I will deal with the items on this CD first.
The so-called Ford Global Anthem Just Way Hello by Danny Beckerman
is a ghastly song.... unoriginal, and often sounding like Just The Way
We Were, slushy, cheap, trite, banal and nauseating. It is akin to a
poorly constructed pop song trying to be important. The final vocal reiterations
on two notes and a clattering percussion part is really quite awful and
La Pastorella from Soirees Musicales by Rossini needs an excellent
technique. Charlotte's voice is truly lovely but her tone is unequal. Her
middle range notes are disappointing... .or is this a recording flaw? Yet
her high notes are very exciting. But, sadly, she has already developed that
awful habit of prima donnas the slur, glissando or swoop from high notes.
This portamento is ugly, whoever does it.
Offenbach's Barcarolle is somewhat under-sung but, at times, is
When we come to the two operatic arias by Puccini and Handel the depth and
maturity is sadly lacking particularly in the florid aria from Rinaldo.
Of course, one does not expect maturity from a winsome, delightful thirteen
year old and, in fact, we are glad that she is singing this material rather
than trash alla Robbie Williams or Elton John.
But these arias show up where the voice's register changes. This is noticeable
and is one example of lack of technique. She also clips short some of her
The great Welsh hymn, Cwm Rhondda, and the march Men of Harlech
are very evocative and yet another reminder that we Welsh have the finest
voices (!). It is in this direct style that Charlotte excels.
But the problems are there. The arrangements, which, of course, are not
Charlotte's, are naff with the exception of Sir Charles Mackerras's version
of Dvorak's sumptuous Songs My Mother Taught Me. And the conducting
and subsequent performances are very poor at times. For example, The Holy
City suffers from some absurd changes of tempo including the ridiculous
speeding-up of the last line of the verses. Some of the orchestration is
so bad that it recalls Elgar. Martini's Plaisir d'amour has a very
heavy orchestral bass and some curious changes of tempo and hence both its
simplicity and appeal is lost. Gershwin's Summertime is a showpiece
and, sung well, is marvellously evocative as Judith Buckle has shown us.
But Charlotte's first entry is uncertain and, again, the orchestra is too
heavy and this is a pity for Charlotte has the measure of this wonderful
It is in the folk songs that Charlotte shows her best interpretations. The
tempo for the Mozart aria is a shade too fast and, as a consequence, It sounds
cheap and, again, the bass is too heavy.
I could comment on the other items but I would be repeating myself. It is
difficult to review this disc. I feel Charlotte is being pushed, processed
and packaged. Her advisors' choice of material is not always the best and
the arrangements are embarrassing.
She has received too much unhealthy hype. That she has appeared before the
Queen and Bill Clinton tells us nothing about her talent. Linda and I had
Oat Krunchies for breakfast and have met Gregory Peck.... so what?
Charlotte has a splendid voice and we should be thankful that she is not
singing rubbish ..... well, she does, occasionally. But I fear for her in
that she may become a type of 'pop star', a teenage personality, and be exploited
and, perhaps burn out and become a psychological wreck as did the sadly lamented
Jacqueline du Pré. 1 say this graciously and courteously.
She should pursue songs which suit her voice, range and stage of maturity
and sing without the excesses of style and tempo and in different arrangements
and, recording engineers, cut the bass.
I will refrain from 'awarding stars' as to the recording and performances.
I wish Charlotte well but she needs better guidance and to work with people
who are more professional and musical with a sure classical tradition.
Some people will ignore all of this and say that this CD has sold well and
thereby imply its perfection.