14 January 2015
Italian it and I may be, but I don’t get opera and neither do I get its German chamber offshoot, lieder or art song. I love combined voices as in choirs; I love oratorios with soloists (although they are said to be opera without acting); I love a pure soprano singing early music or a matron singing blues or gospel or a skilled jazz singer. But Schubert’s songs leave me flat. Maybe I’ll learn one day but I tried again with tenor David Hobson accompanied on piano by Catherine Day and it’s not yet. Not my scene. He’s much loved, a star of Carols by Candlelight and opera and Messiah and Spicks and Specks. He has a career; his voice is trained and he’s sung repertoire that I love. But these were songs of love and loss and longing and the words were of a period-piece worldview (the trusty tree, the oak that broke, the fading love like morning dew) and they were mostly in German anyway and this style has lots of vibrato. I hear the voice and admire the control. Much the same for the piano. Nice playing and supportive and quite vibrant in some later pieces (Britten?). So this is the fifth concert in this festival and it’s another very different style but it didn’t connect for me. Let the operistas judge this one for I don’t have the heart (or the interest) to. These players deserve better than I can give them. But then, “if you want anymore you can sing it youself, hee-haw” (Britten).
David Hobson (tenor) with accompaniment by Catherine Day (piano) sang songs of love, loss and longing at Her Majesty’s Theatre.