Duet Lucy Crowe William Berger Schumann Mendelssohn CorneliusLucy Crowe & William Berger

Iain Burnside, piano

Delphian, 2015

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The guiding thread of this album, simply entitled Duet, is the custom, established in the 19th century, to sing in private houses some songs which were not difficult to learn and to perform and which may shed lustre on the dilettante singer. Duet reminds us in particular of the habit to sing in couples and for this reason its program is devoted to some songs (most of them duets) by Robert Schumann, Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy and Peter Cornelius.

My first consideration will not be a positive one, since the program of Duet is to much sweet and quiet and if it can easily remind of the elegant room where rich and à la mode people met, its melodies become a little boring after a while. They are soft, simple and do not offer any impressive moment. I think that an entire album devoted to this repertoire is too much to endure also by the most patient listener, especially when someone wants to listen in succession to all its twenty-five pieces. I works better as a musical background than as an album to listen carefully to. Moreover, the sound is not very well recorded and you have to turn up the volume to distinguish voices and piano. It seem that it was done of purpose to discourage the listener.

On the other hand, Duet is sung and played very well and this is the reason why I recommend it to you (in small quantities, if you to do not like the genre). Its name is absolutely right, when you consider how the singers’ voices perfectly blend together. Soprano Lucy Crowe’s voice is angelical and homogeneous, rich in colour and grace and is wonderfully partnered by baritone William Berger who has a light timbre and elegant phrasing. Both express their feelings with delicacy and are also able to convey them in a joyful way. Pianist Iain Burnside, who recorded with Berger before, is a very good accompanist and adds an essential touch of light.

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