Schubert, Berdi, Donizetti, Bellin, Rossini & Verdi

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COMPOSERS: Bellin,Berdi,Donizetti,Rossini & Verdi,Schubert
ALBUM TITLE: Lawrence Brownlee
WORKS: Italian songs
PERFORMER: Lawrence Brownlee, Martin Katz
CATALOGUE NO: 586 5032
The young American tenor, who makes his Covent Garden debut this month in Lorin Maazel’s 1984 and who featured in Rattle’s recording of Carmina Burana reviewed last month, specialises in the bel canto repertoire. This collection draws on songs from that tradition, with its central compositional figures to the fore, but with the Viennese Franz Schubert – here partly emulating Italian models in setting that language – not inappropriately thrown in. Brownlee himself proves an adept performer of this music, his characteristic, highly flavoured tone skilfully used in stylish and technically fine renditions, delivered with excellent diction.


He has a little way to go, however, in shaping phrases with dynamic variety to match classic performers of such material, like the late Alfredo Kraus. But you feel certain he’ll get there.


Particularly enjoyable are Bellini’s ‘La ricordanza’, an offcut from his last opera, I puritani, a version of Rossini’s famous ‘La danza’ that has particular spirit and élan, and a sonically credible one of Verdi’s portrait of a chimney sweep. George Hall