Another Bargain From Barrie's Discs !!!
The title, Bryn Sings Popular Classics
tells it all. Here is one popular classic after another--some folk or traditional, some operatic, some religious or inspirational, some pop. The result in the throat/mind/sensibility of any other singer might be soupy, sappy or simply uninteresting, but Bryn Terfel--he of the rolling bass-baritone voice who can smoothly deliver notes and phrases at any dynamic level--turns this generous, somewhat sentimental recital into something beautiful and special. After a rousing "Toreador Song" from Carmen
, sung with just the right weight (most baritones find it too low, most basses too high) comes a ravishing version of "Shenandoah"; a fine Welsh song is followed by the stunning duet from Bizet's The Pearl Fishers
, with Andrea Bocelli singing the tenor part gleamingly and Terfel considerately underplaying his hand. And so it continues through Brahms' Lullaby
and Schubert's Ave Maria
, the "Love Theme from Titanic" (sung with great restraint), renditions of "Danny Boy" and "Home Sweet Home" that are just beautiful, the spirituals "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" and "At the River" (slightly anachronistic but still effective), the gluey "If I Can Help Somebody", and a few more. It's amazing that Terfel can bring such variety to material that is temperamentally so similar. Some of the arrangements are a bit sticky and overdone, but overall, this disc is a beauty for all seasons. It will make a lovely gift to music lovers of all types. --Robert Levine