As elegant as a flight of birds across the sky, Due Voci glided into our sight lines last Saturday night for their first concert of the spring.
Sopranos Mandy Doyle and Viv Burr, along with accompanist Ailie Kerrane – all three from the Calder Valley - performed for our delight at the Fielden Centre in Todmorden, a surprisingly intimate and embracing setting for chamber song.
It was a gently flamboyant and diverse repertoire of songs from the Romantic era. Their theme was love, loss and melancholy, expressed from within the cradling and nurturing elements of nature: moonlight, the stars, flowers, dawn and spring – and the conduciveness of all of these to our dreams. They sang us plangent songs by Dvorak, Massenet, Fauré, Chausson, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Wolf and Tchaikovsky. They sang in Czech, French, German and Russian - without a word of English to deflect from the language of love in which they were so fluently singing. Amongst the lyricists appeared Robert Burns (a poignant ‘Volkslied’) and Paul Verlaine (‘Le ciel est par-dessus le toit, si bleu, si calme …’). We were lulled and entranced: there was purity of voice, depth of soul and real virtuosity from these two singers.
And plaudits too to the wonderful accompanist. It is a rare thing to find a skilled pianist who also knows how to be a delicate and sensitive accompanist - one who can understate the music on the page to give higher relief to the voices - and Ailie Kerrane is one of these. It was particularly in Schumann’s ‘Mondnacht’ and ‘An den Abenstern’, and Massenet’s ‘Rêvons, c’est l’heure’ that her playing was at its most sublime – and one felt more keenly than ever that this ensemble is much more a ‘Tre’ than a ‘Due’.
We in the audience marvelled, overall, not simply at the honed collective artistry before us, but at the fidelity and underlying passion of each of these three performers. Mandy, Viv and Ailie all individually possess the gift of transporting their audiences and making them feel that there is space allowed for transcending this merely mortal plain.
Next time you hear that Due Voci are in town, just go; get there; be - like us privileged audience on Saturday - uplifted and enriched.