Your clickable banner could be here: details
   
    If you cannot see an advert immediately above this line click here.


 

Editor: Marc Bridle

 

Webmaster: Len Mullenger

 

 

                    

Google

WWW MusicWeb


Search Music Web with FreeFind




Any Review or Article


 

 

Seen and Heard Recital Review


SONG ON THE SOUTH BANK Dvořák, Brahms Bernada Fink (mezzo); Jonathan Lemalu (baritone); Roger Vignoles (piano). QEH, Sunday, November 7th, 2004 (CC)

The coupling of Dvořák and Brahms is an inspired one, representing two distinct responses to the Romantic impulse. At least, that is what Fink, Lemalu and Vignoles persuaded us in a superb event at the QEH, part of a pair of recitals (the second on Tuesday 9th, where soprano Sarah Fox replaces Lemalu).

 

Bernada Fink’s affinity with the music of Dvořák has been hailed in the press (a response to her recent Harmonia Mundi disc - reference below). Live, there was no doubting the closeness of this composer to her heart. Four Songs in Folk Style, Op. 73 provided an easy-on-the-ear opener. Three of the songs are from the Slovácko region  (hence their use of South Moravian dialect), one from Bohemia. Fink’s pure top, full low register and her ability to sing as if intimately relating a tale worked in harmony with Vignoles’ ever-sensitive accompaniments. Just one example of Fink’s sensitivity was the suggestion of the poetic inverted commas of the text in the second song as the maid calls to her sweetheart. Of the four though the highlight was the third, ‘Ach není tu’. Dvořák’s writing is at its most sparse here. Vignoles added a remarkable depth of tone to the song based on longing. Throughout (as indeed, throughout the entire rectal), Fink’s diction was simply exemplary.

 

As Fink was to Dvořák, so Lemalu was to Brahms. A set of four songs established Lemalu’s credentials, ‘Verrat’, Op. 105 No. 5 leading the way. Over the space of six stanzas, Lemalu evoked Brahmsian simplicity, drama (he positively spat out the word ‘Liebschaft’, and in the final stanza sounded almost Hans Hotter-like, a comparison that was to recur, powerfully, later in the recital).

 

It was actually Vignoles who impressed most in ‘Salamander’, Op. 107 No. 2, in his crystalline definition and the depth of his postlude. Both conveyed the restlessness of ‘Verzagen’ (‘Despondency’), Vignoles in his swirling accompaniment, while the longing of the song ‘Heimweh II’ (which centres on the wish to return to childhood and its cosy securities) was heart-rending. Maybe it struck a chord in my own heart.

 

To round off the first half, Fink returned to the platform for more Dvořák, the beautiful Love Songs, Op. 83. Again, clarity of diction coupled with exemplary attendance to textual nuance were paramount considerations, meaning the final lines of the second song (‘Becomes again a paradise/And sings again its songs of old’) emerged as real bringers of hope. There are eight songs in total in Op. 83. Interestingly, the final song is a mix of almost Brahmsian descending arpeggiations coupled with a melodic line that is pure Dvořák. The ideal summation of the first half, then, and winningly rendered by Fink and Vignoles.

 

Coming out ‘cold’ in to Brahms’ Four Serious Songs, Op. 121 cannot be easy. Yet Lemalu moved straight into the bleak, black heart of these Lieder. His legato, so vital for this work, was silky smooth, and the rare shafts of light (even then coloured as if through a stained-glass window) were all the more welcome when presented with such care and warmth as here. Lemalu and Vignoles seemed to be making the link with the baritone movements in the Deutsches Requiem, while maintaining the still integrity of this group.

 

There were two encores (one for each singer, appropriately). First, Lemalu in a fresh performance of Brahms’ Frühling, then the Dvořák we all wanted, really if we’re honest, to hear. Fink gave us ‘Songs my mother taught me’, imbued with a most appealing sense of nostalgia. I for one left with a warmth that protected me against the chill night air on the South Bank.

A gripe about texts and translations. Little slips are niggly and probably would not normally warrant mention, except that there were quite a few of them. A bigger slip was the replacement of ‘západě’ (western) with ‘záchodě’ (‘záchod’ is Czech for toilet). Oops.

Colin Clark
e

Further Listening:


Dvorak Lieder Fink/Vignoles. Harmonia Mundi HMC901824

 

Brahms Vier ernste Gesänge. Hotter/Moore, EMI 5628072




Back to the Top     Back to the Index Page


 





   

 

 

 

MusicWeb - The International Web Site Founder: Len Mullenger [UK], Classical Editor: Rob Barnett [UK],  Regular Reviewers:   Steve Arloff [UK], Guy Aron [Australia], Tony Augarde [UK], Terry Barfoot [UK], Melinda Bargreen [USA], David J. Barker [Australia], Rob Barnett [UK], Nick Barnard [UK], Robert Beattie [UK], Dave Billinge [UK], Peter Bright [UK], Byzantion [UK], Colin Clarke [UK], Dominy Clements [Netherlands], Michael Cookson [UK], Hubert Culot [Belgium], Evan Dickerson [UK], Gavin Dixon [UK], Robert J. Farr [UK], Christopher Fifield [UK], Göran Forsling [Sweden], John France [UK], Patrick Gary [USA], Pierre Giroux [CAN], Paul C. Godfrey [UK], Michael Greenhalgh [UK], William Hedley [France], Gary Higginson [UK], Neil Horner [UK], Robert Hugill UK], David Jennings [UK], Bill Kenny [UK], William S Kreindler [USA], Ian Lace [UK], Em Marshall-Luck [UK], Oleg Ledeniov [USA]Rob Maynard [UK], David A McConnell [USA], Kirk McElhearn [France], Robert McKechnie [UK], Ralph Moore [RMo] [UK], Dan Morgan [UK], Margarida Mota-Bull [UK], Glyn Pursglove [UK], John Quinn [UK], Carla Rees [UK], Brian Reinhart [USA], Donald Satz [USA], Mark Sealey [USA], John Sheppard [UK], George Stacy, Kevin Sutton [USA], Bert Thompson [USA], Simon Thompson [UK], Zane Turner [Australia], Steve Vasta [UK], Johan van Veen [Netherlands], Raymond Walker [UK], Derek Warby [UK], Brian Wilson [UK], Jonathan Woolf [UK] Leslie Wright [USA]. A complete list of contributors can be seen here




EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
.
Prepared by Michael Herman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Comment
Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Past and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips


Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

MusicWeb International thank Naxos for the no-strings use of their server to mount the website.