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The Color of the Word
Hugo WOLF (1860 – 1903)
Nachtzauber (Gedichte von Joseph v Eichendorff, No.6) (1880/1888) [4:29]
Nimmerstatte Liebe (Gedichte von Eduard Mörike, No.9) (1888)  [2:26]
Zur ruh, zur Ruh! (Sechs Gedichte von Scheffel, Mörike, Goethe and Kerner, No.6) (1883/1887) [2:49]
Auf einer Wanderung (Gedichte von Eduard Mörike, No.15) (1888) [3:11]
Das verlassene Mägdelein (Gedichte von Eduard Mörike, No.7) (1888) [3:04]
Mein Liebster ist so klein (Italienisches Liederbuch, No.15) (1890/1896) [1:28]
André CAPLET (1878 -1925)
Trois Fables de Jean de la Fontaine (1919) [11:44]
Modest MUSSORGSKY (1839 – 1881)
V chertïryokh stenakh (Within Four Walls) (Sunless No.1) (1874) [2:04]
Pojekhal na palochke (Riding the Wooden Horse) (The Nursery No.6) (1868/1872) [3:45]
Ozornik (The scallywag) (1867) [2:21]
Kolybel'naja (Cradle song) (Songs and Dances of Death No.1) (1875/1877) [5:24]
Kozjol: Svetskaja skazochka (The goat) (1867) [2:18]
Gopak (1866) [3:08]
Claude DEBUSSY (1862 – 1918)
Chansons de Bilitis (1897)
Henry PURCELL (1659 – 1695)
From rosy bow’rs [7:09]
Kind Fortune Smiles (The Tempest) [1:13]
How I sigh when I think of the Charms [00:37]
Nymphs and Shepherds (The Libertine) [1:19]
Georgine Resick (soprano);
Warren Jones (piano)
rec. 26-28 May 2007, Recital Hall of the Performing Arts Center at SUNY Purchase DDD
BRIDGE 9268 [70:13] 

 

Experience Classicsonline


The aim of this recital is to “…draw attention to the art of setting poetry to music in some of its most gloriously successful examples”, so it’s pointless to moan at which composers have been omitted – but no Schubert? After that shock, the next worry is the singer. Ms Resick has a pleasant voice but she isn’t in control of it – there is a pronounced wobble, it is certainly not a vibrato for it’s on every note possible. After a short time the ear tires of the sound. One of the reasons why we can happily listen to the greatest singers – Elisabeth Schumann, Lisa della Casa, Mirella Freni, Isobel Baillie, Art Garfunkel,  – again and again is because they possess a purity of line, they understand that different timbres and different colours of voice, must be used to express the music. Most important of all, they understand that vibrato is an expressive device which must only be used sparingly. I studied voice with a woman who had studied with
Stiles-Allen before the war. She passed on to me the belief and understanding in the voice as a lyrical instrument which had to be kept pure and used to articulate the notes clearly and precisely without any frills. Vibrato was to be kept to a miniumum and the line had to be faultless. A marvellous example of great singing is the 1938 recording of Vaughan Williams’s Serenade to Music where sixteen of the very best British singers of the time perform the music with a purity of line which is seldom heard today. I have the feeling that what can only be described as wobble is taught in music colleges today for I hear students using it all the time. It is an ugly sound and needs to be stamped out as soon as possible. In opera things are slightly different for the orchestra is usually loud and the poor vocalist has to try and project over the sound coming from the pit. I am told, by those who know about these things, that the wobble problem is the same with singers of popular music. 

So what of this recital? It’s certainly an interesting selection of songs, in four languages, by four very great song composers and, indeed, almost any songs by these composers would have worked well together. But the voice is the problem for two reasons. Firstly, the reason already discussed: the voice isn’t easy to listen to because of the sound produced. Secondly Resick employs very little tone colour and, ultimately, everything sounds the same: there is simply too little variety to the vocal sound. She isn’t helped by a rather dull recording, which is without resonance. I wasn’t impressed by Warren Jones’s accompaniments, which sound less than inspired, but, again, he isn’t helped by the recording either. Bridge has done much better recorded sound than this. 

I so much wanted to welcome this recital for it’s an unusual and interesting programme, but for the reasons given I simply cannot bring myself to be more positive.

Bob Briggs


 


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