Alice Coote, one of the most distinctive mezzo-sopranos of today, makes her recital debut on Hyperion with pianist Graham Johnson, a stalwart of the label and tireless explorer of vocal repertoire. The Power of Love creates what Johnson describes as a ‘pageant of English song and poetry’. It’s a journey through half a century of song, surveying not just human love but love of nature and even of money. Some of the most touching pieces here involve the loss of love through death, not least Ivor Gurney’s Lights Out and Gustav Holst’s Betelgeuse. There’s serenity, too, in mellifluous settings by Roger Quilter, while high spirits are supplied by Maude Valérie White’s The Spring has come and Warlock’s sardonic Queen Anne, which includes the immortal lines ‘I am Queen Anne, of whom ’tis said / I’m chiefly fam’d for being dead’.
“[Victorian parlour repertoire] proves both admirably suited to her distinctively creamy yet expressive voice, and occasionally revelatory...The well-structured programme concludes with Holst's late Humbert Wolfe settings, in which Coote finds surprising power. Journey's End is tragically bleak” BBC Music Magazine, April 2012 *****
“Almost every track on the mezzo’s recital springs a surprise” Financial Times, 11th February 2012
“From start to finish, the artistry of Alice Coote and Graham Johnson is of the highest order.” Gramophone Magazine, February 2012
“['Love's Philosophy'] needs and receives a bolder and stronger delivery than its neighbour, rising to a showy conclusion. It allows Coote to introduce an almost operatic approach as her voice peals forth...the Holst songs, mesmerizingly captured by Coote, whose voice seems almost detached as she intones 'Betelgeuse', recorded, like the rest of the programme, in clear sound.” International Record Review, February 2012