Thursday, November 18, 2010

Boston Musical Intelligencer: Jeanine De Bique Sings 'Hall Johnson, H. Leslie Adams, H. T. Burleigh, and Jacqueline Hairtson'

[Jeanine De Bique (PHOTO CREDIT: Federico Ferario)]

Soprano Jeanine De Bique was born in Trinidad and Tobago in 1981. She won the “International Vocal Competition 2010” and the “Arleen Auger Prize” of 5,000 Euros.

The Boston Musical Intelligencer
November 17, 2010
by Geoffrey Wieting
“On November 14, a chilly and gloomy afternoon, a fortunate audience at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum enjoyed some at least figurative warmth and light at a recital by soprano Jeanine De Bique and pianist Warren Jones. De Bique, a native of Trinidad and Tobago, won the 2008-09 Young Concert Artists International Auditions and already has an impressive résumé of opera roles and recital appearances, while Jones is one of the world’s most sought-after collaborative pianists.”

The program concluded with six spirituals in memorable arrangements by Hall Johnson, H. Leslie Adams, H. T. Burleigh, and Jacqueline Hairtson. De Bique delivered these with a natural, clear diction, avoiding the prissy, classically-trained over-enunciation that can mar some singers’ spirituals. The first was His Name So Sweet in Johnson’s playful version, and both performers clearly had fun with it. A Balm in Gilead, in Johnson’s arrangement, lived up to its name in De Bique‘s singing, inspiring a bass in the audience to hum along. (In fact, before beginning the group De Bique had invited the audience to participate in whatever manner they felt inspired to do.) Prayer, in the subtly jazz-colored Adams arrangement, was a moving plea for direction from a soul who has lost it. In the show-stopping closer, Ain’t-a That Good News, the inventive arranger Hairtson fully embraced jazz in both harmonies and swinging syncopations. De Bique and Jones brought down the house with it.

“There were two more spirituals for encores. Ride On, King Jesus, had an unorthodox but very effective arrangement: the piano evoked a powerful locomotive, emphasizing “no man can a-hinder thee.” And finally, This Little Light of Mine was sung a cappella with luminous expressivity. Jones also addressed the audience, pointing out that though De Bique has studied and coached with him for some six years, this was their first public performance. I hope and trust it was the first of a great many.” [H. Leslie Adams (b. 1932) and Henry T. Burleigh (1866-1949) are composers featured at]

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