In all seriousness

Wednesday’s lunchtime’s concert in the RBA was a recital by baritone Önay Köse, currently singing Banquo at the COC, accompanied by pianist Stephen Hargreaves..There were three sets of four songs; the Ibert Quatre chansons de Don Quichotte. four pieces from Wolf’s Italienisches Liederbuch and the Brahms Vier Ernste Gesänge.


It was good, if a bit short on variety.  Köse has a powerful voice and sings accurately and with feeling though it’s not the subtlest Lieder singing one will ever hear.  There was a bit of variation of mood in the Ibert pieces but mostly it was pretty heavy and dark.  That’s especially true, of course, of the Brahms which sets extracts from Martin Luther’s translation of the Bible; notably 1 Corinthians 13; “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels…”  This is music that really suits Köse’s voice and approach and was the highlight of the recital.  Lovely accompaniment throughout from Hargreaves who I thought was particularly good in the rather beautiful piano part of Wolf’s “Benedeit die sel’ge Mutter”.


The choice of encore was perfect; Strauss’ “Zueignung”.  It’s not only maybe my favourite Strauss song but fits Köse’s voice beautifully.  And of course it’s the perfect encore.  “Habe dank” indeed!

Photo credits: Karen E. Reeves


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