Reviewed by Paula Citron
Anne Sofie von Otter, mezzo-soprano, and Brad Mehldau, pianist
Royal Conservatory of Music
Feb. 25, 2011
The audience comments after the Anne Sofie von Otter and Brad Mehldau concert were interesting. On one hand, there were the purists who wanted a traditional vocal recital. On the other, were those who wanted more jazz – all of which explains why the concert was so intriguing.
The recital, called Love Songs featured the gifted Swedish mezzo-soprano and the American jazz pianist performing lieder by Grieg, Peterson-Berger, Stenhammar, Sibelius, Brahms and Strauss. Mehldau threw in two Brahms’ Capriccios for solo piano. The freshness came with the little known Scandinavian songs.
In the second half, von Otter sang 5 songs by Mehldau himself, with lyrics by the fragile American poet Sara Teasdale. They were the strongest songs on the program because they made von Otter’s voice soar. The concert finished with selections by Michel Legrand, Joni Mitchell, Lennon/McCartney and others, with Mehldau inserting his lyrical piano riffs.
Von Otter’s voice is pure which means she can colour it at will. Mehldau is the epitome of mellow.