Sunday October 22nd
This song recital certainly lived up to its intriguing title, presenting a highly unusual and deeply spiritual programme. The theme of human mortality and beyond figured prominently so that as Cordula Kempe points out in the excellent programme it was inevitably ‘autumnal in tone colour and facets. These ‘Thoughts’ describe our condition in the Here and Now and point beyond it’. Dame Judi Dench in her introduction rightly comments that it is a subject that concerns us all, not just at this time of year. The titles of some of the songs, which presented a great variety of music spanning three centuries, give a flavour of the evening; Schumann’s ‘Requiem’, Schubert’s ‘Gravedigger’s Longing’ and ‘Glimpses of Heaven’, Hugo Wolfe’s ‘Prayer’, Brahms ‘In the Churchyard’and Mahler’s ‘I am lost to the world’ and ‘Primal Light’. It was German romantic poets at their best and serious stuff. As one of the songs stated ‘the breath of God is felt’, Indeed, with the remarkable musical and dramatic talents of tenor Kieran Carrel and pianist Zuzanna Basinska the sparks from heaven at time became flames in a performance that was almost painfully beautiful.
Kieran has a remarkably youthful voice with superb control and pitch, particularly in the pianissimo passages. He is exceptionally expressive and sang with extraordinary intensity in a programme that was obviously deeply personal and well considered. He was very ably and fittingly accompanied by the angelic playing of Zuzanna which became increasingly expansive and rapturous, particularly with the Wagner and Mahler songs which were wonderfully impassioned. The talents of these two young artists was well demonstrated in the contrasting styles of the Bach and Mozart songs and in the contrasting Brahms songs. The blissful serenity of his ‘Alone in the Fields’ was beautifully balanced by thunderous power and drama of his ‘In the Churchyard’. The evening concluded with a dreamy rendition of two Wagner Wesendonk Lieder and and two Mahler Ruckert Lieder which were exceptional and sublime. These young artists are already so good that they are clearly two exceptional artists in the making even now well able to communicate heavenly warmth and light.
Alex Austin, Stratford Herald, 22nd October 2017