Here’s a beguiling programme of song transcriptions, salon pieces and bonbons ranging from Massenet’s ‘Meditation’ and Elgar favourites to lesser-known works by Bridge. There are also surprising delights, such as Madeleine Mitchell’s arrangements of Berg’s ‘Die Nachtigall’ and Poulenc’s ‘Violin’. She clearly relishes giving her wonderful lyrical tone full rein, captured in fine sound, while Andrew Ball is a perfectly discreet accompanist. Nonetheless, like many singers (and fellow violinists),Mitchell would benefit from a more flexible approach to vibrato.
Bridge’s Moto Perpetuo and Morceau Caracteristique (its first recording) offer some welcome feistiness. Indeed, a little more grit in the oyster might have underlines the sublime qualities of many of these works. Strauss’s ‘Morgen’ makes an exquisite conclusion, as if everything before was merely an extension of the lengthy opening violin solo. When the voice finally enters, it does not seem the least bit out of place, and nor should it, for Elizabeth Watts’s divine performance confirms that she is an exceptional young talent. Overall an enjoyable disc. ××××