Magazine article Gramophone

'If the Owl Calls Again'

Magazine article Gramophone

'If the Owl Calls Again'

Article excerpt

If the Owl Calls Again' [G]

Bridge Three Songs Caplet Ecoute mon coeur Delage Quatre Poemes hindous Kanter Abboen. Onbot. Arapka Martin Trois Chants de Noel Marx Durch einsamkeiten. Adagio Mussorgsky Prayer. Evening Prayer. The soul flew quietly through the celestial skies Ravel Deux Melodies hebrai'ques Christianne Stotijn mez Antoine Tamestit va Rick Stotijn db Joseph Breinl pf Oxalys Warner Classics [F] 5419 63937-5 (62' * DDD)

Song recitals don't come much more eclectic than this. In the booklet interview Christianne Stotijn reveals her fascination with the owl both as a source of wisdom and as a 'philosophical recognition of nature, of where we come from'. With Alaskan poet John Haines's 'If the owl calls again' as epigraph, the owl becomes the inspiration for a programme of religious and contemplative songs that, in Stotijn's words, express 'both the deepest resonance of the primal force and the voice of uncertainty and doubt'.

You'll look in vain, though, for the nocturnal bird of prey in the songs themselves, which range from the limpid innocence of Frank Martin's Chants de Noel via the sultry orientalisms of Ravel and Delage to the Romantic passion and melancholy of Bridge's early songs with viola. As you might suspect, soulful slowness prevails. Yet the varied sonorities and idioms, and Stotijn's range of colour and emotional intensity, preclude any whiff of monotony.

Stotijn also proves herself something of a linguistic virtuoso, whether singing in idiomatic French, English or (in two neoStraussian songs by Joseph Marx) German, or intoning the contemporary Dutch composer Fant de Kanter's Aramaic and Yiddish prayers with keening urgency. …

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