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November 2011

Ian Bostridge/Thomas Adès Recital at Carnegie Hall

By Scott Rose

IAN-popupRichard Termine for The New York Times

The program that tenor Ian Bostridge and composer/pianist Thomas Adès chose for their Carnegie Hall recital this Monday centered on themes of depression, loss of love, and the artist’s alienation from society. At his best, Bostridge enchanted with his elegant blending of words and music, each phrase flowing beguilingly out of the last.

The centerpiece of the recital was Robert Schumann’s song cycle Opus 48, Dichterliebe. The alternately jilted, yearning, bitter, and unhinged lover of the cycle ideally must be portrayed by a singer capable of vividly communicating mood swings without ever emitting an unmusical sound. To be sure, Bostridge emitted no sour tones, and his diction was a model of clarity. Yet, his fundamentally British primness proved to be a barrier to the wide-ranging emotions of these songs. Moreover, Bostridge displayed some quirky vocal mannerisms: at one point, he gave six consecutive notes individual emphases while the score suggests a coherent musical through-line. 

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