Marche caractéristique, D968b
Deutscher mit Zwei Trios und Zwei Ländler, D618
March Héroïque, D602
Songs to Poems by Goethe, Mayrhofer, von Collin & Heine Lachner
Das Fischermädchen (Heine)
Ein Traumbild (Heine)
Die einsame Träne (Heine)
Mark Padmore (tenor)
Ronan Collett (baritone)
Richard Watkins (horn)
Roger Vignoles & Lindy Tennent-Brown (piano)
Schubert Birthday Concert
Monday, January 31, 2005 Wigmore Hall, London
Reviewed by William Yeoman
Ill health deprived us not only of Philip Langridges account of Schwanengesang, but also, due to the amended programme, the Cantata to Salieris 50th-anniversary (D441) and Klage um Ali Bey (D140). But one persons loss is anothers gain, and one of Schuberts closest friends (he was present at his deathbed) instead got a look in, with the Wigmore Hall (possibly for the first time) resounding to the wonderfully dramatic (if slightly unimaginative) settings of Heine by Franz Paul Lachner (1803-90). Convincingly sung too, by Mark Padmore, surely one of Britains finest tenors at the moment; in fact, Padmore sounded his best in selling these songs Im sure much of his Schubert could have benefited from such a robust treatment.
Following an enjoyable set of three pieces for piano/four-hands, played with panache and a good sense of fun by Roger Vignoles and the young New Zealander Lindy Tennent-Brown, Mark Padmore launched into a set of six songs (accompanied by Vignoles): a galloping Willkommen und Abschied, a largely delicate Schäfers Klagenlied, a sparkling Ganymede (Vignoles superb here with the animated piano part), a stormy Der Schiffer, Nachtstück beautifully meditative and with a nicely achieved pianissimo ending, and finally a rather disappointing Nacht und Traüme, Padmore not quite floating the tone for that all-important first swelling note. Overall, much here to admire, but perhaps just a little too refined and elegant, and dare I say it, anaemic.
Not the word youd use to describe baritone Ronan Colletts big performances of the six Heine settings from Schwanengesang. A Wigmore Young Artist and current student of David Lowe and Iain Ledingham at the Royal Academy of Music opera programme, Collett pulled out all the stops, thereby swinging too much in the other direction to Padmore; the performances were overly theatrical and lacked subtlety. But the voice is very attractive indeed, resonant and warm. Least impressive was Das Fischermädchen (needing a lighter touch); most was Der Doppelgänger (just the right amount of melodrama).
Mark Padmore then returned, joined by Vignoles and Richard Watkins on horn, to finish the evening with Schuberts homage to Beethoven, Das Abendrot. Separately all three performers were exemplary; together the balance didnt seem right, the horn especially completely smothering Padmores voice in the louder passages. A less than perfect end, then, to a less than perfect if enjoyable evenings entertainment.