Cherry Ripe

Michael Shmith
The Age 'Green Guide' (Australia)
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The Australian soprano Deborah Riedel, who died in Sydney on January 8 of cancer, was only 50. She was blessed with a pure, fine and agile voice, but was also an excellent musician, more than capable of handling even the heaviest scores with aplomb and intelligence. This recording of ‘vocal treasures’ is therefore Riedel’s memorial: it is hard to imagine a better one. Richard Bonynge , that questing scholar of song – and an early champion of Riedel – has unearthed some glorious rarities, as well as writing illuminating notes. The Arcadia Lane Orchestra provides excellent accompaniments. Composers include William Boyce, Domenico Cimarosa, Thomas Arne, Johann Christian Bach and the long-forgotten Girolamo Crescentini, a mezzo-soprano castrato and fine composer. The title track, by Charles Edward Horn, is not a paean to the confection, but a jolly tribute to the joys of living that was the hit of its time. Riedel brought to the art song the same qualities with which she imbued opera – and this felicitous selection of the elegant, the beautiful and the quirky is the perfect way to celebrate her talents and lament her loss.