Weill • Korngold • A Mahler • Zemlinsky

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Weill; Korngold; A Mahler; Zemlinsky
ALBUM TITLE: Thousands of Miles
WORKS: Songs by Weill, Korngold, A Mahler and Zemlinsky
PERFORMER: Kate Lindsey (mezzo-soprano), Baptiste Trotignon (piano)


Free play with Weill, jazz-piano improvisations included, and fidelity to late-Romantic German Lieder offset by charm and atmosphere are the unusual components of an experimental recital programme. Billed as ‘Kate Lindsey with Baptiste Trotignon’, it reveals the jazz pianist, who shows luminous classical credentials here too, as equal to the mezzo’s multi-hued originality. Weill’s ‘Trouble Man’ and ‘Je ne t’aime pas’ reach suitably impassioned heights. Lindsey’s full upper register – so impressive when she sang Strauss’s Composer at Glyndebourne – burns in Alma Mahler’s interesting if not quite text-friendly ‘Hymne’, to a text by Novalis mixing love with the Last Supper. Yet subtlety is mostly the keynote; the microphone loves the voice at its most confidential. Trotignon’s short improvisations are bliss, though in one of the four Weill doubles, it’s frustrating only to get the first verse of ‘Pirate Jenny’ – Lindsey’s delivery of the Blitzstein text promises to come close to the inimitable Nina Simone – before it morphs into the marginally less compelling Barbara Song.

‘Lonely House’ from Street Scene is cool rather than heartachey, but I love the twinkling lights of the Buddy on the Nightshift/Berlin in Licht duo, light to the dark of a powerful chest voice in an unorthodox ‘Denn wie Mann sich better’ from Mahagonny. And light bulbs give way to star candles in the finest of the late Romantic settings, Zemlinsky’s ‘Und hat der Tag all seine Qual’. I’d like to hear more of Lindsey and Trotignon together in this repertoire.

David Nice


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