We are here to encourage the development of gifted young singers and to stimulate the growth of New York City's invaluable chamber opera companies. But we will not neglect the Metropolitan Opera either. Get ready for bouquets and brickbats.

Sunday, May 5, 2013


Lachlan Glen and Edward Parks
The poet paints a picture for the listener, poetry being conceived as a spoken art form; the composer of a lied adds another layer; the singer adds yet another.  Last night, for Schubert&Co.'s final recital, the master's Schwanengesang was chosen--his last published cycle.  It is a lovely and familiar group of songs but not an actual cycle as in Die Winterreise or Die Schöne Müllerin.  In this opus, Schubert has set texts by only three poets, seven by Rellstab, six by Heine and the closing lied by Seidl.

Who better to perform this than baritone Edward Parks and collaborative pianist Lachlan Glen!  Together they brightened the colors of the paintings and elucidated the outlines.  We heard these familiar songs as if for the first time with all the thrill of fresh discoveries.  Here, a brook murmuring in "Liebesbotschaft"; there, a strange and eerie arpeggio of a diminished A chord in "Die Stadt".  Voice and piano swelled together on the phrase "wasser schwoll" in "Am Meer".

Mr. Parks is a consummate artist and sings as if he were composing the words at that very moment, such is his involvement with the text.  His voice is naturally warm but comes across as powerful when that is called for.  The sweetness of "Liebesbotschaft"  gave way to the terror of death in "Kriegers Ahnung" and the restlessness of "Frühlingssehnsucht".  The tender and passionate "Ständchen" (our personal favorite) was followed by the tormented and tumultuous "Aufenthalt", the sorrowful "In die Ferne" and the cheerful "Abschied".  The romantic "Das Fischermädchen" led to the eerie "Die Stadt", the despairing "Der Doppelgänger", the tearful "Ihr Bild", the weighty "Der Atlas" and finally to the joyful "Die Taubenpost".

Mr. Parks is riveting as an artist.  He is unfussy in his movement and does his acting with vocal coloring, phrasing of exemplary musicality, finely tuned dynamic variety and accurate German diction.  One could not imagine Schubert better served.

Do not being surprised if there will be another post-series recital this month to make up for some of the songs that got left out due to singer indisposition.  We couldn't be happier about this piece of news.  We can never get enough Schubert!

1 comment:

  1. I was there last night and it was a thrilling end to an incredible series. We can only hope that Lachlan and Jonathan and their incredible vocalist treat to another festival soon!