Andrew Kennedy

Andrew Kennedy sings arias by Mozart, Gluck & Berlioz

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Tenor Andrew Kennedy, the winner of a number of prestigious prizes in Europe and a debut artist at La Scala just prior to this recording, performs a selection of works by Gluck, Mozart, and Berlioz on this album with the lush and talented Southbank Sinfonia. The first of the opening four Gluck arias starts with a majestic orchestral introduction, which Kennedy follows with a majestic sound. There is a core to his voice and a fullness not often found in tenors' voices; you get the impression he is certainly a power tenor capable of singing in the world's largest houses. Though Kennedy is able to sing notes that are quite high, some of them sound a bit shouted and covered (a term to describe a particular technique used by tenors) and need more curve and vibrato. Kennedy sounds slightly constrained in these, as though he were wearing clothes that were too small for him, so to speak. The arias from Mozart's The Abduction from the Seraglio and the lesser known La Clemenza di Tito are introduced with the Abduction overture, a nice contrast. Once again, it sounds as though Kennedy has an abundance of fullness and passion that seem perhaps too grand for the classical, German-language arias from the Abduction. While Kennedy's voice sounds bright and expressive, more attention to subtleties of phrasing would create more contrast between the arias. Some of the high notes are popped out of place in "Ich baue ganz" (and in a few other arias on the album). It is in the arias from La Clemenza that it is clear Italian is very much Kennedy's language. This arias showcases his voice and emotions. There is more phrasing evident and a fullness in his voice not unlike Pavarotti's. "Se' all' impero" is Kennedy at his most expressive and tender, even when the melismas are not so clear. The Berlioz arias are also sung passionately. His climax of "Seigneur, Seigneur" in "Air de Faust" inevitably moves the listener. Kennedy as a whole would benefit from paying more attention to the subtleties of phrasing and by connecting to the music at a more deeply emotional level, perhaps remedied by choosing repertoire better suited to him. Italian opera, romantic, and verismo especially would channel his power and passion into the right musical outlets. The Southbank Sinfonia does a fine job in accompanying Kennedy, at times poignant, at times playfully Mozartian, but always musically appropriate. Kennedy is certainly an artist to watch.

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