Songs (JCL 515) by Kevin Kyle
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Kevin Kyle's beautiful debut album featuring European Songs from the 19th to the 21st Century.
|Kevin is rapidly developing his career as an international singer and has performed throughout the UK and Europe for the Longborough Festival Opera, Carl Rosa Opera Company, Opera Works, the Early Music Company, Le Concert d’Astree and the Armonico Consor|
Kevin Kyle is what has sometimes been referred to as a tenorino, a term that is used varyingly. Some mean it as an insult – I do not. Kyle has a lovely tenor voice that is extremely light in color and weight, a voice that I suspect would not fill a large opera house (though one cannot be sure when judging from a recording). The sound falls very pleasingly on the ear, and does not wear out its welcome even after repeat hearings of this disc. He phrases with sensitivity and shades with subtlety. It is a soft-grained voice with a far greater percentage of velvet than of metal. This is singing that invites you in, rather than coming out at you, and the result is a very successful disc with a wide range of unusual repertoire.
The Dichterliebe songs come from a complete recording he made of the cycle, in an arrangement for guitar and voice rather than the piano. I don’t know how the whole cycle would work that way, but the three songs here do not suffer from the transcription at all. The guitar is also used on one of the Quilter songs and Dowland’s “Flow My Tears,” and it is a lovely touch in both of those as well.
I recommend this disc strongly to all lovers of the song repertoire, but I do have to add that the production values are not of a very high standard. JCL does provide complete texts and translations, and for that one is grateful. But there are no notes save for a rather gushy statement from the singer, with lines like “On this disc, my voice is the means by which those composers and poets tell their stories through the medium of music, regardless of language.” That is not any help in introducing us to some unfamiliar composers and songs. It might have helped to provide an explanation of two arias from Ptolemy, King of Egypt by two different composers (Handel and Charles Didbin). No, they are not two different operas, because we are told that both are HWV. 25. Some clarity would seem appropriate. The print in the booklet is tiny and hard to read, and only near the back of the booklet will you find the names of the pianist and guitarist. They don’t appear on the front or back of the jewel box, nor the disc itself. It makes this look like a vanity disc by the tenor – and perhaps it is, but he deserves a higher level of quality as a setting for his work. The recorded sound is clear and warm, but slightly favoring the singer. The pianist and guitarist are fine, sensitive partners despite being a bit too much to the background.
In sum, despite reservations about the way in which this CD has been presented to the public, I recommend it for its lovely singing and interesting and varied mix of repertoire.
By Henry Fogel - Fanfare Magazine
2. Now sleeps the crimson petal
3. Am Leuchtenden Sommermorgen
4. Come away death
5. Music when soft voices die
6. Oh mistress mine
7. Go Lovely Rose
8. Aus alten Märchen winkt es
9. Lungi del caro bene
10. À Chloris
11. Silent worship
14. Hör’ ich das Liedchen klingen
15. Tom Bowling
16. The Sigh
17. E'en as a lovely flower
18. Flow my tears