On Thursday evening the members of COC’s Ensemble Studio collaborated to create an on-line concert called Songs of Hope. All the current Ensemble members plus Liz Upchurch took part in an extremely eclectic programme MC’d by Simone Osborne. There was “classic” art song with Jamie Groote singing Britten’s arrangement of Burns’ Highland Balou. Joel Allison sang Silent Noon by Vaughan Williams; a test piece for any Anglo baritone inviting comparison with the likes of Thomas Allen and Bryn Terfel. He passes the test in my book. Very fine singing indeed. Vartan Gabrielan gave us a rare chance to hear a genuine bass singing Schubert; in this case Ständchen. The different timbre is an interesting and welcome change.
Lauren Margison sang Bolcomb’s Waitin’, which suits her really well and maybe recalls her earlier career a bit. Anna Sophie Neher, appropriately enough, chose Poulenc’s Les chemins de l’amour and very nice it was. There was solo piano from Alex Soloway (Rameau) and Rachael Kerr (Schubert) before some more popular selections including a rather good Danny Boy from Matthew Cairns and an arrangement for all of You’ll Never Walk Alone which was heartfelt but could never match Eddie the Onboard Computer’s version.
I feel really ambivalent about these remotely recorded, mixed streams. It’s great to see musicians that one can’t see in person right now and it does look like people have got the knack of making the technology work. At least on Youtube where the quality is pretty good. (Let ten thousand curses fall upon the abomination that is Facebook Live.) That said, I have a hard time getting into it. An evening, time slot, a comfy chair, a purring cat and a decent whisky and I’m nodding by the third song. Fortunately one can catch up next day and in this case the concert is available on Youtube until July 23rd.
In a final note on Youtube vs FB, AtG are now streaming Opera Pub on Youtube and it’s way better. The next show is next Thursday evening though last week’s is still available on their Youtube channel.