Operatic, theatrical, storied, poetic, cross-generational and inclusive, it was all about love. The incredible joy the audience at Breinton felt in this performance by baritone Roderick Williams and pianist Iain Burnside will not be easily surpassed.
Roderick had this extraordinary ability to draw in the audience from the moment he walked on stage – a true performer in every sense. The programme they had curated for us portrayed the multidimensional aspects of love and dating from baroque to modern times, showcasing numerous tones of voice. What pure delight it was to hear Purcell’s songs, with lovely expression and crystal-clear diction. Young Rachmaninov’s passionate and desperate Oh No, I beg you, forsake me not and Debussy’s haunted calmness Beau Soir, both sung in their original language, made my hairs stand on the back of my neck.
The melodic and enchanting German songs were pure delights with shivering beauty, and what followed them was an astonishing set of entertaining works by living female composers, each making a strong statement.
By the time the performers reached their last song Tell me the Truth about Love by Benjamin Britten, the audience in the house was ready to roar with pleasure.
The partnership between Roderick and Iain was flawless – I so enjoyed the pianistic beauty expertly brought by Iain, ranging from the simple accompaniment of Purcell, atmospheric Debussy, dynamic flowing passages of Rachmaninov, the romantic beauty of the German songs, to powerfully charged modern songs.
Never mind that it was a mid-week evening, the sell-out recital was packed with music enthusiasts, who I am sure went home overjoyed and uplifted.