A Tenor Voice That Carries Across a Century
By Tim Page
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, January 7, 2006; C01

Listening to Lawrence Brownlee sing … is a little bit like falling into a time warp.

Most of the tenors to whom this spectacularly gifted young Ohioan can profitably be compared flourished the better part of a century ago. … Brownlee summons to mind recordings made by the generation before Caruso -- Italian tenors such as Fernando de Lucia and Alessandro Bonci, with their Old World suavity, their dazzling and cultivated vocal agility, their caressing emphasis on unbroken lyrical sweetness …- [a] coloratura tenor in the all-but-forgotten grand manner.

…Brownlee effectively repealed the law of gravity, sounding increasingly comfortable as his voice soared higher and higher. His scales are bright and fluid, his pitch sense is spot-on, and his moderate-size but powerful and distinctive voice assumes a haunting pathos in softer passages.

The second half was devoted to English … Hispanic songs … and a concluding set of spirituals … All of these were remarkable in their own way -- the English music for Brownlee's immaculate diction … the Spanish material for the manner in which the tenor can inhabit and illuminate the slightest of miniatures…

outside of your oldest records, you aren't likely to have heard anything like him. Howard Watkins proved a vigorous, musical… pianist. The concert was presented by the Vocal Arts Society.

Program

Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901)
Ad una stella
Il Tramonto

Vincenzo Bellini (1801-1835)
La Ricordanza
Torna Vezzosa Fillide

Gaetano Donizetti (1797-1848)
L’amor funesto
Me voglio fa na casa
Il sospiro

Gioacchino Rossini (1792-1868)
From The Barber of Seville
Cessa di più resistere

Roger Quilter (1877-1953)
Take, O take those lips away

John Addison (1766-1844)
O mistress mine

Quilter
It as a lover and his lass

Charles Parry (1848-1918)
Farewell, thou art too dear
for my possessing

C.V. Stanford (1852-1924)
The rain, it raineth every day

Joaquin Turina (1882-1949)
Tu pupila es azul

Manuel Valls
Yo m’enamorí d’un aire

Federico García Lorca (1898-1936)
Las Morillas de Jaén

Enrique Granados (1867-1916)
Callejeo

Valls
Durme Durme

Cristóbal Halffter (1930- )
Panxoliña

Eduardo Toldra (1895-1962)
Cançó de Grumet


Hale Smith (1925- )
This Little Light of Mine
Let Us Break Bread Together
Jesus Lay Your Head
Witness