Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Wigmore Hall, London

Guest Reviewer, Amanda-Jane Doran

Ailish Tynan is the most engaging and charismatic of performers, and she and Iain Burnside put together a programme of glorious song, exploring the depths of human emotion with the emphasis on luminous hope.

Grieg’s Six Songs Opus 48, to German texts, exudes a powerful emotional range, setting poetry of delicacy and passion. Tynan and Burnside were in total command. Tynan’s performance was nothing less than astonishing, both technically and in her ability to express profound emotion so directly. Wolf’s Goethe settings were composed the same year, 1889, and rival Grieg’s settings in intensity. The duo’s selections made for great variety in length and mood, Tynan’s interpretation of the celebrated Kennst du das Land was individual and affecting.

Four Irish traditional numbers followed, in arrangements by Herbert Hughes. Lightness of touch was most welcome at this point, and Tynan’s gift for humour and pathos was on display. Songs by Charles Ives and Libby Larsen extended the narrative. Larsen’s ‘Pregnant’, from the 2015 cycle The Birth Project, was a triumphant choice.

The final selection, Harold Arlen’s ‘(Somewhere) Over the Rainbow’ was dedicated to Tynan’s sister and niece, both key workers. The radiant encore, Mimi’s aria from La bohème, was further evidence of Tynan’s insight and golden vocal gifts.