This is a fine calling-card, a disc entrée, for the young English soprano Grace Davidson. She is somewhere near the start of her career and the recital reflects some of her enthusiasms and musical focal points. She’s abetted by Fiori Musicali and their director Penelope Rapson. The range of music covered is quite widespread – from Hildegard von Bingen and her monophony through to Mozart by way of a famous Dowland lute song, Italian baroque and a movement from Purcell’s glorious Come, ye Sons of Art, away – and more besides.
She manages the impressive feat of marrying spontaneity and simplicity in the Hildegard extract – throughout the five minuteRead more length of which it’s tough to keep pitch from sagging; needless to say Davidson emerges pitch-victorious. In Leonardo Leo’s Salve regina we might find Davidson sounding Kirkby-like in the purity of the voice though arguably she’s slightly warmer in tone, due to a slightly more pressing vibrato. She certainly unveils a greater range of tone colours for the more raptly expressive sections and emerges as a fine exponent of Italian music.
There’s a fine oboe obbligato in the Mancini, a piece which exploits a lilt in the lyrical line that lends it distinction. Davidson manages the agility of the central section with something approaching ease – though it’s anything but easy. Noting the instrumental contributions leads one to the fine flute playing in the extract from Bach’s Easter Oratorio. Koželuch’s motet Sola digna tu fuisti is a fine work and will be something of a discovery for many as it was for me. This is apparently its first British recording. It’s a shame that we hear only this extract – it’s only five minutes in length in this performance and whets one’s appetite for more. The most well known music here is Mozart’s Exsultate, jubilate which she sings with clear-eyed brilliance and brio.
This engaging recital is very much geared to Grace Davidson’s enthusiasms and strengths. Texts are provided.
-- Jonathan Woolf, MusicWeb International Read less