Edinburgh International Festival 2011 (6) – Keenlyside and Martineau bring passion and warmth to a varied song recital

22/08/2011

 Simon Keenlyside sings Mahler, Duparc, Debussy, R Strauss and Schubert: Simon Keenlyside (baritone), Malcolm Martineau (piano). Usher Hall, 19.8.2011 (SRT)

Coming to Simon Keenlyside so soon after a comparable recital by Bo Skovhus was like moving from the fog into glorious sunshine. Where Skovhus sounded uncertain and lacking in focus, Keenlyside relaxed into singing of glorious confidence. His Mahler segment, covering much of the same material as Skovhus, showed his interpretative skills at their finest, sardonic and witty in St Anthony’s sermon to the fish, expansive and lyrical in the Rückert songs. He invested the youthful songs, like Ich ging mit Lust and Frühlingsmorgen, with all the passion and warmth of the mature composer and he showed marvellous breath control in the long-spun phrases of the Wunderhorn trifle, Wer hat dies Liedlein erdacht.

Outstanding technique was also on display for a marvellous set of Schubert songs, especially the astonishing Goethe setting of Prometheus, and he crowned the recital with a wonderful reading of Im Walde, one of the composer’s most extraordinary songs.

Excellent technique was also in evidence for the altogether more muscular settings of Strauss, more creamy tone matching the complex melodic language of the piano, brilliantly played by Malcolm Martineau. The ardent longing of Befreit sat a little uncomfortably next to the heady fin-de-siècle imagery of Rosenband, but that endlessly beautful farewell showed Keenlyside at his best, suggesting great depths beneath the simple surface, and achieving extraordinary pathos in the final cry of O Glück!

If anything, though, it was the French selection that showed him at his finest. The richness of the open vowels fitted the velvety beauty of his voice like a glove, and he was excellent at expressing the barely repressed erotic tension in Duparc’s Phidylé. Nor was he afraid to tap into the touch of the Music-Hall about the Debussy songs, and Martineau also seemed to relish the fun of these accompaniments while summoning playing of incredible beauty for the descending thirds of Nuit d’étoiles. A superb recital from an extraordinary pairing.

The Edinburgh International Festival runs until 4th September in a range of venues across the city. A selection of performances will be reviewed in these pages. For full details go to www.eif.co.uk

Simon Thompson

Comments

Comments are closed.

Recent Reviews

MW

Facebook-button-1

Season Previews

__________________________________
  • NEW! 2019 BBC Proms 19 July – 14 September __________________________________
  • NEW! Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! Zurich Opera House in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! English National Opera in 2019-2020 __________________________________
  • NEW! Leeds Lieder Announces 2019 Art-Song Festival __________________________________
  • NEW! Adrian Partington Introduces the 2019 Three Choirs Festival in Conversation with John Quinn __________________________________
  • NEW! ENB in 2019-2020 and Updates on their New London City Island Home __________________________________
  • NEW! Let’s Dance International Frontiers 29 April – 11 May 2019 in Leicester __________________________________
  • NEW! Classical Music and Other Events at the Southbank Centre in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! Longborough Festival Opera’s 2019 Season __________________________________
  • UPDATED! Cleveland Orchestra in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! Classical Music at the Barbican in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! The Met: Live in HD in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! Carnegie Hall 2019-2020 Season Highlights __________________________________
  • NEW! Bampton Classical Opera’s 2019 Performances of Stephen Storace’s Gli sposi malcontenti __________________________________
  • NEW! Nevill Holt Opera’s 2019 Season __________________________________
  • UPDATED! 2019 Aldeburgh Festival and Snape Proms in June and August __________________________________
  • Subscribe to Review Summary Newsletter

    Reviews by Reviewer

    News and Featured Articles

    __________________________________
  • NEW! Chelsea Opera Group Perform Anton Rubinstein’s The Demon on 30 June __________________________________
  • NEW! CONDUCTOR PIETARI INKINEN IN CONVERSATION WITH GREGOR TASSIE __________________________________
  • NEW! When Music is Indistinguishable from Drama by Jack Buckley __________________________________
  • NEW! CONDUCTOR MAXIM EMELYANYCHEV IN CONVERSATION WITH GREGOR TASSIE __________________________________
  • NEW! In August Fulham Opera’s Most Ambitious Project to Date – Die Meistersinger Von Nürnberg __________________________________
  • R.I.P. IN MEMORIAM ANDRÉ PREVIN (1929-2019) __________________________________
  • NEW! CHRISTOPHE ROUSSET IN CONVERSATION WITH COLIN CLARKE __________________________________
  • NEW! PIANIST MARC-ANDRÉ HAMELIN IN CONVERSATION WITH GEOFFREY NEWMAN __________________________________
  • CONDUCTOR ÁDÁM FISCHER IN CONVERSATION WITH MICHAEL COOKSON __________________________________
  • SOPRANO ELENA MOȘUC IN CONVERSATION WITH CASEY CREEL __________________________________
  • MAESTRO RICCARDO FRIZZA IN CONVERSATION WITH MARGARIDA MOTA-BULL __________________________________
  • NEW! A Q&A WITH GERMAN SOPRANO PETRA LANG __________________________________
  • HOW TO CONTACT SEEN AND HEARD INTERNATIONAL __________________________________
  • NEW! THE TENOR RUSSELL THOMAS IN CONVERSATION WITH MARGARIDA MOTA-BULL __________________________________
  • Search S&H

    Archives by Week

    Archives by Month