18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Lesley is as great as ever,
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This review is from: A North Country Lass (Audio CD)
Followers of Lesley have known for some time that Lesley is still developing her voice by moving into different adjacent genres. After all, she still has weekly singing lessons with the formidable Joy Mammen. Together they study each new song in detail and develop a style to suit both the song and Lesley's voice. Her brilliant technique allows her tackle areas that her fellow sopranos steer clear of. Her fellow music professionals are well aware of this and are eager to help. Fans remember how a few years ago Sir George Martin leapt at the opportunity to select and arrange Beetles' songs for her.
Now Lesley has tackled at the genre of "British Folk Songs". Her performance of "Lagan Love" on her "The Singer" album showed what could be possible. (It was labelled "the best she's done" by her conductor, Philip Ellis, adding "it's the only one on the album I had nothing to do with".). Reunited with producer James Fitzpatrick, they approached a selection of arrangers to select a folk song and tailor it to Lesley's voice. Chief among them was Paul Bateman who also conducted the orchestra, and had worked with Lesley before. Devotees will remember his brilliant arrangement of "Silent Night".
The results are staggering. It is not a case of effectively the same song on every track. The only similarities are that they are all British Folk Songs arranged for a world-class soprano. It is difficult to pick out individual tracks without feeling the others are just as brilliant. I have played it several times now, and still my favourite is the track I am listening to. Pressed I might pick "All Around My Hat" because I found myself singing it whilst boiling a kettle. But them when I compare it with each of the other 15 in turn I find reasons to equally prefer them.
But... This album does not fill the hole in her recorded repertoire when compared with her performing repertoire. That is her performing with minimalist accompaniment, such as just a single piano. The only example is her "Top Of The Pops" hit, Schubert's "Ava Maria" accompanied by Amanda Thompson. Otherwise the nearest is "Lagan Love", accompanied by Uilleann pipes and Didgeridoo. Her repertoire is expanding with Emma Johnson & Andrew West finding and arranging songs for Clarinet, Piano & Voice. Perhaps this will be her next album. Fans will eagerly wait for it. Based on this experience they will not be disappointed.