Arias by Mozart, Gluck and Berlioz

£12.00

Star tenor Andrew Kennedy is accompanied by Southbank Sinfonia in this collection of arias by three unique Classical-era composers. This disc showcases some of the best in young British musical talent, with rising star tenor Andrew Kennedy and Southbank Sinfonia, conducted by Simon Over. Their programme explores three phases of the Classical era, with early arias from Gluck, later classical works by Mozart, and the beginnings of Romanticism with Berlioz. Andrew’s previous releases with Signum Records have been greeted with exceptionally good reviews from music magazines and national newspapers and we have every confidence his latest release will be as successful.

SKU: SIGCD189

What people are saying

“Kennedy’s bright, firm tenor is equal to the demands of Gluck’s haute-contre parts. He sings “J’ai perdu mon Euridice” … Simon Over and the Southbank Sinfonia are crystal-clear accompanists and the overture to Tito is splendid.”

The Times

   

“… the promise shown by Andrew Kennedy has been confirmed by his rapidly developing international career. His voice has grown in strength, well beyond the stereotypical ‘English tenor’ bleat.”

BBC Music Magazine

       

I received much pleasure from listening to this CD. Whatever attributes songs demonstrate in a singer, they do not often call for the upper range of a tenor to be displayed, and those who have heard Kennedy only in the song repertoire may be surprised at how good his top is.”

International Record Review

Andrew Kennedy
Southbank Sinfonia

Release date:1st Feb 2010
Order code:SIGCD189
Barcode: 635212018927

The Times, 21 February 2010

Andrew Kennedy’s attractive collection avoids the obvious – he gives us three arias from Mozart’s Tito and, from Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Belmonte’s “Ich baue ganz”, not the better-known “O, wie ängstlich”. I do wish, though, that his Gluck had included Pylades’s ravishing “Unis dès la plus tender enfance” (Iphigénie en Tauride, Act II) as well as his Act III aria. Kennedy’s bright, firm tenor is equal to the demands of Gluck’s haute-contre parts. He sings “J’ai perdu mon Euridice” beautifully, but the pick is Admeto’s wonderful “Misero! E che faro” from the Italian Alceste. Simon Over and the Southbank Sinfonia are crystal-clear accompanists and the overture to Tito is splendid. It is a pity that Iopas’s “O blonde Cérès”, from Act IV of Les Troyens, is allowed to drag.

David Cairns

The Daily Telegraph

Winner of the 2005 Cardiff Singer of the World Song Prize, English tenor Andrew Kennedy has a robust voice, lacking something in sweetness of tone. Four Gluck arias seem to tax him, and the programme only takes off with elegant performances of arias from Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail, and extracts from Berlioz’s Lélio and Le Damnation de Faust. The Southbank Sinfonia plays vivaciously under Simon Over, but the boxy recording is unflattering to Kennedy’s timbre.

Rupert Christiansen

BBC Music Magazine, May 2010
Performance ****, Recording ****

Since winning the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Rosenblatt Recital Prize in 2005, the promise shown by Andrew Kennedy has been confirmed by his rapidly developing international career. His voice has grown in strength, well beyond the stereotypical ‘English tenor’ bleat. Without sacrificing the classical elegance that serve him as Mozart’s Belmonte and Emperor Tito, he has acquired a clarion ring at the top that equips him for Tamino, and bravura roles like Gluck’s Ach illes.

Indeed, he’s mastered the Gluck style convincingly, bringing out the expressiveness within the classical frame which so struck Wagner and others. It helps that he sings French so naturally, making ‘Jai perdu mon Eurydice’ as plaintive as ‘Che faro?’ and (almost) banishing thoughts of Offenbach. It also helps him with more lyrical roles by Berlioz.

If there’s a problem here, apart from occasional forced tone, it’s only the sameness which besets all but supremely experienced singers in a programme like this. It might have been better varied with other repertoires he already sings – Britten roles, perhaps, and British and German Lieder. But with sensitive support by Over and the Sinfonia, it’s still refreshing to hear.

Michael Scott Rohan

International Record Review, April 2010

This is the first recording that I can think of which concentrates on Mozart, Gluck and Berlioz. At whom is it aimed? It could be admirers of one, two or all of these composers, but I contend it will attract mainly collectors who want to add an operatic recital by Andrew Kennedy to their shelves. By printing the tenor’s name in larger lettering than that of each composer, Signum’s aim seems to be just that. Why then are two overtures included? Many operatic arias were available, and a running-time of 62 minutes (52 without the overtures) leaves room for further choices.

Kennedy’s earlier recordings have been of songs rather than opera, including an enjoyable Signum disc of Vaughan Williams, Gurney and Venables (fascinating contributions by the last named) which I reviewed in February 2008. He is no stranger to opera: the brief biography mentions Nemorino, Tom Rakewell and Mozart’s Ottavio, Tito and Tamino among his roles.

Despite my disapproval of the inclusion on a disc called ‘Andrew Kennedy sings arias … ‘ of two overtures (both played with style, freshness and vitality by the young members of Simon Over’s Southbank Sinfonia) I received much pleasure from listening to this CD. Whatever attributes songs demonstrate in a singer, they do not often call for the upper range of a tenor to be displayed, and those who have heard Kennedy only in the song repertoire may be surprised at how good his top is. ‘0 blonde Ceres’, whose wide leaps render this an awkward aria to sing, is one piece in which it can be judged.

The programme begins with the short martial aria from Iphigenie en Aulide: trumpets blaring, voice flaring. Orpheus’s famous aria, here in the 1774 Paris version, requires the singer to follow a smooth line, which Kennedy does to winning effect before unleashing a greater vocal force for ‘Divinites des grandes ames’ from the other Iphigenie.

He travels through the divisions of Belmonte’s ‘Ich baue ganz’ without resorting to the vocal crutch of aspirating to assist him. He has appeared as Tito at the Frankfurt Opera, and his singing of the emperor’s three arias here makes me want to hear him in a complete performance of my favourite Mozart opera. He recognizes the differences in the arias, from the sweet opening of ‘Del piu sublime soglio’ to Tito’s philosophy in ‘Se all’ impero’, in which he states that he does not wish to rule with a hard heart. It is not by way of a wide-ranging assortment of vocal hues that Kennedy varies his singing but more by differentiating weight, touch and pressure.

Lopas’s praise of Ceres needs his lightish tone, both for its verbal content and its musical line. It is followed by Benedict’s frisky aria ‘Ah! je vais I’aimer’, just the first two lines of which reveal it as obviously by Berlioz. Kennedy catches its infectious lilt.

A rarer aria, particularly in a recital, is that from Lelia. This is a testing piece, requiring bigger tone. Kennedy does not disappoint, bringing a fullness of sound that is not always associated with him. The recital ends with a very fine performance of Faust’s ‘Merci, doux crepuscule!’, taken rather slowly but to great effect. In the first part, Kennedy caresses the music with sweet half-voice and long breaths, and then his sound swells in conjunction with Faust’s expression of passion.

While regretting that there are not more arias, I give high marks to the intelligent and ear-pleasing singing on this CD, on which both voice and orchestra are well captured.

John T. Hughes

The Gramophone, July 2010

Kennedy catches the mood in a satisfying operatic recital

The line Gluck-Mozart- Berlioz is an enterprising one to follow, not previously (I think) staked out by tenors in recital discs. It is virtuoso territory too and beset with challenges, ably met by Andrew Kennedy, who on the whole is well suited to the repertoire. A notable exception, unfortunately, is the first item of all, Achilles’ boastful aria about what he will do to the traitor Calchas when opportunity arises. It makes a spirited opening to the programme but in its first phrases places the voice as a lone reed in a thunderstorm, thin and rather comical.

If the start is less than flattering, the conclusion to the whole recital is most satisfying of all. Faust’s reflections ("Merci, doux crepuscule") achieve the sublimity of utterance to which much else in the recital is tending. The singer catches the mood perfectly (Kennedy’s voice takes well to the quiet rapture of "Que j’aime ce silence") and, as always, the orchestral playing is sensitive in style and texture. The Overture to Die Entfohrung is particularly enjoyable, the refinements of enlightened civilisation played off against the colourful excitement of the East. Kennedy’s voice could itself do with a wider range of colour but it is always clear in definition and often, as in Pylades’ aria and Tito’s three solos, gracefully poised. And it is good to hear him in an operatic recital for a change.

John Steane

Musicweb, July 2010

Andrew Kennedy has come to the fore in the last few years. I reviewed a Liszt recital not long ago, where he was an important contributor, though I wasn’t too happy with his tone production, which tended to be pinched and strained under pressure. This is also the case with the present issue. The programme is interesting with some Gluck arias followed by Mozart and then Berlioz, which I can’t recall ever seeing as a coupling on record, whether on LP or CD. It is an interesting juxtaposition and, whatever the qualities of the Gluck and Mozart items, it is the Berlioz aria that catches the interest.

He comes off to a quite unsuccessful start with Achille’s aria from Iphigenie e Aulide, which is undernourished and – yes, pinched – and this is the recurrent problem with his singing. But this opening number is, fortunately, an exception, since he shows great involvement and true lyricism in a lot of what he sings later on. The aria from Orphée et Euridice, better known as Che faro in its Italian version, is sensitively sung, though he can’t challenge predecessors like Gedda and Simoneau, nor Fouchecault in the quite recent Naxos recording.

His Mozart is even better and the two arias from Die Entführung aus dem Serail are fresh and lively and so are the less frequently heard arias from La clemenza di Tito. Here he is elegant and fluent – but also rather monochrome. Where he comes into his own is, somewhat surprisingly, in the Berlioz arias. First of all this is music of the utmost beauty that is too rarely heard and Kennedy seems to be especially suited to them. Iopas’s aria from e magical scoring in the postlude is in itself worth the outlay. Best of all, as singing, is the aria from La damnation de Faust, so beautifully scaled down but with telling Les Troyens, with its beautiful orchestral intro, is a gem, and the lively and eager solo from Béatrice et Bénédict is in the same league. Lélio, a sequel to Symphonie fantastique, is a rather peculiar composition, which I still have to come to terms with, but the tenor solo recorded here is a full-blooded romantic outpouring, ravishingly sung, and the magical scoring in the postlude is in itself worth the outlay. Best of all, as singing, is the aria from La damnation de Faust, so beautifully scaled down but with telling climaxes.

The Southbank Sinfonia are a superb orchestra and their playing in the two Mozart overtures is beyond reproach. I can’t say that Andrew Kennedy trumps my favourite singers in the Gluck and Mozart repertoire but he is definitely worth a listen for his Berlioz – not only for his singing, which is excellent, but for the music as such. At his best, which he certainly is in these arias, few 19th century composers can challenge Berlioz. Andrew Kennedy does him proud.

Göran Forsling

  1. Calchas, d?un trait mortel perc? (Achille, Iphig?nie en Aulide) – C. W. Gluck –
  2. (Aria) Misero! E che faro! (Recit) No, si atroce costanza (Admeto, Alceste) – C. W. Gluck –
  3. J?ai perdu mon Euridice (Orph?e, Orphe? ed Euridice) – C. W. Gluck –
  4. Divinit? des grandes ?mes (Pylade, Iphig?nie en Tauride) – C. W. Gluck –
  5. Overture (Die Entf?hrung aus dem Serail) – W. A. Mozart –
  6. Hier soll ich dich den sehen (Belmonte, Die Entf?hrung aus dem Serail) – W. A. Mozart –
  7. Ich baue ganz auf deinem st?rke (Belmonte, Die Entf?hrung aus dem Serail) – W. A. Mozart –
  8. Overture (La Clemenza di Tito) – W. A. Mozart –
  9. Del pi? sublime soglio (Tito, La Clemenza di Tito) – W. A. Mozart –
  10. Ah, se fosse intorno al trono (Tito, La Clemenza di Tito) – W. A. Mozart –
  11. Se?all? impero (Tito, La Clemenza di Tito) – W. A. Mozart –
  12. ? blonde C?r?s, (Iopas, Les Troyens) – H. Berlioz –
  13. Ah! je vais l?aimer (B?n?dict, B?atrice et B?n?dict) – H. Berlioz –
  14. Chant du Bonheur (L?lio ou Le retour ? la vie, Op. 14b, No. 4) – H. Berlioz –
  15. Air de Faust (Faust, Le Damnation de Faust) – H. Berlioz –