There seems to be a harking back to the slightly anodyne music of our recent ancestors among prominent singers at the moment. Greta Bradman has liberally raided the record collection of her grandfather, cricketing legend Sir Donald, for two recent albums, and now it’s the turn of Kiwi baritone Teddy Tahu Rhodes to steer us down the windy road to nostalgia.
Perhaps it’s the age of anxiety we live in that makes these artists turn to the past, although two of the songs, Roses of Picardy and Comrades of Mine, are inextricably linked to the Great War. In among the folk offerings from Ireland, Australia and New Zealand – including Po Atarau, Now Is The Hour, sung to many a departing liner bound for Southampton – Rhodes give us a couple of light classics in Tchaikovsky’s None but the Lonely Heart and Schubert’s Du bist die Ruh, as well as Cleo Laine’s setting of Goin’ Home, the Largo from Dvořák’s New World Symphony. There are also some pleasant arrangements by the excellent Brisbane chamber outfit Southern Cross Soloists, and they get a rare chance to unbutton on an enjoyable instrumental track entitled Klezmer Dances featuring clarinettist Ashley Smith.
Unlike the Jacobite rebel who laments as he faces the hangman in that old chestnut Loch Lomond, Rhodes takes neither the high nor the low, but strictly the middle road to be in Scotland afore ye. He drives well, as you would expect, but he’s in cruise control and it won’t excite, it won’t offend.
Composer: Tchaikovsky, Schubert, Dvořák
Composition: I’ll Walk Beside You
Performer: Teddy Tahu Rhodes bar
Catalogue Number: ABC Classics 4816826