Magazine article Opera Canada

An Die Musik: Schubert Songs and Piano Transcriptions

Magazine article Opera Canada

An Die Musik: Schubert Songs and Piano Transcriptions

Article excerpt

Kevin McMillan, baritone, & Paul Stewart, piano. CBC Records MVCD 1106.

THESE ARE BOTH PERFECTLY ADEQUATE recordings by accomplished artists, but in neither is the repertoire of sufficient originality or interest to mark these recitals as necessary. They both strike me as examples of rather soft programming aspirations.

Gerald Finley's star is rapidly ascendant internationally, and rightly so. His is a well-cultivated baritone, centered and sympathetic, which he uses with intelligence and affecting candor. But it isn't a force-of-nature instrument like Bryn Terfel's, for instance, and Terfel just recently recorded Vaughan Williams' Songs of Travel to overwhelming effect. Finley wisely doesn't even attempt to compete with that kind of vocal amplitude; his approach is more intimate and inward. But there is no question that Terfel has these songs in a "lock" for this generation, and one questions the wisdom of following those massive footsteps. Couldn't less travelled repertoire have been considered? Britten's British and Irish folk-song arrangements are also scarcely a rare commodity, though Finley's singing, with Stephen Ralls' buoyant accompaniment, is very pleasing. …

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