A review of Lisa Edwards-Burrs' Richmond recital
by Gary Smith
In its August Musicale series, Grace Covenant Presbyterian
Church in Richmond presented a concert on Wednesday, August 28,
with soprano Lisa Edwards-Burrs, pianist Russell Wilson, and flautist
Leslie Savoy Burrs (Ms. Edwards-Burrs' brother-in-law). The artists,
well-known in the Richmond area and throughout eastern Virginia,
attracted an audience which filled the large fellowship hall of
Ms. Edwards-Burrs demonstrated her linguistic and artistic versatility by performing
songs from a variety of periods in five different languages by Purcell, Händel, Schubert, Bellini,
Rodrigo, de Falla, and Obradors, as well as spirituals and settings of poems by 20th century
American and English composers. Her diction was absolutely perfect in the languages with
which this reviewer is familiar, and sounded just as clear in the others. She possesses a wonderful
ability to project the meaning of the words not only through her voice, but also through her facial
expressions and body language, and thus is an ideal art song performer.
In her performance of two songs by Händel, Meine Seele hört im Sehen and Das
zitternde Glänzen der spielenden Wellen, and Schubert's Der Hirt auf dem Felsen, the
listener could clearly recognize in the words and in the music the contrast between Enlightenment
and Romantic outlooks. Ms. Edwards-Burrs was especially strong in interpretation of the spiritual
Talk About a Child That Do Love Jesus by
William L. Dawson and My Tribute by the well known gospel singer André Crouch, as well as Toccata by John Carter.
The addition of a flute to the usual piano-voice art song combination enhanced two of
the songs. Another highlight of the evening was a jazz duet Stella by Starlight performed by
Russell Wilson and Leslie Savoy Burrs, which caused
many in the audience to tap their feet and nod their heads to the beat.
Ms. Edwards-Burrs originally sent the announcement of the recital
to Artsong Update. Let's hope that other performers in the Richmond area will do the same, so that the audience for artsong will continue to grow.
Gary A. Smith is an Associate Professor in the
Department of Modern Languages and Literatures,
College of William and Mary and serves on the board of Art Song of Williamsburg.
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