This reissue gives
us a most welcome opportunity to hear
Dame Kiri, one of the loveliest sopranos
of her generation, in recital rather
than in operatic repertoire. Moreover,
here she is captured at the height of
The Purcell item sits
a bit oddly here, as the only Baroque
piece and, moreover, the only offering
in English. However, Dame Kiri sings
it very well. She uses her theatrical
sense to excellent effect in the lengthy
passages of recitative and in the aria
sections she articulates the dotted
rhythms precisely without ever sacrificing
a seamless line.
Liszt is not a composer
to whose music I warm in general. However,
I enjoyed this group of his songs, not
least because they are so persuasively
sung. ‘Die Lorelei’ has a lovely, easeful
Schubertian feel to it and I loved the
touch of vulnerability that Dame Kiri
brings to ‘Oh, quand je dors’
As you might expect,
the poignant melancholy of Rachmaninov’s
‘Vocalise’ suits her voice to a tee.
It’s sung with refulgent tone and beautifully
spun long lines. Quite simply Dame Kiri
gives a gorgeous performance. She also
does the sultry Granados song very well,
singing it flawlessly to my ears. Here,
as throughout the disc, Roger Vignoles
is a splendid and sympathetic partner.
The recital also includes
two sets of arrangements of traditional
songs. Ravel’s set of Greek folksongs
is most effective and Dame Kiri sings
the songs with freshness and charm.
The languorous ‘Chanson des cueilleueses
et lentisques’ (track 9) is a highlight
after which she and Vignoles toss off
the brief concluding ‘Tout gai!’ (track
10) delightfully. I don’t recall encountering
before the little set of Spanish traditional
songs arranged by Fernando Obradors
but they are captivating miniatures
and Dame Kiri performs them winningly.
In particular I loved the penultimate
song, the gentle, lyrical ‘Dell cabello
más sutil’ (track 16).
This is a delightful
disc, the programme is nicely varied
and well chosen and, as I’ve indicated,
beautifully performed by both artists.
Sadly, no texts or translations are
supplied, which is a pity since Dame
Kiri sings in no fewer than five languages.
When this CD first
appeared the distinguished vocal critic,
John Steane, described it approvingly
as "a rich ripe peach of a recital."
I can only say "Hear, hear".
Those collectors who, like me, are admirers
of this gorgeous singer need not hesitate.