Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 05/23/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Thomas Allen may not be the marquis name to the casual operagoer, but to those who treasure not only quality of performance on the opera stage but also quality of communication on a stage occupied only by a piano, then Thomas Allen is an established giant.
This CD was made from a live performance in 2005 at Wigmore Hall in London and it finds Thomas Allen at age sixty in fine voice and in fine collaboration with pianist Malcolm Martineau. The songs include a strong variety from the works of Beethoven, Wolf, Vaughan Williams, Butterworth, and Bridge - each selected for the exquisite communicative powers of Allen's sensitive mind and technique. Allen has never played to the balcony and he doesn't here. It is enough that he finds the simplicity of the poetry and the manner in which the various composers approached the written word: the histrionics that so often muddle these works is gratefully, and naturally, absent.
This is one of those fine rare discs that captures an important artist at the peak of his career, reminding us of just how fine it has been to have him singing in both opera and recital for many years. This is not one of those 'he is on his last leg' recitals: that would not be in keeping with Allen's intelligence. This is a treasureable recital, full of beauty and wrapped in communication. Highly Recommended. Grady Harp, May 06"