Music review: Bernarda Fink/Anthony Spiri
Edinburgh International Festival Scotsman review: Bernarda Fink/Anthony Spiri at The Queen’s Hall, reviewed by Carol Main
DESPITE its fair share of Spanish fieriness, Bernarda Fink’s recital programme yesterday morning somehow stopped short of ignition. As if inhibited by the BBC Radio 3 microphone in front of her, the Argentina-born mezzo-soprano, above, was too reliant on what was on her music stand to enjoy the more liberated connection with the Queen’s Hall audience that the music deserved.
Falla’s Siete canciones populares Españolas is his popular set of songs based on traditional Spanish melodies. Their colourful characteristic atmosphere and idiomatic dance rhythms were brilliantly brought to life by pianist Anthony Spiri, but lacked conviction in Fink’s singing of them.
A first-half opening with another group of seven songs, Schumann’s Gedichte Op 90, allowed the darkly honeyed hues of Fink’s lower register to come to the fore, although higher up occasionally sounded slightly strained and thinner in tone.
Filling out in the penultimate song, Oppressive Evening, its gloomy message of anguished love was better suited to Fink’s beautifully rich deep notes. As accompanist, Spiri played with consistent clarity, capturing the mood of the moment, whether by Falla or Schumann, or the other two featured composers, Mahler and Debussy.
Originally published in The Scotsman