Kiri in Recital

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Kiri in Recital

  • (The) Blessed Virgin's Expostulation, 'Tell me, so
  • (Die) Loreley
  • Oh! quand je dors
  • (3) Sonetti di Petrarca, Pace non trovo
  • (5) Mélodies populaires grecques
  • (14) Songs, No. 14, Vocalise (wordless: rev 1915)
  • (15) Tonadillas al estilo antiguo, La maja e el ruisenor
  • Corazón porqué pasais
  • Canciones clásicas españolas, Al amor
  • Canciones clásicas españolas, Con amores, la mi madre
  • Canciones clásicas españolas, Del cabello más sutil
  • (The) Blessed Virgin's Expostulation, 'Tell me, so
  • (Die) Loreley
  • Oh! quand je dors
  • (3) Sonetti di Petrarca, Pace non trovo
  • (5) Mélodies populaires grecques
  • (14) Songs, No. 14, Vocalise (wordless: rev 1915)
  • (15) Tonadillas al estilo antiguo, La maja e el ruisenor
  • Corazón porqué pasais
  • Canciones clásicas españolas, Al amor
  • Canciones clásicas españolas, Con amores, la mi madre
  • Canciones clásicas españolas, Del cabello más sutil

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 Comment, disaient-ils making just the right contrast, and Oh! quand je dors leading naturally (by way of Petrarch and Laura) into the sonnet. Ravel's Greek folk-songs bring out the full radiance and purity of the voice; good too to hear such natural and well-differentiated vowels in the French, and a lively appreciation of the individual character of each of the songs. In the Rachmaninov Vocalise, written for Nezhdanova, while Dame Kiri's voice ravishes the ear, the mind is duly grateful to Vignoles's skilful coloration of the piano part and for the well-judged variations of tempo. If Granados brought a tinge of nostalgic regret for the warmer richness of Victoria de Los Angeles (and some misgivings about what seemed the rather shallow tone exposed in the top end of the piano), this did not last long, and the Obradors group (a heavenly beauty in Del cabello mas sutil) released a spontaneity and vividness of personality less in evidence earlier on. Balance is fine throughout, and though the recording was made in a church the acoustic is not over-reverberant or inappropriately 'spacy' for a song recital: much enjoyed.'

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