Saturday, January 30, 2010

Awards 2009: Solo Vocal

Ravel: Songs
Gerald Finley; Julius Drake

As Christopher Dingle writes in BBC Music Magazine, "When it comes to Ravel's songs, there is hardly an embarrassment of riches in the catalogue", but, Robert A. Moore says in ARG, "this [album] allows you to hear most of his best ones". David Vernier on Classics Today completes the thought: "Canadian Gerald Finley and his superb piano partner Julius Drake have not only satisfied a catalog deficiency, but they also have created an essential entry into the Ravel discography." Does any more need to be said? Sure, why not. Moore continues, "In an ever-expanding field of wonderful baritones, Finley is one of today's half-dozen finest, and his partnership with Drake has produced a succession of truly marvelous recordings". As for the music itself, Gramophone's Geoffrey Norris says "the mood might be robust or rarefied, but Ravel's sense of colour and atmosphere is infallible". "Riches indeed", concludes Dingle.

Schumann: Frauenliebe und -leben; Brahms: 8 Songs, op.57; etc. Lorraine Hunt Lieberson; Julius Drake [Wigmore Hall Live]
Schubert: Lieder. Elizabeth Watts; Roger Vignoles [RCA]
Schubert: Winterreise. Mark Padmore; Paul Lewis [Harmonia Mundi]
Tchaikovsky: Romances. Christianne Stotijn; Julius Drake [Onyx]
(Yes, that's right - Julius Drake is accompanist on 3 of the 5 discs here)

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