Moments of Love – Labelle and Wyner show real chemistry

Dominique Labelle and Yehudi Wyner have put together an engaging program with “Moments of Love.” Labelle’s voice has a warm lower register and a very clean upper register that she uses to great effect in this musical examination of love’s multiplicity. There’s a real chemistry between singer and accompanist that makes the listening experience even more enjoyable.

Featured on the recording is Ravel’s “Trois Poems de Stephane Mallarme” and a selection of songs by Saint-Saens. Labelle’s voice is well-suited to this French repertoire, sounding slightly mysterious in the Ravel, and inviting and charming with Saint-Saens’ selections.

There’s something about the composer playing his own work — especially one as accomplished a performer as Wyner. “The Second Madrigal: Voices of Women” was originally written for soprano and chamber ensemble. His adaptation of the work for voice and solo piano is quite effective. The composition seems to borrow gestures from mid-century atonality, but still (to my ears) rooted around tonal centers. The result is music that conveys deep emotion though apparent dissonance — emotion Labelle expresses quite effectively.

Reynaldo Hahn’s youthful art songs are sung with a simple beauty entirely appropriate to the material, and the disc ends with four songs from Britten. Jazz and tin-pan alley rubs shoulders with classical in these numbers, and Labelle delivers with a wink and smile.

Moments of Love: Ravel, Saint-Saens, Wyner, Hahn, Britten
Dominique Labell, soprano; Yehudi Wyner, piano
Bridge Records

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