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Review: Julian Forbes

PUBLISHED: 09:58 11 May 2010 | UPDATED: 16:22 01 July 2010

Christopher Smith

The first of six lunchtime recitals showcasing talent from the Royal Academy of Music brought, Julian Forbes, a former choral scholar at Trinity College, Cambridge, and his fluent accompanist Christopher White to the Assembly House.

Assembly House

The first of six lunchtime recitals showcasing talent from the Royal Academy of Music brought, Julian Forbes, a former choral scholar at Trinity College, Cambridge, and his fluent accompanist Christopher White to the Assembly House.

After Roger Quilter's charming, if rather mannered Jacobean Lyrics came Beethoven's To His Far-Away Sweetheart. The tenor caught the ardour and longing of this fine song-cycle, still urgent in its expression of the pangs of love, though dating from 1816 and showing its age when consolation was too easily found in nature.

Four songs by Faure transported us into a French drawing-room, if not a boudoir. Their lyrics breathed eroticism, with the heady scent of flowers and fervent religious language applied to a succession of adorable ladies.

With an attractive voice that was at its best when not at full power, Forbes confidently switched languages and found enough, if not a great deal, of variety in tone.

A group of Housman settings by Lennox Berkeley, who was educated at Gresham's School during the Great War, did not really make great impact. But three pieces specially written by Ed Scolding provided a succinct, witty and apt conclusion to the programme.

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