Italian and Neapolitan Songs
Francesco Paolo TOSTI (1846 – 1916)
1. La serenata [3:21]
2. L’ultima canzone [3:51]
3. Addio [4:21]
4. Ideale [3:26]
5. Luna d’estate [2:06]
6. Malia [2:24]
7. Chanson d’adieu [2:31]
8. A vucchella [2:31]
9. Marechiare [2:57]
10. Non t’amo più [4:58]
11. Tristezza [3:37]
12. L’alba separa dalla luce l’ombra [2:03]
Ruggero LEONCAVALLO (1857 – 1919)
13. Mattinata [1:57]
Ottorino RESPIGHI (1879 – 1936)
14. Notte [2:56]
15. Nevicata [2:25]
16. Pioggia [2:25]
17. Nebbie [2:50]
Ernesto De CURTIS (1879 – 1937)
18. Canta pe’ me [2:56]
Pino CALVI (1930 – 1989)
19. Accarezzame [4:11]
Salvatore CADRILLO (1874 – 1947)
20. Core ‘ngrato [4:59]
Ernesto De CURTIS
21. Torna a Surriento [3:17]
Vincenzo Di CHIARA (1860 – 1937)
22. La spagnola [4:19]
Ernesto De CURTIS
23. Senza nisciuno [3:25]
Eduardo Di CAPUA (1865 – 1917)
24. Maria Mari’ [2:59]
Yoram Chaiter (bass), Irena Zelickson-Litchen (piano)
rec. The Classical Studio, Herzliya. No dates given.
sung texts with English translations enclosed
ROMEO RECORDS 7285 [76:59]
A couple of years ago I reviewed a disc with songs by Rachmaninov, Schubert and Brahms – a somewhat odd coupling one may think. (review) The present program is more of a unit. Even though many of the songs are often heard there are a few that are not and the disc is worth hearing for them alone. The singing is not without merit either. When hearing the previous disc I noted Chaiter’s care over nuances and his ability to scale down his rather voluminous instrument to chamber size without losing quality. These are characteristics also applicable to this follow-up disc but there are also a couple of flies in the ointment. The sound can be throaty at times and when singing at forte Chaiter’s tone tends to be gritty. We have to be grateful for so much committed singing of these war-horses and for once not by a tenor. The songs are melodious and agreeable but when sung with operatic histrionics by tenors wanting to show off their uppermost register the result can be rather tiring. Chaiter’s treatment is closer to the parlour or the small concert stage, where they belong.
Of the twelve Tosti songs L’ultima canzone (tr. 2) must be mentioned for its beautiful soft ending and Ideale (tr. 4) for a sensitive second stanza. Malia (tr. 6) is throughout very good and A vucchella (tr. 8) is a bit slower than one usually hears it but the tempo suits the intimate atmosphere that Chaiter aims at. Non t’amo più (tr. 10) is among the best with sensitive inward singing, while L’alba separa (tr. 12) is a bit over the top. This is also the case with Leoncavallo’s well known Mattinata.
It was a good idea to include four songs by Ottorino Respighi. He is best known for his colourful orchestral music, the Roman trilogy in particular, but he was also an opera composer and wrote some attractive songs. They are well worth hearing more often. Not so immediately captivating melodically, they are, however, truly atmospheric and the accompaniments are far more elaborated than in the general Italian song repertoire. Lend your ear to Pioggia (tr. 16), where the rain is graphically depicted in the piano part. Nebbie (tr. 17) on the other hand is very sparse, ascetic even, but expressive.
The rest of the recital is a mix of the well known and the rare. Generally speaking the variation in vocal colouring is very slight and in so long a recital the end result is a certain monotony. Let me pick a few further gems, though: Calvi’s Accarezzame (tr. 19) is a song I can’t remember hearing before. Chaiter obviously has a special affection for it and sings with feeling. Core ’ngrato (tr. 20) would have been better with a more caressing tone but I admired Irena Zelickson-Litchen’s excellent piano playing there. She is splendid in the rest of the numbers as well. A charming example, also new to me, is Di Chiara’s La Spagnola (tr. 22). It’s sung with enthusiasm. De Curtis’s Senza nisciuno (tr. 23) is grand and dramatic – operatic if you like – and sung with great intensity.
Enclosed texts and translations cannot be taken for granted these days but here we get them. Full marks for that.
Maybe the last ounce of vocal refinement is missing from this recital but it is honestly performed. Readers who would like to hear this repertoire from a low voice should contemplate a purchase.
Committed singing of songs that are melodious and agreeable.