Into the Fire

BBC Music Magazine - - Choral & Song Reviews -

De­bussy: Trois chan­sons de Bili­tis; F Gru­ber: Si­lent Night; Jake Heg­gie: Camille Claudel – Into the Fire; Lekeu: Molto ada­gio sem­pre can­tante do­loroso; R Strauss: Sch­lichte Weisen, Op. 21 Nos 1 & 2; Die Nacht; Mor­gen, etc.

Joyce Di­do­nato (mezzo-so­prano); Brentano Quar­tet

Erato 9029564219 74:57 mins

The most sub­stan­tial item in this live record­ing from Wig­more Hall

(21 De­cem­ber 2017) is Camille Claudel: Into the Fire, Jake Heg­gie’s song-cy­cle to a text by Gene Scheer com­posed in 2012 for Joyce Di­do­nato and the Alexan­der String Quar­tet (here re­placed by the Brentano Quar­tet). Its sub­ject is the sculp­tor Camille Claudel – for a time Rodin’s lover, but placed in an asy­lum for the last 30 years of her life.

The re­sult is a well-crafted score over 30 min­utes in length. The play­ing is ex­cel­lent, while Di­do­nato sup­plies her usual com­mand and com­mit­ment, though there is lit­tle orig­i­nal­ity in the piece it­self. The rest of the pro­gramme dates from the last decades of the 19th cen­tury, and Heg­gie’s lan­guage feels more or less con­tem­po­rary with that pe­riod.

Heg­gie skil­fully ar­ranges for string quar­tet De­bussy’s Trois

Chan­sons de Bili­tis (1897), with Di­do­nato the calm and col­lected de­liv­erer of Pierre Louÿs’s charged and oc­ca­sion­ally erotic texts.

In the half-dozen Strauss songs ar­ranged by Misha Amory and Mark Stein­berg, Di­do­nato’s ap­proach is mu­si­cianly and light of touch, en­ter­ing into each item with mea­sured tone and a fo­cus on the text. Lekeu’s purely in­stru­men­tal and qui­etly in­tense Molto ada­gio forms a wel­come bonus. Ge­orge Hall

PER­FOR­MANCE ★★★★

RECORD­ING ★★★★

‘Light and mu­si­cianly’: Joyce Di­do­nato is dis­tinc­tive in Strauss

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