This was originally released on EMI’s ‘Debut’ series, the catalogue
number of which was 7242 5752032, and
is now re-issued. In the last six years Lemalu’s profile has risen
appreciably so his admirers and others should note this state
of play and not be seduced into thinking this a new release.
and sonorousness of vocal production were always there, seemingly.
I happened to have heard a youthful appearance given by Lemalu
with the London Pro Arte Orchestra and East London Chorus and
even then it was apparent that he was going places. It may even
have been around the time he made this recording with Roger
Vignoles. His Brahms is powerful and noble of utterance and
if one finds his singing of the Four Serious Songs to a degree
under-characterised they lack for little in resonant control.
The third however is strongly projected. The Schubert quartet
was well chosen. It was a question of what best suited his voice,
temperament and expressive qualities. They give a fair indication
of his promise and suit the voice well. I particularly enjoyed
Der Schiffer which is probably the best pointed of the
cast an exploratory vocal net in this recital and also presented
L'Horizon chimérique. He manages softly to lighten his
big voice in La mer est infinie but something of the
conversational freedom of the writing eludes him as it does
throughout the cycle. It’s at best a very partial viewpoint.
When we turn to Finzi we are on safer linguistic ground. There’s
plenty of verve in Rollicum-rorum where he even overdoes
articulation and underlines certainly words – ‘modesty’ for
one – in a way that breaks up the line. To Lizbie Browne
suffers a little from the rather unyielding darkness of the
voice; it as yet admits of little sense of loss and pain. Lemalu
sings it, perhaps as he must, as a young man singing theoretically
not as Hardy’s stricken, regretful older man realising ‘I let
is also the salt spray of a quartet of English sea songs -
Ireland, Keel, Head and
the Roger Vignoles-arranged Lowlands, a sea-shanty. It’s especially fine to hear Michael Head’s
The Estuary with its semi-parlando central section.
welcome re-release then of a youthful talent. Vignoles accompanies
with great sympathy and perception. There are no texts.