Kiri in Recital
A rich ripe peach of a recital, and in case that suggests something altogether too sweet and lush to satisfy a fastidious taste it should immediately be added that the soprano's tone is fresh, her responsiveness to words keen, the pianist's touch very evidently guided by a refined, lively intelligence, and the programme a delight in the variety as well as the generous melodic appeal of its contents.
That would be true even without the Purcell, which is rather out on a limb. One of the most imaginative of musical dramatic monologues, it requires of the singer an exceptional combination of technical skill and interpretative depth. Te Kanawa certainly provides the first: her runs (a lovely 'pictorial' one, for instance, in ''How shall my soul its motions guide?'') have a well-practised fluency and the breath-control is firm as ever. The style and expressiveness of her singing are more questionable, as is the piano accompaniment (this is the Britten realization, and sometimes a shade too idiosyncratic for my liking). The main point, however, is that the performance is always alive and aware of the changing moods, with the voice assuming an urgency, or a despondent flatness, as the call arises. Whether a voice of such richness is appropriate, and whether the singing quite catches the mystery, the spiritual quality of the piece, these are more doubtful aspects.
The Liszt group is fine, well-chosen too, with