Simon Keenlyside and beauty of bewilderment


Today we are going to start this chronicle by the end. The end of the recital of Lied which jointly organizes the Teatro de la Zarzuela and the CNational Center for the Diffusion of Music (CNDM). Simon Keenlyside, the British baritone who had just performed a meritorious repertoire of romantic works, german and french, modestly asked the audience to wait ten more minutes, after, they could go home.

Keenlyside reminded us then, that those days commemorated the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. He wanted to pay tribute and remember the suffering of the Jewish people by interpreting the song that his grandfather, the great violinist Leonard Hirsch, played the violin when he was little, el Kadish de las Two Hebrew melodies by Maurice Ravel. The deep intention in the interpretation of this work, the sensitivity and feeling with which Keenlyside evoked its origins, left the entire audience excited and awed, barely able to react with applause. This moment of momentous communication, that hits and shakes us inside, should not go unnoticed, nor be wasted. Auschwitz didn't just appear out of nowhere. Until you get to him, millions of, apparently, small events were happening throughout Europe. Auschwitz can start over each day before our disinterest or dissimulation.

But as i say, this was the end of a recital, even if it was the beginning of another. Before Keenlyside had already excited us with a first part interpreting the Schwanengesang D 657 (1828) from Franz Schubert. A repertoire dominated by the experienced British baritone but before which, this time, seemed not too comfortable at first. It was with the progress of the works that he gained in the dramatic intensity of works such as Der Atlas (The atlas) o The Doppelganger (The double), to be abandoned later in the romanticism of Am Meer (By the sea).

The second part was much more fluid. The French romantic repertoire with works by Maurice Ravel, Francis Poulenc, Claude Debussy Y Gabriel Fauré, fits like a glove to an athletic Keenlyside, also vocally, that allows you great expressiveness in your performance. His refined technique and flexibility give him good projection and extraordinary phrasing.

The South African Piano Accompaniment Caroline Dowdle it was correct. Better in the second part, where the weight and absolute prominence was the voice of a Simon Keenlyside who at that point in the recital had already deployed all his magic, that is not little.

One more success of this Lied Cycle before an audience grateful to a Simon Keenlyside who did not save anything in his performance and who generated a beautiful consternation and deep emotion.

Photograph: (c) CNDM_Rafa Martín