Christopher Lincoln Bogg, tenor
Alan Hicks, piano
Art Song Canberra
Wesley Music Centre, Forrest 28 February 2016
Review by Len Power 28 February 2016
Born in Canberra, Christopher Lincoln Bogg has enjoyed a long international singing career in opera, concert and recital. He explained at the start of his recital for Art Song Canberra that the selected works formed a retrospective that reflected his life’s journey – ‘A Traveller’s Tales’. It was a good selection of works, some well-known, some unusual, but all forming a well-balanced, enjoyable program.
He commenced with ‘The Ploughboy’ by William Shield, arranged by Benjamin Britten, which showed immediately the power and clarity of his voice. He followed with three ‘Songs of Travel’ by Ralph Vaughan Williams. The second song ‘The infinite shining heavens’ was notable for the great tenderness with which it was sung. Works by Schubert, Schumann and Ravel followed. They were well-chosen, contrasting songs, giving him the opportunity to display every aspect of his fine voice.
The second half of the program began with the traditional ‘Song Of The Banana Carriers’. Knowing only the popular version by Harry Belafonte, I found it to be an interesting choice and it was good to hear it sung so beautifully. It was followed by two nicely contrasting songs by Arthur Benjamin and three by William Walton. The third Walton song, ‘Old Sir Faulk’ was a delightfully jazzy piece sung with humour and accuracy.
One of the highlights of the recital was ‘Godfrey In Paradise’ from Lee Gracegirdle’s ‘Shoalhaven Lieder’. It was cleverly performed, bringing out all of the wit, humour and cheekiness of Clive James’ words. The music for this piece was sensational and played with great precision and obvious enjoyment by Alan Hicks. Lee Bracegirdle himself was in the audience, giving the singer and accompanist the thumbs up at the end.
An unexpected delight was a set of theatre songs by Stephen Sondheim which requires acting skills as well as fine singing. Although normally sung by female characters in the shows they were written for, both ‘Losing My Mind’ and ‘Send in the Clowns’ worked well for a male voice. ‘Remember’, from ‘A Little Night Music’ was especially enjoyable with Bogg’s sly delivery of the sub-text of this song. He sang the lyrics with great clarity, an essential requirement when singing Sondheim’s works.
This was an excellent recital of contrasting works that displayed the richness of Christopher Lincoln Bogg’s voice as well as his fine delivery. Alan Hicks accompanied the singer with great skill with his excellent piano playing.
Len Power’s reviews can also be heard on ‘Artcetera’ on Artsound FM 92.7 from 9am on Saturdays.