MUSIC REVIEW: Marianne Wright and Geoffrey Pratley, Windmill Music Club, Swineshead Village Hall
The second concert in this season’s Windmill Music Club series was a case of teacher and pupil with soprano Marianne Wright and pianist Geoffrey Pratley.
This intriguing pairing threw up the unfamiliarity of Marianne with her rural surroundings against Geoffrey’s third visit to Swineshead Village Hall this year.
It emerged that the pair had a teacher-pupil link Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music, London, where Marianne came under Geoffrey’s instruction.
During the interval, Marianne said: “It’s phenomenal to be performing with Geoffrey and I feel that I learned so much from him.”
“I’m a young soubrette soprano which means I have a very light, silvery and fairly agile singing voice, suitable for operatic roles like children and little sisters.
“It was apparent to all my teachers that I’d be a soubrette soprano and my passion lies mainly in art songs (vocal music compositions. usually written for one voice, with a piano accompaniment) because there’s so much repetoire of this kind that isn’t heard very often by the public.
“I really enjoy these kinds of intimate concerts because it takes you back to the 19th century and the way these art songs would have been performed.”
To illustrate Marianne’s point, Friday’s concert featured works by French composer Francis Poulenc, German Kurt Weill and an excerpt from Russian Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov’s opera The Snow Maiden in the form of Gathering Berries.
Other music on the programme came from German composer Robert Schumann who featured in both of Geoffrey’s programmes when he visited Windmill Music Club in February and March.
I really enjoy these kinds of intimate concerts because it takes you back to the 19th century and the way these art songs would have been performedSoubrette soprano Marianne Wright
Marianne said: “We tried to find songs that would fit into our programme and songs that people would like to hear.
“But I also wanted to please the audience by trying to marry the character of the songs with my body and expressions.
“You have to embrace that before the music starts and I never want to put myself in a box while presenting a programme where I want to make music entertain people.”
Geoffrey gave Marianne her stage as she sang more traditional compositions by Mozart and Puccini, mixed in with folk songs from the Orkney Isles, poetry set to music by Sir William Walton and Irish folk music specially rearranged by Geoffrey during his long association with legendary English soprano Dame Janet Baker.
What a wonderful night of vocal melodies and soprano skills.
Review by Winston Brown