Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Nathan Vale at Temple Music

Nathan Vale
Nathan Vale
Schubert, Wolf, folksongs; Nathan Vale, Audrey Hyland; Temple Music at Inner Temple Hall
Reviewed by Robert Hugill on Oct 21 2014
Poised and stylish performance from young tenor in a new Emerging Artists Series

Temple Music launched a new Emerging Artists Series with the recital by tenor Nathan Vale and pianist Audrey Hyland at Inner Temple Hall on Tuesday 21 October 2014. Vale started with a group of songs by Schubert all of which seemed to have as their theme love in its many guises and this continued with the group of Wolf songs. Finally Vale and Hyland closed with a varied group of folksongs from the British Isles.

I missed Vale's recent lunch time recital at the Royal Opera House, so was pleased to be able to catch up with his performance at Inner Temple Hall. Singing from memory throughout, and looking relaxed despite having the audience quite close to him, Vale was a poised and characterful recitalist. He has a naturally beautifully lyric tenor voice but clearly does not rest on his laurels and all the songs were given powerfully characterful performances.

In his Schubert songs, I loved the way he sang beautifully joined up phrases whilst still giving the words their full value. Im Fruhling was vibrant with a real sense of relaxed delight, whilst Fischerweise was characterfully carefree. Vor meine Weige had great lyric beauty but a sense of melancholy too. Wiedersehn was sung with burnished tone and a shapely long line. For Des Fischers Liebesgluck he gave us an evocative serenade-like piece, whilst in Geheimes he evoked the blissful delights to come in the beloved's arms. Finally in this group was the vivdly busy Versunken. Vale's performances here were all complemented by the vital and responsive playing of Hyland at the piano.

Four Wolf songs followed. Der Musikant was carefree with not a little wit, Verschwiegene Liebe was highly evocative, whilst Das Standschen combined a charmingly characterful piano with a fascinating melody in the vocal line. Finally Der Genesene an die Hoffnung was darkly evocative, developing into something vibrantly passionate.

Vale opened the final group alone, singing The Death of Queen Jane unaccompanied in a performance which combined attention to the words with vibrant vocal tone. The Salley Gardens was Ivor Gurney's arrangement, rather than the more familiar Britten one. A rather romantic number with quite a discreet accompaniment. The Last Rose of Summer was made altogether more disturbing as Vale and Hyland gave full value to Britten's arrangement. Finally Phyllis Tate's The Lark in the Clear Air.

We had no texts and we didn't need them. Vale and Hyland introduced the songs themselves, sharing the work between them, and Vale's performances were so communicative that no text was necessary.

It is always heartening to see a promising young artist developing and Vale has all the makings of a very fine recitalist. He will be appearing in Handel's Judas Maccabeus at the Cadogan Hall in November, and in Monteverdi's Vespers at Southwark Cathedral. His busy diary also includes the Evangelist in Bach's St Matthew Passion on Good Friday next year at St George's Hanover Square under Lawrence Cummings; definitely a date for your diaries.

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