With delightful symmetry, tenor Paul Appleby and collaborative pianist Natalia Katyukova joined forces for a thoroughly satisfying recital with a theme--an exploration of the concept of sehnsucht in the German Romantic tradition. It seemed fitting that we rushed from a recital by current Lindemann artists to one by artists who have used their training with the Lindemann Young Artist Development Program to establish remarkable careers.
We have been following Mr. Appleby's career for some years now and are thrilled to be witness to his artistic growth. But we recall many of his illustrious qualities that were there from the beginning. The rarest quality is that of making audience members feel completely involved. He so loves the music and the poetry and so wants to share it with us that the emotional involvement is beyond intense. It is a rare ineffable quality and adds another layer to his fine vocal technique and gorgeous instrument.
He is completely at ease onstage and without affectation, readily sharing his views on each song with the audience. We feel a part of his experience. Just look at what he did with the four opening Schubert songs, settings of verses by three different poets. "Im Frühling" is a melancholy lament for lost love and we feel the pain deep within. Likewise we feel the joyful memory of a fisherman as he describes a rendezvous with his beloved in "Des Fischers Liebesglück".
Mr. Appleby, well coached by Ms. Katyukova, made a foray into the Russian literature and could not have chosen better than Tchaikovsky. Ms. Katyukova's wildness in "Don Juan's Serenade" and her passionate power in "Does the day reign?" bookended the gentle "Amid the din of the ball". Each one was a gem.
Hearing Fauré's La Bonne Chanson twice in one night was an interesting experience. Mr. Appleby sang the entire cycle of nine songs. His interpretation and vocal quality were so different from Ms. Xu's that we barely recognized the work. We see this as testament to each artist's individuality and originality.
We loved the Argentinean songs in the final set. The sad and charming "Canción al árbol del olvido" in milonga rhythm won our heart. Ms. Katyukova deftly imitated the sound of the cicadas in Carlos Guastavino's "Cita".
Also on the program were four songs by Frank Bridge who taught composition to Benjamin Britten, notable for some rather adventurous piano harmonies. Two encores were given, songs by Paul Bowles. The closing lullabye "Baby, Baby" was delicately rendered and ultimately touching.
© meche kroop