A damp and miserable February evening was brightened by Tickhill Music Society when the South African baritone Njabulo Madlala gave the audience some well balanced and wide ranging vocal treats, very ably accompanied by the sensitive playing of pianist William Vann. The rich and powerful baritone voice, which could easily fill a large concert hall or opera house, was appropriately tempered to suit the smaller venue and brought many musical delights.
The programme opened with four typically soulful Schubert songs. These were followed by a group of English songs, three by Roger Quilter and the somnolent Sleep by Ivor Gurney. The first half closed with three Richard Strauss items, the last one, ‘Morgen’ being particularly well presented.
Four evocative songs by Vaughan Williams opened the second half, including the particular favourite Silent Noon with words by Dante Gabriel Rossetti. Two languorous French gems by Duparc transported us to a different sound world, demonstrating the singer’s ability to embrace a wide variety of styles.
The rich baritone voice was ideal for three American Spirituals, all delivered with fervour and conviction. The published programme rounded off with several traditional South African folk songs but the enthusiastic audience demanded more which produced the novel ‘clicking’ sound for our amusement and admiration. Throughout the singer was admirably supported by William Vann’s assured but unassuming piano playing. A thoroughly enjoyable evening from both artists.