Chants de terre et de ciel

Here is a review of a concert the other week by rock-star Melbourne soprano Jessica Aszodi, with pianist Peter de Jager. Stephanie Blake provided violin back-up for Kate Neal’s work.

The program was as follows:

Kate Neal Hourly scrutinising
Luigi Dallapiccola Quattro liriche di Antonio Machado
Robert Dahm Hölderlinfragmente
György Ligeti Der Sommer
Luciano Berio Selections from Six encores
Olivier Messiaen Chants de terre et de ciel

Obviously, I’m hardly the ‘objective reviewer’, and maybe my brain was too fried from the dazzlingly inept pre-concert interview I’d just given, but this was a really fantastic concert. The highlight for me was the Dallapiccola. This has, as far as I’m aware, been in Aszodi’s repertoire for far longer than the other works, and it really shows. The depth of nuance she brought to these pieces was genuinely remarkable. For the Messiaen, Aszodi succeeding in creating the atmosphere of charged stasis necessary for this music to communicate – something that happens in surprisingly few performances of the work.

Also noteworthy was pianist Peter de Jager’s assured grasp of what was a truly ambitious program: definitely a performer to watch.

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