A concert to celebrate the ninetieth birthday
of composer Joseph Horovitz,
reviewed by MALCOLM MILLER
There was festive sparkle in the air at the climax of the Park Lane Group's Wigmore Hall concert on 13 June 2016 to celebrate the ninetieth birthday of composer Joseph Horovitz, with the resonant glow of soprano Susanna Fairbairn's resilient lyricism soaring above a rousing audience rendition of 'Happy Birthday' with the composer on the concert platform. The celebratory mood was apt following a superb recital as part of the PLG's own sixtieth anniversary in which Susanna Fairbairn, expertly partnered by Matthew Schellhorn, offered a welcome chance to appreciate a selection of Horovitz's music for solo voice in context; the quality of their performances augurs well for a recording by the artists, which one hopes may follow in the near future.
The programme opened with a wonderful selection of six of Debussy's Ariettes oubliées, displaying a remarkably impressive voice full of richness and colour; whilst experienced on the operatic stage, including roles with English Touring Opera, here Fairbairn showed nuanced interpretation in the smaller scale song genre, with evocative contrasts and emphases to convey the imagery of Verlaine's poetry. Matthew Schellhorn's responsiveness both to music and singer added to the involving experience, with Debussy's harmonic textural details beautifully underlined and exciting passionate interplay as in the shimmery canvas of 'Il pleure dans mon coeur' and the stark unisons of 'Cheveaux de Bois', with plangent tolling bells to close...
Copyright © 16 June 2016