For her second album with Decca, Australian soprano Greta Bradman brings together songs and arias that speak to her of home. Certainly on the sentimental side, it’s nevertheless an accomplished recital that will bring joy to any of her fans, and gives the wider public another chance to acquaint themselves with what is a lovely instrument wielded with musical intelligence.
Led by Luke Dollman, the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra provides admirable support, while the contributions from the Adelaide Chamber Singers are also to be commended. Highlights on this disc include a tastefully phrased Songs My Mother Taught Me, Bradman’s rich lyric soprano putting me in mind of a young Renée Fleming, circa her The Beautiful Voice recording. Her lovely rendition of Copland’s Simple Gifts is just as rewarding, her slightly more forward vocal placement allowing the text to come across more clearly and to great cumulative effect – her English is pleasingly clear.
Bradman is careful to steer clear of the saccharine, as is evidenced by her restrained but affecting O Waly, Waly. She is similarly effective in Flotow’s The Last Rose of Summer, clearly comfortable with the long lines but never unduly basking in them. She brings this same tasteful approach to both Gounod’s Ave Maria and Repentir, doing some lovely floaty singing as well as showing off her complex middle voice.
The inherent richness of her tone can sometimes overwhelm the vocal line and obscure the words, however, as can be heard in the opening standard Early One Morning. Some crisper consonants are wanted to balance out these more sugary selections, but are made up by the fundamental loveliness of Bradman’s voice.
In keeping with the theme of home, The Don also gets a look in with Richard Mills’ arrangement of his song Every Day is a Rainbow Day for Me, penned for his wife. An eminently hummable, touching tribute from one Bradman to another.
Composer: Copland, Dvořák et al
Composition: Songs and arias
Performer: Greta Bradman s, Adelaide Symphony Orchestra/Luke Dollman
Catalogue Number: Decca 4816564