<< -- 2 -- John Bell Young Immeasurably sophisticated
But he is just as much at home in the gossamer, lighthearted songs such
as Voyage à Paris and the mercurial Paganini. Not a
word is wasted as he underlines both the structural function and textual
implications of every syllable. In the wistful, indescribably elegant Hotel,
where Poulenc evokes a daydream, a moment of abstraction inspired by a puff
of cigarette smoke illuminated by a glimmer of sunlight, Mr Sperry is perfection.
In the minute and a half it takes to sing, he ushers us into a world of
tender perspectives and isolated regrets. Elsewhere, in Les chemins de
l'amour, Mr Sperry wraps us comfortingly in the soulful embrace
of this song of love, giving us to feel that, in spite of all the troubles
of the day, everything will be all right.
Now in his sixties, Mr Sperry's voice has lost something of its
once youthful sheen, but what he has gained in its place is so immeasurably
sophisticated, ardent and artistic as to render any vocal compromises insignificant.
Poulenc's songs are pristine studies in musical characterization. Mr
Sperry is not only up to the challenge, but transcends it in these consistently
magical performances. Ian Hobson proves an ideal collaborator, his playing
at once thoughtful, deftly characterized and wholly idiomatic.
Copyright © 27 February 2002
John Bell Young, Tampa, Florida, USA
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