Polish soprano Joanna Klisowska shows considerable empathy with the spirit of these exquisitely conceived and moving songs. She has the most mellifluous tone, delivering consistently perfectly controlled, pointed and affectingly expressive, arching legato lines, so many in high registers. She is marvellously partnered by the imaginative and wholly empathetic playing of the renowned guitarist Giulio Tampalini.
To mention but a few of these songs. The opening song of the first Songs of Wondering section, establishing Spanish rhythms and atmosphere, ‘When the morning of life had passed’ is gorgeously shaped by Klisowska, both she and Tampalini regretful; then in that section’s final song, ‘Wrung with anguish’ they are just that; a troubled, utterance with the guitar striking staccato notes beneath, what one might think, as the soprano’s more readily acceptance. In the next section Songs of Friendship, there is the hauntingly lovely central song – the most substantial of the work – ‘Fate has blocked the way’ with exquisitely rendered partnering of voice and guitar. The third song ‘O brook’ is Tampalini’s. He steals the attention with evoking so realistically the twisting, turning tumbling, hurrying waters. Of wine and the delights of the sons of men is, despite that title, somewhat gloomy in character save for the third sunnier song, ‘The garden dons a coat of many hues’ that suggests a ray of hope and consolation, the artists’ song dancing, tripping lightly along. The World and its vicissitudes section is distinguished by the lovely, comforting invocation, ‘Only in God I trust.’ The second song, ‘The world is like a woman of folly’ has wry humour, a plea to banish the world’s madness. The mood is lighter, rollicking; the Spanish dance rhythms are marked and the guitarist often knocks on the sound board of his instrument for emphasis. The last section, The Transience of the World before the Epilogue has six songs of which ‘Let man remember all his days and ‘I have seen upon the earth’ are memorable. The former has an appealing sort of stately pathos while the latter is a gentle song, almost waltz-like affording the soprano coloratura opportunities.
Musicweb – Ian Lace