Australian Premiere, by Peter Donnelly

Review of Song Recital given by Michael Lampard, baritone, and Karen Smithies, piano

St. George’s Church, Battery Point, Tasmania

Review by Peter Donnelly

Michael Lampard has made an increasingly important contribution to the Tasmanian music scene in recent years. He will be missed when he and his family move to Melbourne next month to pursue his career goals. Among his many activities, the performance, and sometimes commissioning, of new vocal works has been of great significance. This concert featured the Australian premiere of Ian Venables ‘Songs of Eternity and Sorrow’, and the world premiere of Matthew Dewey’s ‘Four Shakespeare Songs’.The four Venables songs contain music that is dark and full of unease, reflecting the brilliant texts by A.E. Housman. Lampard’s rendering of the first song ‘Easter hymn’ had a searing intensity, amply demonstrating the level of confidence and range of expression he has latterly attained in his singing. Dewey’s 4 Shakespeare settings, composed for Lampard, immediately impressed with the soaring lyricism of the music, particularly in the 1st and 4th songs. I expect that we are likely to hear future performances of this fine cycle. Karen Smithies was the excellent accompanist throughout.

‘The Mercury Newspaper’, Hobart