Clara Mouriz & Joseph Middleton
Haydn : Arianna a Naxos, Cantata Hob.xxvib:2
Wigmore Hall, 5 July 2007
In some respects it was the set of six Grieg songs that proved the highlight of the recital. Despite serious advocacy from artists such as Soile Isokoski and Barbara Bonney in recent years, Grieg's songs remain somewhat neglected in the wider public consciousness.
Mouriz and Middleton proved to be unafraid of their illustrious elders and provided a coherent reading of the songs that was imbued with vitality. Both performers brought out the shifting moods of individual songs to clear effect, without neglecting to demonstrate Grieg's clear debt to the heady atmosphere of Austro-German Romanticism. Replete with images of nature, dreams, love and longing, the link between Bayreuth and Norway appeared remarkably immediate.
Rather unusually for a Spanish singer, Mouriz's German diction is clear and adds to the enjoyment of her art. Her ability to float lines with ease at the top of the vocal range, and treat them not merely as showy extensions, but as fully integrated with the rest of her robust and characterful voice indicates potential areas of repertoire which might yet be profitably explored. More Grieg, certainly, but Loewe, Richard Strauss or certain Pfitzner songs could be worth investigating. Exciting times are ahead for this talented musical partnership.