Opening concert of the 2007/8 Wigmore Hall season Notes on the encore by Christine: ‘A City Called Heaven’ negro spiritual I grew up in a family of singers, many of whom sang gospel music. My brothers and I quite often joined our mother in the church to sing gospel music and spirituals. This music has always been an important part of my life, so I try to include spirituals in my programs whenever I can. I find in the spirituals that no matter what the obstacles are, there is a deep underlying sense of hope and joy. This is what draws me to such music and gives me such joy to sing.
‘Ich liebe dich’ Richard Strauss: This is one of the many Strauss lieder that I have sung for years, and that Roger and I have performed and recorded. This song also exudes such utter joy that it's difficult not to just want to burst out in laughter at the end of it. It has one of the most exuberant postludes of any of Strauss' songs, and I love it!
‘Mira’ Bob Merrill: I started performing Mira about 20 years ago when I did little recitals and concerts around St. Louis. This song spoke to me right away, because it is about a girl who is missing her hometown where everyone knows her name. I grew up in a town of 500 and now live in a town of about 3,500, so I truly know what it is like to walk down the street and know most of the townspeople. There is a comfort in that for me, and I miss it when I am travelling around the world. I think I sang this song as an encore the very first time that I sang at the Wigmore Hall. It became one of Bill Lyne's favourites and he asked me to sing it at his farewell concert. So it has become a standard for me at the Wigmore, and one that always makes me think of home and all those folks there as well as my friends here in London when I sing it!
22nd June 2008
“For all the power and musical intelligence she brings to Wagner's Wesendonck Lieder and Wolf's Mignon songs, the second half signals a complete change of mood in the Britten and John Carter's spiritual- based Cantata. This is singing of rare charm and versatility, at both ends of a vast emotional spectrum.”
The Times Concert Review
“Already in town for jury duty on the Wigmore Hall International Song Competition, [Christine Brewer] gave on Saturday a recital of radiant passion and power … generous sound, long phrases effortlessly controlled, subtle gradations of tone … The music’s emotional volatility was admirably caught. Clamour capsized into sorrow; voice and piano kept questioning and shading each other. Vignoles’s subtle gifts proved vital here … In the four Britten-Auden cabaret songs Brewer was at her unbuttoned best. After cabaret came spirituals, packaged by the American John Carter into a baroque-tinged cantata. Vignoles’s elaborate fingerwork never interfered
with Brewer’s exultant glow.”
1st June 2008
“Recorded at the opening concert of the current Wigmore Hall season, this is very much a recital of two halves. The first finds the American soprano’s glorious, soaring voice in Isolde mode: it is the ideal instrument for Wagner’s Wesendonck-Lieder, and Brewer is in rapturous form here, making as much of the words as she does of Wagner’s music. It is rare, and wonderful, to hear this kind of voice in Wolf’s dramatic setting of Mignon’s Nur wer die Sehnsucht kennt, but Brewer’s tone is perhaps too fruity in his other three songs for the waiflike heroine of Goethe’s Wilhelm Meister. In the second half, she lets her hair down in Britten’s Cabaret songs, and sings the negro spirituals of John Carter’s Cantata with heartrending empathy and simplicity.”
“American soprano Christine Brewer is blessed with both a huge and beautiful voice, and the intelligence to make good use of it. …a thoroughly enjoyable recital.”
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