Monday, July 15, 2024
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Linda Tolchard - Calling Me Home


Overall: (?)

Classical < < < > > > Pop

Highlights: Calling Me Home, She Moved Through the Fair, Song to the Moon, Time To Say Goodbye

Calling Me Home is Linda Tolchard's first professional album, recorded independently by a small team. The wonderful thing about an album that has no major record company intervention is that the voice is always the most prominent element, and since Tolchard's voice is peacefully beautiful, this is a good thing. The arrangements are dictated by Kevin Gill on the piano that has the same relaxibility that early Hayley Westenra albums possessed. The minimal instrumental backing gives Tolchard the ability to demonstrate the purity and elegant tone of her soprano. Her vibrato is so well controlled that it is sometimes difficult to even hear and her diction is as clear as it can be. Her voice has trouble conveying emotion but it surely has a technical brilliance. It's evident from Calling Me Home that her voice is a tragic gap in the public's consciousness - she deserves a lot more exposure.

The album itself is not the most original there is; every track is as typical as the standards get, although Tolchard clearly wanted them recorded - there was no one there to tell her otherwise, afterall. It's not as if each track was not a wise choice either as many of the celtic standards are ideal for vocal dominence ('She Moved Through the Fair' goes as far as an acapella). The odd choice would have to be 'Time To Say Goodbye', usually an epic song, it was going to be difficult to pull off, but instead Tolchard has simply recorded a very distinctive rendition which is quite a feat when it has been recorded by almost every soprano in crossover. Its arrangement is heavily restrained (though true to its form, it does build up at the finale), and Tolchard treats it with the same fragility in her performance. The aria 'Song to the Moon' is also deliciously different as only she and a piano carry it through.

Although the standards are pretty enough, Tolchard's penning of the title track 'Calling Me Home' makes one wonder why there are not any more of her own compositions, as it's easily the highlight track of the album. The disc could have been a lot stronger, and could have offered a more enticing selling point if Tolchard believed in her song writing abilities enough to include more of her own songs. Although it is her own, it sits comfortably with all the other material. Standards are well loved and people like familiarity, so the suggestion to dump all of them isn't a great one, but Tolchard could have balanced this out a bit more.

Despite the criticism of the tracklist, this is certainly a recommendable album. Too often do major record companies forget subtlety; they dress up songs with fancy silks and fur until they choke, and their natural beauty is forgotten and buried. Tolchard brings back that natural beauty in all of these standards, and illustrates, as so many independent artists do, that a talented and wonderous voice, is all that is needed to create beautiful music.

Track Listing
1. Calling Me Home
2. Panis Angelicus
3. Lascia Ch'io Pianga
4. Pokarekare Ana
5. Pie Jesu
6. Song to the Moon
7. Ave Maria
8. She Moved Through the Fair
9. Marble Halls
10. How Can I Keep From Singing
11. All the Things You Are
12. Time To Say Goodbye
13. Calling Me Home (special arrangement)

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