> Songs from the Exotic [SM]: Classical CD Reviews- Nov 2002 MusicWeb(UK)

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"Songs from the Exotic" (Accompanied Songs).
Manuel de FALLA (1874 - 1946)

‘Siete canciones populares españolas’
Judith WEIR (b.1954)

‘Songs from the Exotic’
Joaquin RODRIGO (1901 - 1999)

‘Madrigales amatorios’
Luciano BERIO (b.1925)

‘Quattro Canzoni Populari’
Polly May (mezzo)
Lucy Walker (piano)
Recorded 27th to 29th January 2001 at the Reid Concert Hall Edinburgh, Scotland.
DELPHIAN DCD 34002 [43.36]



Well, now that Summer has finally shuffled of this mortal coil, we can all sit back and enjoy the pleasures of Autumn and Winter. How wonderful: storms, gales, hail, rain, dark by 4 pm, and the joys of the festive season. If all of this leaves you, dear reader, with a distinct sense of depression, then I might just have a solution. Sit back, with a large glass of something slurpable, with a great big pussy-cat on your lap, a log fire crackling away to its self, and put this CD on. It is gorgeous, although on first sighting, I was somewhat perturbed by the partnering of four somewhat disparate composers: de Falla, Weir, Rodrigo and Berio. They just didn’t seem to have anything in common with each other; that is until you hear them. The link between these works is that they are celebrating the folksong traditions of Southern and Eastern Europe. Mighty fine works they all are, all sung in the languages that the composer intended, excellent pieces every one.

The performers were both new to me. Polly May, the soprano, graduated from Edinburgh University with a BMus (Hons) where she studied with the soprano Irene Drummond. Whilst still in the City of Edinburgh she gave a series of concerts which met with some public acclaim, her repertoire ranging from the baroque to modern contemporary music. In August 2000 she gave the premier performance of a new work, especially composed for her by Daniel Williams at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Polly is currently studying at the Trinity College of Music in London with Linda Hirst. Her accompanist Lucy Walker also studied Music at Edinburgh University with Lynda Cochrane, giving performances with many singers and instrumentalists, also at competitions, recitals, and master-classes. Lucy has recently embarked on a PhD in musicology at Kings College, London.

Purely on the strength of this CD, I would say that both of these performers have a great career ahead of them. And I will look forward to further issues from them.

The recording is quite superb, the voice and piano are very well captured within an acoustic that is airy and clear, quite deep and just a little "dark". A splendid CD that come with a very high recommendation, just don`t forget the slurping juice.

Scott Montague


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