Music Review: Soprano Julia Bullock Gives a Virtuoso Recital

By Miller, Sarah Bryan | St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO), April 1, 2016 | Go to article overview

Music Review: Soprano Julia Bullock Gives a Virtuoso Recital


Miller, Sarah Bryan, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)


Soprano Julia Bullock, who grew up in Webster Groves, returned to her hometown on Wednesday to give one of the finest vocal recitals heard here in years.

The main auditorium at the Sheldon Concert Hall was filled with an enthusiastic audience. They weren't disappointed. Bullock is the complete package, with a lovely rich voice that's well-trained and intelligently used; commanding stage presence and consistent connection with the audience; rock-solid languages and musicality; an attractive person; a thoughtfully chosen program that consistently entertained and, at times, challenged the listener; and a clear passion for what she does.

The program opened with a setting by Henry Cowell (1897-1943), "How Old Is Song," an unusual but captivating piece that had the excellent accompanist, Renate Rohlfing, playing the piano's strings as if it were a zither.

From there, they moved on to "Cinq melodies populaires grecques (Five Popular Greek Melodies)," a varied group of songs by Ravel (1875-1937); a two-song Scandinavian group by the Swedish composer Wilhelm Stenhammar (1871-1927) and the Norwegian Edvard Grieg (1843- 1907), with texts by Hans Christian Andersen and Henrik Ibsen; and a group of four songs by Kurt Weill (1900-1950), two in German, two in English, and all quite different from what went before.

After intermission, the pair returned with "She Is Asleep," a nifty piece by John Cage (1912-1992), in which Bullock sang on vowels and Rohlfing played percussion on the piano. …

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