More importantly, both Bevan and Wybrew brought to these songs – essentially miniatures, all broadly on the theme of love – as wide a range of expression and style as the settings’ often constrained limits would allow; they certainly avoided overdoing nostalgic wistfulness. If Bevan’s enunciation was occasionally overwhelmed by the power of her highest notes, she is nevertheless a splendid singer whose operatic skills were drawn upon at times, yet without preventing the music from speaking for itself.
Well-judged musicianship as well as technical skill was brought to a contrasting selections that included the exuberant ‘Betty and Johnny’ of Eric Coates; impassioned deliveries of Grainger’s ‘Sprig of Thyme’ and the Traditional ‘Lord Rendall’, the latter with a particularly impressive dynamic range; a balanced, nicely phrased account of Ivor Gurney’s ‘Down by the Salley Gardens’; and some haunting passages in Hughes’s ‘I Know Where I’m Going’ as well as further Grainger, ‘Died for Love’. A single highlight would include Britten’s ‘Last Rose of Summer’ (followed by his ‘O Waly, Waly’ as an encore) would as a strong contender. Wybrew shone as a complement to Bevan in those pieces where the pianist is given more to do, such as in the Britten examples.
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