REVIEW: Musicians so attuned together at Sidmouth Music recital

Tenor Nick Pritchard

Tenor Nick Pritchard - Credit: Archant

Musical performances which truly excel are those where the musicians are so attuned together that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

It was so on Saturday afternoon in Sidmouth Parish Church, when tenor Nick Pritchard (pictured) was accompanied by pianist Ian Tindale in a Sidmouth Music recital of two major song cycles.

Their empathy with each other, as much as with their material, was evident from the very beginning of Beethoven’s An die ferne Geliebte (To the Distant Beloved); Nick’s clear and stable voice matched by the supportive piano line from Ian.

Together they caught the wistfulness of the first two pieces where the poet longs to be with his beloved who is elsewhere.

The pace changes for the third, fourth and fifth as the poet entreats the scudding clouds, the little birds and the babbling brook to convey his sadness, his sighs and his tears to her. Here they caught the extra energy really well, taking the three straight through together until the final song where their delicate wistful tone returned as the poet wishes his love to sing his songs and keep him in her heart.

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Schubert’s Die schöne Müllerin (The Fair Maid of the Mill) is 20 songs taking over an hour. This is a challenge for any singer, but the odd note which almost got away from Nick in this marathon was barely noticeable against the wonderful presentation the two produced. Throughout, Ian supplied a wonderful piano undercurrent of the brook burbling and the millwheels running as the support for the storyline.

Nick’s singing was no mere recital but a heartfelt telling of the story, catching the buoyant joy as the miller meets the maid, and the wistfulness as he wants to let her know his feelings. Then he gave us real anxiety as the hunter arrives, turning to despair as the maid switches her affections. The sadness and resignation at the end were palpable as the brook becomes the final resting place of the lovelorn miller.

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These were wonderful performances enjoyed by all there.

Stephen Huyshe-Shires

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