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.

Monday, April 1, 2013


Ken Noda
The collaborative piano work at Schubert&Co. has left nothing to be desired; Artistic Directors Jonathan Ware and Lachlan Glen are equally superb.  Still, to have the illustrious Ken Noda to come and play with tenor Alexander Lewis is another feather in the Schubert&Co. cap.  Mr. Lewis hails from Down Under but his singing is strictly Tip Top; his musical theater background served him well in the set of songs in which a very young Schubert availed himself of the poetry of Ludwig Christoph Heinrich Hölty.

Mr. Lewis interpreted the songs with as much nuance as Mr. Noda did at the piano, emphasizing every subtlety.  We enjoyed the seasonal contrast between "Winterlied" and "Frühlingslied" but we especially loved "Die Mainacht" and would love to hear Schubert's setting on the same program as Brahms'.  In "Die frühe Liebe" the humor was conveyed with Mr. Lewis' entire body.  Fortuately, the songs had been committed to memory and there was no music stand interposed between his intense performance and the appreciation of the audience.

The remainder of the program was superb in different ways.  Mezzo Jazimina Macneil's warm and richly round voice plus astute word coloring  were well used in the opening set, settings of poetry by Aloys Wilhelm Schreiber, Josef Ludwig Stoll and Johann Ladislaus Pyrker.  Mr. Ware's soft touch in the piano gave way to some powerful playing that emphasized the mystery and awe of Pyrker's "Die Allmacht".  That was some fine teamwork!

Soprano Simone Easthope has a brilliant sound that resonates to the farthest reaches of Central Presbyterian Church, where most of these Schubert@Co. recitals are held.  Mr. Glen's piano and her voice melded to perfection in two of our favorite Rückert lieder "Du bist die Ruh" and "Sei mir gegrüsst".  Familiarity tends to please the ear and we were contemplating how much more we would appreciate a second and third hearing of some of the less well known lieder we have been hearing all year at these thrilling recitals.

And finally let us commend the outstanding baritone Michael Kelly who was also accompanied by Mr. Ware.  Two lovely Schreiber songs, the romantic "Der Blumenbrief" and "Das Marienbild" were followed by the familiar "Lachen und Weinen" with its poignant major-minor shifts and the unbearably mournful "Das ich hier gewesen" with its descending scale motif.  One could write an entire paragraph on what Mr. Kelly did with the word "verlangen" in Rückert's "Greisengesang".

Once again Schubert&Co has provided us lieder lovers with a cause to rejoice.  Our Easter basket has been filled to overflowing.

© meche kroop


No comments:

Post a Comment