Edinburgh International Festival music review: Christine Brewer/Roger Vignoles at Queen’s Hall, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Carol Main
With a distinctly uncertain start – possibly down to a hissing noise which was presumably the air-conditioning – soprano Christine Brewer was surprisingly off-colour in her first set of Schubert Lieder on Saturday morning. An die Musik and An Silvia sounded constricted, as if they were unfamiliar, with delivery too aggressive to match the charming Silvia. But by the next song, Nacht und Träume, the noise had gone and the voice opened up with enviable dynamic control reflective of Brewer’s years of experience.
Successful too were touching settings by Clara Schumann and Joseph Marx, the sweet tenderness of his Marienlied preparing the way for four songs by Richard Strauss. Even with the piano lid fully open, Brewer’s rich, firm voice too often overpowered the refined subtlety of Roger Vignoles’ accompaniments. A second half of mainly American lighter numbers might have worked in theory. A dozen different composers, however, with Brewer stopping to introduce each of their songs, made for a challenge in musical coherence, which ultimately was not met even though she made it easy to hear their words and understand their stories.
Published in The Scotsman on 24 August 2015
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