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Delightful concert of familiar and unfamiliar romantic classics

Andrew Goodwin (tenor) with John Martin (piano). Photo: Peter Hislop.

Music / “Romantic Classics”, Andrew Goodwin, tenor; John Martin, piano. At Wesley Music Centre, July 24. Reviewed by LEN POWER.

THE list of classic romantic songs by Fauré, Hahn, Poulenc, Schumann, Strauss, Mahler and Rachmaninov and piano works by Chopin was attractive enough to attend Art Song Canberra’s concert, but the combination of tenor, Andrew Goodwin, and pianist, John Martin, made it an event to remember.

Sydney-born Andrew Goodwin became the first Australian to study classical singing at St Petersburg State Conservatory in Russia. He has gone on to a busy international career singing at some of the world’s greatest opera houses and concert halls. He is a passionate champion of art song.

In a colourful career of great variety, pianist John Martin has worked with many stars of the Australian and international concert and theatre scenes.

The concert commenced with the song, “After a Dream”, by Gabriel Fauré. Andrew Goodwin sang it with great tenderness. The clarity and control of his voice was remarkable and he made this wide-ranging song sound effortless to sing.

He followed with “At the Water’s Edge” by Reynaldo Hahn and, again, it was sung extremely well. His singing of the final sustained high note was hauntingly beautiful.

“To Chloris” by Reynaldo Hahn showed how striking it was that Goodwin could convey so much emotion through these songs with subtle vocal inflections. He then showed his acting skills as well with an extroverted and colourful performance of “:Paganini” from Poulenc’s “Métamorphoses” song cycle.

Other highlights included “Morgen!” by Richard Strauss, “Where the Splendid Trumpets Sound” by Gustav Mahler and “Lilacs” by Sergei Rachmaninov.

Every song was superbly accompanied by Martin and the lively and humorous interaction of the two men between songs showed their working relationship was an enjoyable one.

Martin performed two solo works. His playing of Chopin’s highly romantic “Waltz in C# minor, Op. 64 No. 2” was sublime. He followed it later in the concert with another work by Chopin, “Impromptu No 1 in A flat, Op. 29”. Again, it was played superbly and with so much feeling. The audience responded with enthusiastic applause.

This was a delightful concert of familiar and unfamiliar romantic classics by two highly skilful artists.

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