PERFORMER: Per Vollestad; Sigmund Hjelset (piano)
CATALOGUE NO: PSC 1071 DDD
Per Vollestad is a young Norwegian baritone who made his debut in 1986 and released his first recital disc, of songs by Schumann and Wolf, three years ago. His voice has a distinct fighting edge, a metallic quality which persists over a wide range, so that at times you can almost imagine it could be cultivated into a tenor.
Though inclined to be unsteady, Vollestad’s voice is heard to advantage in the boldly virile, relatively little-known settings of Sir Walter Scott which end this selection. But Vollestad’s tone is not quite controlled enough, nor sufficiently melting to suggest the discreet serenader in An die Laute, nor does he enter fully into the confiding spirit of Du hist die Ruh. By halfway through the 20 tracks I found his limitations becoming monotonous, and my attention turned increasingly to the mellow legato of the pianist, whose tone, in this recording, blooms as the singer’s does not. Adrian Jack