This is an interesting CD. It couples the rather rarely performed Schubert cycle to texts by Sir Walter Scott with a new Fiona Ryan cycle on the same theme. The reason the Schubert is a bit of a rarity is that, besides high and low voice and piano, one number requires a female chorus and another a TTBB quartet. In fact here those two pieces were recorded separately in different locations but I don’t think it’s apparent listening to the disc. The Schubert also includes the well known Ave Maria, the sixth song in the cycle, given here in the German originally used by Schubert rather than the Latin version usually heard. It’s a very decent performance. Maureen Batt is the soprano (and the evil genius behind the whole enterprise). Her voice is light and clear and her diction is excellent. Even a piece like the Ave Maria sounds fresh. Jon-Paul Décosse is the baritone. It’s a firm, confident voice, again with every word clearly audible. Simon Docking provides excellent accompaniment. The Bootgesang is performed by Leander Mendoza and Justin Simard; tenors with Robert O’Quinn and James Levesque; baritones, again with Docking at the piano. This might be the most fun piece of the cycle. For the elegiac Coronach we get The Halifax Camerata Singers conducted by Jeff Joudrey with Lynette Wahlstrom at the piano. They sound very pleasant.
This review first appeared in the print edition of Opera Canada.
Moon Loves Its Light is a debut disk by Nova Scotia soprano Allison Angelo accompanied by Australian pianist Simon Docking. It’s a mix of Canadian settings of English language texts; Harry Somers’ Three Songs to texts by Walt Whitman and Lloyd Burritt’s settings of texts from Marilyn Lerch’s Moon Loves Its Light supplemented by individual songs by Ian Bent, Oskar Morawetz and Patrick Cardy, plus songs by Debussy, Hahn, Fauré and Poulenc. Curiously, the two sets; are split up to fit the disk’s division into four sets; Moon, Night, Dreams and Moon.