Hymne a l'amourThese two skilled, accomplished and committed artists gave a wonderful concert of art songs, on the fruitful theme of love, at the Melbourne Recital Centre on Saturday 6th April. The varied, attractive and finely chosen program drew songs from composers such as Schubert and Duparc to Elgar, Bellini and contemporary Australian Dermot Tutty, whose O Where Is the Dove?, with his own lyrics, was a particular highlight.

The concert began with Delibes’ lively and well known Les Filles de Cadiz, always a pleasure, but performed a little too ‘regularly’ on this occasion: perhaps some more deliberate pauses would have been useful. Liszt’s beautiful Oh! Quand je dors followed, then two songs by Henri Duparc. Tutty’s piece, premiered at this concert, is striking, and it would be good to hear more of his art songs, and those of other Australian composers. Many fine Australian love poems, by John Shaw Neilson and Judith Wright, for example, have already been set to music, and are just waiting for presentation by a new generation of singers in concerts like this.

One splendid melody followed another, by Schubert, Hugo Wolf, Richard Strauss, and the finale was Hymne a l’amour, lyrics by Edith Piaf and music by Marguerite Monnot, composer of Irma la Douce. Siobhan Stagg has a warm, skilful voice, accurate and flexible with a beautiful tone and sensitive phrasing, and is well matched by her brilliant accompanist, Amir Farid. The intelligence, generosity and range of this concert were remarkable, and I am glad to relate that the songs have been recorded by Move Records, itself a solid supporter of Australian performers and composers over several decades. If you missed the concert, purchase of the CD is strongly advised!

Melbourne Recital Centre presents
Hymne à l'amour

Siobhan Stagg (soprano) and Amir Farid (piano)

Venue: Salon | Melbourne Recital Centre, Melbourne
Date: 6 April, 2013
Tickets: $35 – $25
Bookings: www.melbournerecital.com.au

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