Diana Moore, Christopher Gould

FRANK CLIFF The Cut, Halesworth

FRANK CLIFF

The Cut, Halesworth

Yesterday afternoon's recital by mezzo-soprano Diana Moore and pianist Christopher Gould was a delight, not only for the superb musicianship of this duo but for a programme which presented such a wide variety of English song.

Britten and Elgar shared the stage with less often performed yet equally worthy composers, such as Ivor Gurney and Roger Quilter, plus contemporary works by the likes of Julian Philips and Rebecca Clarke, under the collective title of Dreams And Fancies.

One such “fancy” consisted of six songs on a bird theme from Philips's setting of Emily Dickenson's An Amherst Bestiary.

Highly contrasted and often humorous - the sound of a woodpecker represented by the pianist tapping the piano with a pencil, for example - they demand a wide dynamic range together with subtle vocal acting, at which Ms Moore excels.

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Aided always by the superb accompanying of Christopher Gould she gave form and atmospheric accounts of Britten's Cradle Song and of Sleep, by Gurney, this last and magical piece, making you want to hear more of this neglected composer.

Less convincing, perhaps in part by being deprived of its orchestral accompaniment, was Elgar's Where Corals Lie, which needed more subtle vocal colouring, as did Delius's evocative Twilight Fancies.

Even so, the last work, Spaced Out - three interludes for a contemplative spaceman and calling for vocal histrionics aplenty - was a tour de force, providing a brilliant finale to this fine recital.

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