Holger Berndsen / Katarzyna Dondalska

Keep talking to me...

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Keep talking to me... Review

by Uncle Dave Lewis

Soprano Katarzyna Dondalska has a lovely instrument; her singing is never heavy, her sense of pitch is true, and while she follows the emotional ebb and flow of the texts she sings, she never overdoes it. It's all around very fine singing; however, her Telos disc Keep Talking to Me…, where she is partnered with piano accompanist Holger Berndsen, is quite a challenge for the non-Pole, as it contains a program of 36 lieder in Polish. That's 12 lied by Mieczyslaw Karlowicz, 14 by Stanislaw Moniuszko, and 10 by Frédéric Chopin, half of this last group in versions converted into French by legendary prima donna Pauline Viardot-Garcia. The accompaniments in these songs are not particularly demanding and Berndsen does a good job of responding to Dondalska's moods with some measure of flair and without getting in her way. While Dondalska certainly sings pleasantly, the disc overall is not so compelling that it will carry you all the way through; it makes sense to listen to the three composers in their relative groups of 12, 14, and 10 songs in order not to develop a sort of Polish lieder ennui. The Polish and Viardot-Garcia's French texts are supplied but no translations are included. There are certain songs that stand out; Karlowicz's "Spi w blaskach nocy," Op. 3/4, is a lovely setting and Moniuszko's "Piesn Nai" is remarkable for its length and the characterization that Dondalska imparts to it. Admirably, Dondalska earns her paycheck in coloratura terms in the showy additions that Viardot-Garcia made to Chopin's songs; some of these flights of vocal fancy will raise the hairs on the back of your neck. As a survey of 19th century Polish song, Telos' Keep Talking to Me… is serviceable; not great, perhaps, but certainly decent and one could do a lot worse. Some knowledge of the Polish language will come in handy, however.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 Holger Berndsen / Katarzyna Dondalska 01:22 Amazon
2 Holger Berndsen / Katarzyna Dondalska 01:36 Amazon
3 Holger Berndsen / Katarzyna Dondalska 02:14 Amazon
4 Holger Berndsen / Katarzyna Dondalska 01:32 Amazon
5 Holger Berndsen / Katarzyna Dondalska 00:55 Amazon
6 Holger Berndsen / Katarzyna Dondalska 01:38 Amazon
7 Holger Berndsen / Katarzyna Dondalska 01:38 Amazon
8 Holger Berndsen / Katarzyna Dondalska 01:46 Amazon
9 Holger Berndsen / Katarzyna Dondalska 01:00 Amazon
10 Holger Berndsen / Katarzyna Dondalska 01:35 Amazon
11 Holger Berndsen / Katarzyna Dondalska 00:55 Amazon
12 Holger Berndsen / Katarzyna Dondalska 03:10 Amazon
13 Holger Berndsen / Katarzyna Dondalska 06:27 Amazon
14 Holger Berndsen / Katarzyna Dondalska 01:13 Amazon
15 Holger Berndsen / Katarzyna Dondalska 02:18 Amazon
16 Holger Berndsen / Katarzyna Dondalska 02:41 Amazon
17 Holger Berndsen / Katarzyna Dondalska 01:45 Amazon
18 Holger Berndsen / Katarzyna Dondalska 02:43 Amazon
19 Holger Berndsen / Katarzyna Dondalska 02:04 Amazon
20 Holger Berndsen / Katarzyna Dondalska 01:54 Amazon
21 Holger Berndsen / Katarzyna Dondalska 01:27 Amazon
22 Holger Berndsen / Katarzyna Dondalska 02:18 Amazon
23 Holger Berndsen / Katarzyna Dondalska 02:23 Amazon
24 Holger Berndsen / Katarzyna Dondalska 01:22 Amazon
25 Holger Berndsen / Katarzyna Dondalska 02:29 Amazon
26 Holger Berndsen / Katarzyna Dondalska 01:18 Amazon
27 Holger Berndsen / Katarzyna Dondalska 02:24 Amazon
28 Holger Berndsen / Katarzyna Dondalska 02:05 Amazon
29 Holger Berndsen / Katarzyna Dondalska 03:01 Amazon
30 Holger Berndsen / Katarzyna Dondalska 02:20 Amazon
31 Holger Berndsen / Katarzyna Dondalska 01:50 Amazon
32 Holger Berndsen / Katarzyna Dondalska 04:09 Amazon
33 Holger Berndsen / Katarzyna Dondalska 03:03 Amazon
34 Holger Berndsen / Katarzyna Dondalska 03:11 Amazon
35 Holger Berndsen / Katarzyna Dondalska 03:23 Amazon
36 Holger Berndsen / Katarzyna Dondalska 02:22 Amazon
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