Two recitals over the weekend in New York may need appeared, at first, to inhabit very totally different realms of artwork track.
On Saturday night at Carnegie Corridor, Jonas Kaufmann, one of many world’s main tenors, introduced a program of songs in German. Then on Sunday afternoon on the Park Avenue Armory, the rising baritone Will Liverman, presently on the Metropolitan Opera within the lead position of Terence Blanchard’s “Fire Shut Up in My Bones,” gave a various recital that included works by 4 Black composers he champions.
The Armory’s recital space — the roughly 100-seat Board of Officers Room — is near the salons and residing rooms the place Schubert and different composers of his time basically created the lieder live performance. Carnegie Corridor, which bought out practically all of its 2,800 seats for Kaufmann’s engagement, is massively larger than something the progenitors of lieder may have imagined.
But at its core, artwork track is a style wherein music is put, sensitively and compellingly, on the service of poetic texts. And although the levels Kaufmann and Liverman carried out from couldn’t have been extra totally different, each artists proved themselves singers who put phrases first.
Kaufmann, who has been frustratingly elusive in New York in recent times, appeared along with his common recital companion, the fantastic pianist Helmut Deutsch. They started with 9 works that may be heard on their current recording of lieder by Liszt, whose roughly 90 songs stay considerably neglected. In “Vergiftet sind meine Lieder,” an impassioned setting of a Heine poem, Kaufmann was virtually in Wagnerian mode, like a despairing Tristan, singing with burnished prime notes, but shaping aching phrases tenderly.
At times, within the Liszt songs and elsewhere, his voice had its tough patches. (Per week earlier, he had canceled some performances in Munich because of a tracheal infection.) However he principally rallied, and sounded at his clarion-voiced greatest as this system went on. These Liszt works are marvelous, filled with musical-poetic flights, alternately epic and ruminative. The piano elements, not surprisingly for this composer, are sometimes elaborate, with daring chromatic harmonies and wondrous colorings. I used to be most impressed, nonetheless, when Kaufmann lifted melting phrases with centered and floating sound, just like the pianissimo moments of “Die Loreley.”
He then sang 13 songs by Mozart, Schubert, Schumann, Brahms, Zemlinsky and others, ending with Mahler’s profound “Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen” (from “Rückert-Lieder”), in an successfully restrained efficiency. That was purported to have ended the recital, after 75 minutes with no intermission. However the enthusiastic viewers had different concepts, and Kaufmann complied, with six encores. Over the last one, Strauss’s “Cäcilie,” Kaufmann, visibly aggravated, stopped after a pair phrases. “I do every part for you,” he informed the viewers, “however please respect the principles and don’t movie!” Folks applauded in help, then he began over — and sang vibrantly.
Although Liverman has been rightly praised for his wrenching efficiency in “Fireplace,” he did typically have bother being heard over the orchestra on the Met. But on the Armory, joined by the superb pianist Myra Huang, his sound virtually overwhelmed the house. It was thrilling to listen to his fearsome account of Loewe’s “Erlkönig” (Goethe’s chilling poem, greatest identified from Schubert’s setting). And he balanced forceful depth with winningly intimate singing in songs by Strauss, Ravel and Rachmaninoff, all performed with style and aptitude by Huang.
Then, turning to the works by Black composers, Liverman introduced affecting directness to Margaret Bonds’s “Three Dream Portraits” (to texts by Langston Hughes), which will be heard on his current album “Dreams of a New Day: Songs by Black Composers.” Songs by H. Leslie Adams and Damien Sneed have been additionally particular, coming throughout like a chic stylistic assembly place between artwork track and American requirements. I used to be moved, and impressed, when Liverman carried out his personal association of a medley of music by Brian McKnight — a favourite R&B artist of his, he defined — singing with beautiful casualness whereas accompanying himself deftly on the piano.
Not many opera singers have that talent, not to mention the braveness. And alongside the best way, he had explored an neglected legacy of American artists whose work speaks to him personally.