Catriona Morison - The dark night has vanished - Fanfare

There are millions of English-speaking people who can recite the words “To be or not to be …” but almost none of them can convince us that we are hearing the desperate words of young Prince Hamlet. There are thousands of singers who have developed a respectable technique and mastered various languages that can sing “My love is as green as the lilac bush …” but almost none of them can convince us that they are experiencing the rapture expressed in the text. Catriona Morison convinces, and one must honor her superlative musicianship and expert programming, especially of Josephine Lang’s sweet songs in the style of her mentor, Felix Mendelssohn. The lilac bush, the moon, the song of a nightingale, however, are not as available to the artists of today as they were in the time of Emmy Leisner or George Henschel. We are far removed from the sensibilities of Lenau and Schumann, where women fainted and men wept in public. Perhaps that is why Catriona Morison’s splendid, sincere, intelligent singing does not carry the emotional power of those earlier personalities, where the lilac trees and the moon were part of their everyday existence. Time and technology have moved us far from nature, and placed our hearts up rather than on our sleeves. The young mezzo creates a beautiful world, and it resembles the world of times past, but it is seen at a distance, and gives off a marginal amount of warmth. Accompanist Malcom Martineau delivers his usual solid, virtuosic best.

04 October 2021