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Peter Dawson


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Peter Dawson (31 January 1882 - 27 September 1961) was an Australian bass-baritone who gained worldwide renown and popularity through his recitals and recordings of concert song, in a career spanning nearly 60 years.

Although his repertoire included a great deal of popular and light music, Dawson possessed a remarkable and impeccable vocal technique combined with an attractive dark timbre, an ideal balance of diction and vocal placing, a strong but integrated ‘attack’ without resort to intrusive aspirates, and a near-perfect ability to manage ornaments and roulades. These qualities probably derived from his studies with Sir Charles Santley, the great English baritone of the Victorian era. If Dawson’s interpretations were not profoundly penetrating, they were not shallow either, and in his chosen field of English concert repertoire of the vigorous, manly, outdoors’ kind, he remains unequalled. The tremendously high technical quality of his Handel singing sets an unmatched standard, too.

In 1984, Dawson was chosen by the Guinness Book of Recorded Sound as one of the top 10 singers on disc of all time, alongside such luminaries as Elvis Presley and Enrico Caruso.


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