Sir Thomas Allen is something of a vocal marvel; an OAP, he is still singing major roles at major opera houses and his voice remains one of the most beautiful male voices of all time, even if his never very luxuriant bottom register has all but disappeared and there has been an inevitable drying out and thinning of his tone. These songs were recorded in 1994 and 1990 when he was at the peak of his powers and it is difficult to imagine anyone surpassing these performances in terms of tonal beauty if not of interpretive quality.
He shows a great affinity for French song (the composers represented here are Fauré, Ravel and Poulenc); his French is good and he sings with great charm and elegance.
Sir Tom has long since been a strong advocate of English song and quite a few of the items featured here he has recorded elsewhere. He is on top form here, although I personally prefer the more direct style (and rougher tone) of Bryn Terfel and Christopher Maltman in this music.
Sir Tom is, I guess, my favourite baritone of all time and this wonderful collection gives a marvellous reflection of his considerable artistry.
on 30 November 2013
This is a wonderful recital by one of the greatest singers of his era. Sir Thomas has, in my opinion, the most beautiful baritone voice ever recorded, and I cannot recommend this pair of CDs too highly. Here we have a feast of French and English Art Song, every item a gem. I first heard the very young Thomas Allen singing with Welsh National Opera when I was a school boy in Cardiff; he was wonderful then and continues to be so. These recordings catch him in his prime. You'd be mad not to buy this!!