The last two ReGENERATION concerts featuring song took place in Walter Hall yesterday at 1pm and 4pm. Both featured four singers doing a set with piano, a vocal piece with chamber accompaniment and a chamber piece. All the members of the Artsong Academy programme appeared at least once. First up was tenor Joey Jang with Frances Armstrong at the piano with a set of Schubert and Schumann. He sounded OK, if a bit underpowered, in Liebesbotschaft with its fairly fast rhythmic lines but technical issues showed up in the slower pieces requiring real legato.
Soprano Karen Schriesheim was next with Leona Cheung. She has a very light, bright voice that sounds very good when it fits the music, as it did in Mozart’s Abendempfindung and Schubert’s Ganymed; the latter in particular displaying a good sense of storytelling and some neat work from the piano. Wolf’s Gebet though sounded a bit odd. I think it needs an ability to generate darker colours. Maybe that will come with time.
Mezzo Florence Bourget has rather the opposite problem. She has a very dark voice that seems to drop easily and impressively into the lowest part of the range but seems to struggle with high notes. It’s not that they aren’t there it’s just that she seems to have an awkward way of attacking them. That said, the two excerpts from Mahler’s Rückert Lieder suggested a genuine contralto future. And we need more of those.
Lyndsay Promane and Pierre André Doucet gave us the set of the day. Mahler, Schubert and Schumann were all sung smoothly with excellent, phrasing and a real sense of drama without ever overegging it. Just letting the song tell its story. Lyndsay sounds much more mature than a year or two ago and is definitely moving past technique into the sort of artistry that takes it for granted. Widmung raised the hairs on the back of my neck (in a good way).
Maeve Palmer was joined by Samuel Park and Jennifer Murphy (violins), Damon Taheri (viola), Rebecca Shasberger (cello) and Sonia Bize (harp) for a performance of Menotti’s Nocturne. It was enjoyable. The music suit’s Maeve’s pretty voice and her diction was good enough for us to be able to hear the English text (no surtitles). Her phrasing and control was spot on and the other musicians combined with her nicely.
The concert concluded with April Sun on piano and “the Julias”; Mirzoev (violin), Swain (viola) and Albers (cello), combining for a spirited account of Dvořák’s Piano Quartet in E flat Major.