Winter Words

Yesterday’s Mazzoleni Songmasters concert featured mezzo Lucia Cervoni, tenor Michael Colvin and pianist Rachel Andrist in a varied programme of song.  It kicked off with two songs by George MacNutt; Take Me to a Green Isle, sung by Michael, and O Love, Be Deep, sung by Lucia.  Both songs are in a quite meditative mood and served to give us a pretty good idea of what we could expect later on.  Michael sings very much in the British manner, which comes as no surprise with his extensive work at ENO and the number of Britten roles he sings.  Lucia’s dark, smokey mezzo sounded rather more operatic.

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Le travail du peintre

Yesterday’s concert in the Songmasters Series at Mazzoleni Hall featured Mireille Asselin and Brett Polegato with Peter Tiefenbach and Rachel Andrist in a program of songs more or less related to painting and painters.  The first half of the program was all French; Fauré and Debussy.  Mireille and Peter gave us two songs from Fauré’s Cinq mélodies de Venise plus three pieces from Debussy’s Fêtes galantes and Pantomime from Quatre chansons de jeunesse.  I thought the Debussy generally suited Mireille’s voice rather better than the Fauré.  The first three songs were beautifully and charmingly sung while Pantomime gave full rein to Mireille’s considerable comedic talents.  The highlight of the first half for me though was Brett’s singing of the Poulenc work that gave the concert its title.  Seven songs by Paul Eluard; each a brief portrait of a painter.  Written at the same time as Dialogues des Carmélites, these pieces have the same sort of intensity and drive (and decided non trivial piano parts!).  They were most expertly sung with fine diction and legato and a keen sense of the varied moods of each piece.

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