Postponed from last year because of the singer’s indisposition, Diana Moore’s “Feminine Charms” recital at last graced Tardebigge on Sunday, genuinely “Celebrating English Song”, and this time solely from the pens of women composers.
And what a celebration this was, the accumulation of ten years of research and a couple of years in the planning, revealing the immense amount of talent and resource still to be recognised by what regrettably remains a man’s world.
All but two of the songs in Moore’s generous programme were being sung by her for the first time. The freshness of her performance, her compelling body-language from prelude, through the song, to postlude (not least the eloquent eyes), and her empathetic response to the emotional truths of the texts, particularly those from female authors -- who understand the soul better than we males do -- delivered a message which spoke to us all.
Hers is a mezzo in the traditional English style, lustrous, full-bodied but capable of nuances of timbre, singing off the words with marvellous diction, and she cascaded us with delights from too many composers to list here, aided by the brave pianism of Elizabeth Burgess, coping with a bewildering variety of styles and textures.
Highlights for me were Liza Lehmann’s “Thoughts have Wings”, simple yet heart-piercing, Amy Woodforde-Finden’s “Pale Hands I Loved” (believe me, this is a song of genuine stature), and above all, Lynne Plowman’s trio of e e cummings’ settings, two of them new commissions sponsored by the Kay Trust, and, at their centre, “I carry your heart with me”, musical rhythms matching the verbal ones, vocal line reaching both climax and sublime intimacy. This is a song never to be forgotten.