Robert Pomakov with members of the Gryphon Trio

Yesterday’s lunch time concert featured bass Robert Pomakov accompanied by members of the Gryphom Trio.  The programme kicked off with two songs by Glinka with Bob accompanied by Roman Borys on cello and Jamie Parker on piano.  The first piece was called Lullaby but it’s hard to imagine anyone sleeping through Bob’s powerful rendering.  The second piece, Doubt, showcased some lovely playing by Borys.

Pomakov Gryphon Trio - Tim FlynnThe same line up then gave us three songs by Tchaikovsky.  These showed the more lyrical side of Bob’s voice; especially the last piece The gentle stars were shining upon us.  He really is rather good when he throttles back.

Annalee Patipatanakoon, violin, joined for the world premier of Bohdana Frolyak’s I Dream a Dream, to a text by Taras Shevchenko.  There was a lot of music here for fourteen lines of text.  It’s a very modern, but largely tonal, soundworld calling for a lot of power in the middle section.  I actually had no idea that one voice and three instruments could sound so loud.  It finished up with a weird and disconcerting dissonance on the final words about the poet’s dream being invaded by disaster.  There was some super singing and playing here and I would really like to hear this piece again.

Robert Pomakov - Tim FlynnBob closed the concert out with four of Ibert’s Don Quixote songs accompanied by Jamie Parker.  There was more lyricism and subtlety here, especially in the last song; Chanson de la Mort de Don Quichotte.  It made me realise how much more satisfying art songs are in a language one has some grip on.  I love listening to Bob sing Russian but I wish I had some sense of the relationship of text to music.

So, a fine recital by a COC stalwart.  Bob’s final performance of his current run as Hobson in Peter Grimes will, bar illness, mark his 210th appearance with the COC.

Photo credits: Tim Flynn courtesy of the COC

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