MAHLER: Songs of a Wayfarer. Ruckert-Lieder: No. 5, Ich bin der Welt abhanden. LÉHAR: Erste Liebe. Wenn eine schöne Frau befiehlt. WOLF: Mörike Lieder: An die Geliebte. Italian Lieder Book: Der Mond hat eine schwere Klag’. HRISTIĆ: Elegija. MILOJEVIC: The Autumn Elegy: No. 1, Jesenja elegija. LISZT: Im Rhein, im schönen Strome. ILSE WEBER: Wiegala. BRAHMS: Ich sah als KnabeBlumen blühn. O wüsst ich doch den Weg zurück. Auf dem Kirchhöfe / Ilker Acayürek, ten; Fiona Pollak, pno / Avi 8553937D
Tenor Ilker Acayürek, who to judge from this cover photo looks like a homeless Hippie, was born in Istanbul, Turkey but grew up in Vienna, where he sang in the Mozart Boys’ Choir. He is a dedicated lieder singer and, in this his second solo CD, includes one song each by Stevan Hristić by Miloje Molijevic amidst a program of conventional German lieder.
Acayürek has a completely firm voice; in fact, his tone has no vibrato whatsoever in it, which makes his tone sound completely even throughout its range. If I had to pick one singer from the past who he reminds me of strongly, it would be American tenor Paul Reimers, who made a number of lieder recordings for the old Victor Blue Label (and a few duets with “name” sopranos on Red Seal) back in the acoustic era. Like Reimers, Acayürek is a somewhat generic interpreter whose main attraction is the incredible purity of his tone, an almost “tubular” sound that is unique. When he opens up the voice, as on Mahler’s “Ich hab’ein glühend Messer” from Songs of a Wayfarer, it almost comes as a surprise that he can emote this strongly, although on one high note his tone spreads a bit. He is partnered well in this recital by pianist Fiona Pollak, who plays with an equally understated but well-judged sense of drama.
Sadly, the two Franz Léhar operetta numbers have no charm at all. A superb vocalist he may be, but apparently living in Vienna for most of his life hasn’t given Acayürek a clue how to sing what is quintessentially Viennese music. He needs to listen to Richard Tauber and/or Daniel Behle. Not too surprisingly, the Hristić and Milojevic songs receive his most passionate delivery.
A very interesting disc, then, for tenor fanciers, particularly lovers of lieder, but mostly for Acayürek’s unusual timbre and superb voice control.
—© 2020 Lynn René Bayley
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