Music review: Zuzana Zaimlova and Veronika Bohmova
Edinburgh International Festival Scotsman review: Zuzana Zaimlova and Veronika Bohmova at The Hub, reviewed by Christopher Lambton
If you include four substantial solo piano pieces in a short song recital it rather changes the landscape.
It begins to feel like a piano recital that is continually being interrupted by someone wanting to sing. It’s not something you often see in concert programming, maybe because the serious intellectualism of piano music can overpower the innate simplicity of song.
It would be nice to say that soprano Zuzana Zaimlová and pianist Veronika Böhmová, both from the Czech Republic, made this unusual formula work.
But the piano pieces by Brahms, Smetana, Prokofiev and Dvorák were impressive while Zuzana’s light soprano was underwhelming. It is a pleasant voice in the lower registers but rather reedy and forced at the top end – with time and teaching this should improve.
We heard a nicely chosen selection of love songs by Schumann, Mendelssohn and Brahms, then two arias by compatriots Smetana and Dvorák, and finally three of Dvorák’s Biblical songs.
The love songs fared best, but Zuzana’s soprano lacked the dramatic quality required for the operatic arias or the necessary gravitas for the religious songs.
Even without lifting the piano lid to its full extent, Veronika made the best impression of the evening with Smetana’s Fantasia on Czech Folksongs for solo piano.
For someone with a limited command of English, Veronika offered surprisingly elaborate introductions to the music – at one point I thought we were going to get the entire history of German romanticism.
Originally published in The Scotsman