Composers: Barber, Heggie, Floyd, Copland, Getty
Compositions: American songs
Performers: Melody Moore s, Bradley Moore p
Catalogue Number: Pentatone PTC5186770
Anyone who heard 2017’s Otello on Pentatone with a luminous Melody Moore as Desdemona will have been waiting impatiently for the American soprano’s debut solo album. Now she delivers – and how – with an all-American program that shows off a voice of startling beauty and power. Moore’s lirico-spinto soprano spreads thick as clotted cream. Pianissimos and fortissimo climaxes are all cushioned on this seemingly bottomless pillow of sound, which overflows generously into the ear. But it’s the blade at the heart of it all that chars the edges of the tone and gives this instrument real interest.
Moore has stayed close to home for her debut, performing songs by everyone from Barber and Copland to Jake Heggie, Carlisle Floyd and Gordon Getty, that show off her intelligence and careful handling of text. She treads lightly through the miniature landscapes of Barber’s Hermit Songs, catching their lightness (helped by accompanist Bradley Moore’s delicate humour) and intensity, even their sly eroticism. There’s soul-bearing directness in Floyd’s Five Songs of Motherhood and Kathy’s aria Chips, darling from Getty’s Goodbye Mr Chips, though emotion verges on mawkish in Heggie’s politically-charged These Strangers.
Moore and Moore (no relation) are an instinctive partnership, and this repertoire gives them plenty of opportunity to find their voice, their angle. Loaded with promise for the future, it’s an opening gambit that leave you wanting, well, more.