I typed a long posting for this thread and then lost it. Oh well!
Briefly I was saying that I have only heard a few of these songs sung and one occasion was when I heard them on the radio (classical music station here in Oz) about 20-or-30-something years ago. They were sung in a high operatic style which was overdone and, in my opinion, a style which was totally inappropriate for the nature of the songs. I think that the decisions about arrangements, and choice of singing style, and the person who is singing these type of songs has changed over the years and the arrangers/conductors have lightened up a bit but at that time there was a definite lack of congruence between singing style and the songs themselves. They are closer to pop songs than "classical" songs, although they were often courtly songs rather than popular in the sense of "people", i.e. common people.
Also, I have heard operatic singers doing folk songs and totally killing them with the overblown technique.
But, a couple of weeks ago I heard a version of one of the songs in this book called Of All the Birds, by John Bartlett and it was very well done. That recording was from around the 60's I think but the arrangement and singing style totally suited the song.
And here are the lyrics of one of the songs, which I am sure the Wicca-Cats and Pagan-Cats will like:
THRICE TOSSE THESE OAKEN ASHES IN THE AYRE
Thrice tosse these Oaken ashes in the ayre,
Thrice sit thou mute in this inchanted chayre ;
And thrice three times tye vp this true loues knot,
And murmur soft, shee will, or shee will not.
Goe burn these poys'nous weedes in yon blew fire,
These Screech-owles fethers and this prickling bryer ;
This Cypresse gathered at a dead mans graue ;
That all thy feares and cares, an end may haue.
Then come, you Fayries, dance with me a round ;
Melt her hard hart with your melodious sound :
In vaine are all the charms I can deuise:
She hath an Arte to breake them with her eyes