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<<  -- 2 --  David Wilkins    A VOICE TO CHERISH


In the Debussy Chansons de Bilitis we get the first clear indication of the spectacularly clean accompaniment of Gilbert Kalish. Sometimes you feel an especial need of that when the singing tends towards the slightly prissy. But Upshaw's weighting of the notes is always carefully considered and exact even when the enunciation might be a tad too studied. The sense of the orgasmic and the post-coital collapse is spine-tingling in La Chevelure [listen -- track 3, 1:45-2:49]. It has everything of the tenderness and regret associated with the 'little death' of love's fruition.

While there's plenty of rhythmic sharpness from Kalish in the songs from the Messiaen cycle Harawi, it's possible to think that Upshaw is sacrificing something of precision to the beauty of tone -- but why not? This is the stuff of unrestrained release -- hardly a place for a handy metronome and the prison of barlines! There's certainly an unmistakable degree of luminosity in Amour oiseau d'étoile -- not the ultimate in sensuality but the teasing twinklings in the piano inhabit the same sexiness as the Turangalîla Symphony [listen -- track 6, 0:01-1:07].

The surprise interpolation is the Lúa descolorida (Colourless Moon) of Osvaldo Golijov. It was written for Upshaw, since re-arranged to figure in the composer's St Mark Passion and is an Erbarme dich for our times. It might contain something of Canteloube or Villa-Lobos but is placed and paced with extraordinary emotional impact [listen -- track 7, 2:01-3:06].

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Copyright © 2 March 2005 David Wilkins, Eastbourne UK


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