Songs in English | Art Song PerthLeft – (l-r) Carly Power, Kristen Bowtell, Aidan Deasy (seated), Emma Pettemerides, Makoto Harris Takao, Marilyn Phillips

The group Art Song used to be known as The Lieder Society, sensibly they changed their name, making them, more accessible to audiences and furthermore broadening their repertoire. Now they can serenade audiences in French, English, Spanish and who knows what else linguistically?

It’s a very good thing too, because their musicality and talent deserves a broad audience.

Emma Pettemerides ,soprano, Carly Power, soprano, Kristen Bowtell, baritone Aidan Deasey, lute and  Makato Harris Takao, viola da gamba performed, accompanied  beautifully and sensitively by Marilyn Phillips on piano.

To begin with let me say that the acoustics in this little church hall were excellent. Both Pettemerides and Power have exceptional voices and superb breath control.

Pettemerides opened with Let the florid music praise which set the scene nicely for the entertainment to follow

The early composer Purcell (1659-1695) featured Power enunciating superbly. She was charmingly accompanied by viola da gamba and lute singing Strike the viol. Aiden Deasy and Makoto Harris Takao spoke briefly about their respective instruments.

O come my dearest (Thomas Arne), As I walked forth and Care-charming sleep by Robert Johnson called for warbling trills and marvellous elongated phrasing. Johnson, interestingly, was a composer often used to create the music for Shakespeare’s plays in his own lifetime.

This last was followed by Powers’ winning introduction of Purcell’s “mad song” Sweeter than roses a song about a woman scorned. Amusingly her eccentricities increased dramatically as the “madness” (read fury) rose to a crescendo.

The Faithless Shepherdess, part of a trio of songs by Roger Quilter performed by beautifully by Emma Pettemerides.

Yellow roses in a vase by contemporary composer Jake Heggie and sung by Kristen Bowtell was poignant and moving.

On a more cheerful note Power sang My Bird and there was a gorgeous duet Bird songs at eventide with Pettemiredes and Power in perfect unison.

The first half closed with Damroch’s gloomy tale Danny Deever, allegedly President Rooseveldt’s favourite song, delivered in an appropriately sombre mode by Bowtell.

A lighter tone prevailed in the second half of the performance with the party piece Memories about the curtain up at a popular theatre. La Belle Dame Sans Merci was introduced by Bowtell pointing out the image on the programme of the Millet painting and referring to the Pre-Raphaelite movement and it’s preoccupation with tragically artistic subjects.

A lovely version of Silver, the Walter de la Mare poem was appropriately shiny and polished Then Power has a bit of fun with another Walter de La Mere poem set to music. A song about cats entitled Five eyes.

Pettemerides delivered a bracketof lighter songs, particularly enjoyable was thereproachful Wapping old stairs (anon) sung by Molly to her errant lover Tom.

I wonder as I wander, She’s like the swallow and the delightful love song Lemady were delivered with verve by Bowtell. He then charmed the audience with a wonderfulrendition of, Edward Lear’s The Owl and the pussycat sung with relish and wit.

A Grieg work by Carly Power was enchanting. My Johann was as close to risqué as the period allowed. Hearty applause won a cheerful encore.

An excellent evening’s entertainment. Well worth looking out for further offerings from this accomplished ensemble.


Art Song Perth presents
Songs in English

Venue: Church of the Resurrection | 105 Shenton Road, Swanbourne WA
Dates: 12 March 2016
Tickets: $35 – $20
Bookings: /www.artsongperth.org.au