Alfonso Ferrabosco
  6. Were every thought an eye John Dowland
  7. Gig Francis Cutting
  8. Shall I come, sweet love to thee? Thomas Campion
  9. So, so leave off this last lamenting kiss Alfonso Ferrabosco
  10. Shall I seek to ease my grief? Alfonso Ferrabosco
  11. Can she excuse my wrongs? John Dowland
  12. Mrs Anne Markham's pavan Francis Cutting
  13. Sweet, if you like and love me still Robert Jones
  14. Unconstant love Alfonso Ferrabosco
  15. A toy Francis Cutting
  16. Sorrow, stay John Dowland
  17. Shall I look to ease my grief Robert Jones
  18. Robin (Anonymous)
  19. I care not for these ladies Thomas Campion
  20. Like hermit poor Alfonso Ferrabosco
  21. Lord Zouch, his march (Anonymous)
  22. Me, me and none but me John Dowland
  23. It fell on summers day Thomas Campion
  24. The frog galiard John Dowland
  25. Lady, if you so spite me John Dowland
  26. Go to bed sweet muse Robert Jones



Where to buy

What if a Day or a Month or a Year is available for download from the iTunes Music Store.
It's available for streaming through Apple Music.

What if a Day or a Month or a Year is available as as CD. It can be purchased online through Buywell Music or the Australian Music Centre which both offer secure online ordering.

Move CDs can be ordered through music retailers across Australia including Readings.

Product details

List price
$25.00 AUD
Martin Wright
Martin Wright
Ormond College Chapel
Release date
© 1996 Move Records
℗ 1996 Move Records
Classical, Early music, Vocal
Catalogue number
MD 3151
Alternate catalogue number
EAN 9314574315127