Wandering Dreamily Along, Then Crying to the Heavens
By ANNE MIDGETTE [NY Times, 14 Feb 05]
Recitals should be about something, I always say. So I should have been delighted that “dans ce vague d’un Dimanche,” on a dreamy Sunday (a line from Debussy’s song “L’échelonnement des haies”) at Alice Tully Hall, José van Dam, the excellent Belgian bass-baritone, perfectly suited his delivery to words like “parcourent en revant les coteaux enchantées/ ou, jadis, sourit ma jeunesse” (“wandering dreamily across the enchanted slopes where, once, my youth smiled”), a line from Fauré’s “Automne.”
But “En sourdine,” or “Muted,” the title of another Fauré song, was a little too apt a description of the first half of the program, in which Mr. van Dam dreamily wandered through an enchanted thicket of Fauré songs, not quite up to the smiles of his youth. It sounded as if he wasn’t warmed up, and he seemed oddly out of focus, reading the music from a stand as if he hadn’t fully internalized it.
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