Jamie Barton: All Who Wander
Anyone who watched Jamie Barton sail serenely to victory at 2013’s Cardiff Singer of the World competition will know what a fine singer she is. This debut recital from Delos only underlines the fact. The voice is rich, generous and vibrant, big but beautifully controlled, impeccably smooth throughout its range. It’s the sort of instrument you could listen to all day, in any sort of repertoire. She’s an intelligent, sensitive musician too, and evidently a good programme-builder, here offering Dvo∑ák and Sibelius to complement her Mahler.
It’s all extremely impressive, even if in her Mahler she doesn’t quite offer the interpretative complexity one hears elsewhere in the catalogue. As she continues along her career she’ll no doubt find more depth in ‘Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen’, for example, and she slightly overdoes, to my ear, the repeated ‘cht’ sounds in ‘Um Mitternacht’. But as singing it’s beyond reproach (she tosses off the repeated ‘Ades’ in ‘Scheiden und Meiden’ with Valkyrian confidence), and with each listen I grew more and more to appreciate her straight-down-the-line interpretative approach.
Her Gypsy Songs are big and generous, backed up by lively, rich and resonant accompaniments from Brian Zeger. The disc’s highlight, though, is the Sibelius, in which the mezzo pours her heart into grand, soaring accounts of some of the composer’s most seductive songs. The first pair from Op 36 are magnificent, but then the amplitude and tonal generosity Barton unleashes in ‘Flicksan kom’, including a fearsome chest voice in the final bars, and the concluding ‘Var det en dröm’ are overwhelming. This really is an exciting talent, and a terrific disc.