Bachelet, Schubert, Strauss and Poulenc

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Bachelet,Schubert,Strauss and Poulenc
LABELS: EMI Debut
ALBUM TITLE: Sally Matthews
WORKS: Songs by Bachelet, Schubert, Strauss and Poulenc
PERFORMER: Sally Matthews (soprano), Malcolm Martineau (piano), Thomas Watmough (clarinet)
CATALOGUE NO: 5 85968 2
Here’s a first recording to confirm every fine impression that this BBC New Generation artist has been making on concert platforms and in the opera house. Sally Matthews brings a matchless vocal conviction to everything she sings, with a voice that is sumptuous and all of a piece from burnished top to smoky bottom. More than that she proudly possesses that sine qua non of Lieder singing, each song turned into a miniature drama. Schubert’s ‘Der Hirt auf dem Felsen’ can indeed be a rocky ride for the wary, but Matthews handles the long held notes and the extended phrasing of the middle section magnificently. And then in the closing Allegretto ‘Der Frühling wir kommen’ she bubbles with as much delight as Thomas Watmough’s clarinet. Richard Strauss holds no terrors for this voice – though here and elsewhere Matthews diction can be cloudy – while Poulenc’s Fiançailles pour rire reveals another facet of an almost fully shaped musical personality. Malcolm Martineau, ever the most generous of pianists, relishes the louche bluesy melody of ‘Violon’ and Matthews partners him with her own languid sliding vocal line. When did you last hear portamento used to such effect? Delectable. Christopher Cook

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