Taking the lied and developing roses

Donna Balson (piano) and Jill Sullivan (mezzo-soprano). Photograph: Len Energy.

Music / “The Time of Roses”. At Wesley Music Centre, October 16. Reviewed by DANTE COSTA.

ART Tune Canberra’s “The Time of Roses” was introduced by mezzo-soprano Jill Sullivan and pianist Donna Balson who explored the flowering of the romantic lied.

The duo set the viewers adrift with the divine sounds, whereas following the lied’s growth over time by way of the works of varied composers. All through the cleverly curated program, roses served as a motif in a narrative that symbolised the human life cycle and a spectrum of feelings from love and pleasure to grief and unhappiness.

Opening with Beethoven’s “Adelaide Op.46”, Sullivan and Balson’s presence instantly lit up the room. The piece was properly balanced and delicate, which demonstrated a excessive diploma of musicality by the duo. This was then adopted by Wagner’s “Im Tiebhaus” and “Traüme”, which supplied a heavier, extra solemn temper. Sullivan’s delicate inflections conjured up the music’s emotional character and notions of being sunken beneath the intoxicating energy of affection and need for one thing unattainable.

Impressed by an outdated Irish folks music, Mendelssohn’s “Fantasia in E main – The Final Rose of Summer season” was carried out for solo piano. Balson’s enjoying was extremely delicate and tender, which portrayed a picture of a lonely rose, nearing the tip of its life in the summertime warmth. The notes flew effortlessly beneath her fingers because the sparsely ornamented melody developed in a theme and variation – or reasonably what Balson advised as “improvisation and response”.

Combining the following items into one seamless work had been a set of 5 lieds by Brahms. A mixture of giddy, harmless quick works equivalent to “Botschaft Op.47, No.1”, “O komme holder Sommernacht Op.58, No.4”, and “Meine Liebe ist Grün Op.63, No.5” weaved their means round extra poignant and plaintive items equivalent to “Sapphisches Ode Op.94, No.4” and “Immer leise wird mein Schlummer Op.105, No.2”.

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Following an interval, the duo resumed the stage with numerous magical and transient works by Greig, Mahler and Strauß. Balson then introduced one more association of “The Final Rose of Summer season,” this time by English composer, Benjamin Britten. Straying from the romantic German lied theme, this piece was a welcomed nuanced gem in this system. Regardless of conveying an affection of loneliness and seclusion, the music couldn’t have been extra vibrant as Balson expressed the wealthy harmonies on the piano. She moved with such grace and command of her instrument that the music effortlessly wove its means across the room.

The ultimate items of the live performance had been a set of seven compositions by Sibelius; “Flickan kom I frän Op.37, No.5”, “Illale Op.17, No.6”, “Kom nu hit, Död Op.60, No.1”, “De bägge rosorna Op.88, No.2”, “Norden Op.90, No.1”, “Diamanten på marssnon Op.90, No.6”, and “Svartor rosor Op.36, No.1”. Seldom carried out in favour of extra mainstream French, German and, Italian repertoire, these works in Swedish and Finnish had been really beautiful. Sullivan’s singing displayed unbelievable dynamic selection and expression which showcased the vary of feelings illustrated within the poems. Her mellow and dulcet decrease register was complimented by the sunshine arpeggiated strains of Balson on the piano. The sweep of enthusiasm and innocence of younger love by way of to the notion of intense grief had been conveyed convincingly by each musicians.

Concluding with a seemingly extra sprightly encore piece, Sullivan and Balson introduced a splendidly curated program that showcased the blooming of the romantic lied laced with an apt imagery of roses and nature. Total, it was each a convincing and pleasing efficiency.

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Ian Meikle, editor