Pyotr Ilyich TCHAIKOVSKY
1. Zakatilos’ solnce (The sun
has set) Op. 73 No. 4 [1:52]
2. Kolybel’naja pesnja (Cradle
Song) Op. 16 No. 1 [3:50]
3. Otchevo? (Why?) Op. 6 No.
4. Snova, kak prezhde, odin (Ah,
once again alone) Op. 73 No. 6 [2:09]
5. Zabyt’ tak skoro (So soon
6. Net, tol’ko tot, kto znal
(None but the lonely heart) Op. 6 No.
Cinq poèmes de Baudelaire:
7. I Le balcon [8:37]
8. II Harmonie du soir [4:14]
9. III Le jet d’eau [5:45]
10. IV Recueillement [4:45]
11. V La mort des amants [3:10]
12. Ständchen Op. 17 No.
13. Allerseelen Op. 10 No. 8
14. Glückes genug Op. 37
No. 1 [2:29]
15. Befreit Op. 39 No. 4 [4:59]
16. Ruhe, meine Seele Op. 27
No. 1 [3:46]
17. Heimliche Aufforderung Op.
27 No. 3 [3:14]
18. Cäcilie, Op. 27 No.
When does a vibrato,
a natural thing in any human voice,
cease to be just a characteristic? When
does it become a disturbance that detracts
from the music and its interpretation?
The questions pose themselves as a result
of the singing of Amanda Roocroft on
this disc. The answers must be evasive.
What one person considers excessive
another hears as a natural vibrancy.
My wife is much less tolerant than I
am. Other reviewers appear less sensitive
to the pitch variations that are the
effect of vibrato.
My first reaction to
this disc was that Roocroft has a natural
beauty of tone, that these are well
considered readings with considerable
insight in the texts, that her phrasing
is utterly natural and that she can
sustain intensity over long spans. In
the Tchaikovsky songs her vibrancy felt
naturally attuned to the music. After
all Russian singing of an older school
is not wholly foreign to wide vibrato.
Too soft-edged a voice can also make
Tchaikovsky over-perfumed and sentimentalised;
there is no such risk here. Looking
through my notes I see several songs
marked as very good: Cradle Song,
So soon forgotten and also the well-known
None but the lonely heart. However
when she sings at forte, sometimes even
at mezzo-forte, the vibrato draws attention
to itself and it makes me wonder what
will happen in a few years’ time. Both
interpretatively and vocally she has
a more than passing similarity to Söderström
who was an expert performer of Slavonic
repertoire. Her voice also became more
vibrant with the passing of time – but
Ms Roocroft hasn’t reached that stage
There is heartfelt
singing throughout this disc. In the
Debussy cycle, which isn’t easy to bring
off, her dynamic shadings are sensitively
done. For the Strauss group she adopts
a lighter, brighter sound with Ständchen
fresh as dew, Ruhe, meine Seele
built as an impressive long arc and
Cäcilie a glorious end to
Malcolm Martineau provides
superb accompaniments throughout and
the recording is first class. I derived
a lot of pleasure from this disc but
while that obvious wobble is there I
will nt be completely won over. Readers
who feel cautious about vibrato are
advised to listen before buying.