Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Basso Canaries in Review

My thanks to contributor Hawk Liu who sat through the entire evening and came up with these words of encouragement:



Living with the Basso Canaries
6th Feb 2012
The Living Room, The Arts House

Chinese Art Songs
Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen by Gustav Mahler
Three Songs, Op. 10 by Samuel Barber
World Premiere of Three Years And Eight Months by Xiao Chunyuan

Xiao Chunyuan
Steven Ang
Iris Koh
Beatrice Lin

A Review by Hawk Liu
(disclaimer - I am illiterate in Chinese!)

It's good to hear a good mix of genres at a concert like this.

I hadn't heard Steven Ang for quite a while and was glad to hear a good deal of vocal control in his legato lines. In the opening Chinese song, 手挽手 (Hand in Hand), there was a really free light tenor voice, which has a different quality from the rest of the Chinese songs he presented - there was certainly a lot of ease in tone production here. In the rest of the songs, he showed a more light baritonal quality. The last song, . 杯底不可饲金鱼 (No Goldfish Rearing in the Cup!) in Minan dialect (aka Hokkien to us Singaporeans), was a joy, with the appropriate drunken mannerisms put in as well as a generous degree of gusto! Although showing less power in the lowest notes, and focus and pitching in the higher notes, it's altogether a pleasant voice that could go a long way if a bigger physical body can drive it (more physical fitness, Steven dearie).

Andrew Xiao Chunyuan had a beautiful lyric quality in the voice, albeit wanting longer legato lines. The middle range where had a good deal of warmth. There was a lot of power in some of the higher notes. Hearing him sing his own composition was interesting. Nice piece of work, Chunyuan! The Mahler did prove to be a bit of a challenge in terms of range and the Barber in terms of pitching. In general, the diction was less clear throughout. It was certainly an attractive voice, though.

I would like to make special mention of both accompanists who did a great job on their part in the music, both making good music in all the pieces. Great job in the Mahler by Beatrice Lin - lot's of 'orchestral' sounds and intentions as there should be!

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