Sincerity was the keynote of the recital by bass singer Maurice Kibel at the Bulawayo City Hall yesterday, at the Rhodesian Academy of Music’s monthly lunch-hour concert.
He received excellent and well-integrated accompaniment from David Lurie.
The highlight was undoubtedly the group of German lieder, in which Mr. Kibel evoked with sympathetic imagination the half-lit world of roses, lilies, painful loves, and ghostly encounters.
He drew a fine contrast between the ardour of “Widmung” by Schumann and the terror of Schubert’s “Der Doppelganger”. Only an accident in pitch at the end of the latter prevented a truly brilliant performance.
In comparison, the operatic arias were not quite so successful. The characterization was cautious and in the Donizetti aria there was a tendency to rush, at the cost of rhythmic bite.
His genuine and sensitive account of the folk songs and ballads was artistic rather than rustic – a valid approach.
But in the “Volga Boatman” his good taste deprived us of the authentic sound of Russian folk singing, something halfway between a belch and a Borzois’ bark.