La Scena Musicale

Monday, 23 December 2013

“Shelter” Songs for Soprano and Cello. Music by Previn, Tavener, Honstein, Heggie and Rachmaninov

Mela Dailey, soprano; Scott Kluksdahl, cello; Rick Rowley, piano
Pierian 0047 (64 m 44 s)

Recital albums featuring young sopranos are not uncommon. But what makes this new release exceptional is the unusual choice of repertoire and the high quality of the performances.
Who would have thought of putting together an album of contemporary music for soprano and cello? And who would have thought that the music for this combination could be of such high quality?

Andre Previn’s Four Songs for Soprano, Cello and Piano of 1994 are settings of poems by Toni Morrison. These are beautiful songs, recalling Britten in their transparency, and Previn has captured the essence of Morrison’s heartfelt expression of the black experience. One of these songs is called “Shelter”, hence the title of the album.

Throughout the CD Mela Dailey sings with wonderful purity and control and Scott Kluksdahl supports her with playing of richness and nobility. The combination is especially successful in John Tavener’s Akhmatova Songs, dating from 1993. The poems are preoccupied with death and manage to be deeply probing in a few words.

The CD opens and closes with a vocalise, the first by Previn and the second the very familiar one by Rachmaninov but in a fresh new version for soprano, cello and piano by conductor – and Mela Dailey’s husband - Peter Bay.


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