When a performer releases a “Best of” collection CD, it usually means that they have a large enough discography from which to make the compilation. In this latest release from ABC Classics, tenor David Hobson delivers his first compilation CD with “popular” tracks chosen from recordings of the last few years. Not that opera and Lieder aren’t “popular” , but defining genres are not the purpose of this preview. With his release, Hobson returns to his teenage roots when, he says his feet were “squarely in the pop, rock, folk and jazz genres’, not surprisingly performing in bands as a university student.
This line up on the CD straddles folk, theatre and “pop” with music by Rota (“Speak Softly Love” from The Godfather) and Francis Lai’s “Where do I begin” from “Love Story“; Chris Isaak’s “Crying” and “Wicked Game”, Sting (“Fields of Gold”), “The Last Rose of Summer” ” Loch Lomond” and “O Waly Waly”. Also, one of Hobson’s own compositions with Phil Buckle “It’s only rain” .
Funnily enough it was his work as a composer of music theatre that took him away from his origins in “popular” music. He was performing one of his own music theatre compositions based on “Macbeth”in audition for producers and backers in Melbourne when, he was heard by the then General Manager of the Victorian State Opera who not only agreed to stage the work, but persuaded Hobson to take up a career in opera.He joined the Young Artist Programme, studied Italian and rose rapidly to solo roles like the defining Rodolfo opposite Cheryl Barker’s Mimi in Baz Luhrmann’s production of Puccini’c “La Boheme”.
Hobson’s rendition of these lighter songs is infused with the technique of the classically trained singer without being “proper”. “I believe that because I didn’t go down the operatic route, I have a lightness of touch that allows me to sing these songs without much operatic weight”. The voice has an unusual timbre and he traverses the higher register with openness and ease. It’s a pleasure to hear.
Hobson is accompanied on this CD by a variety of instrumentalists, orchestras, and conductors.
ABC Classics 480 5144.
Feature track: “O Waly Waly” Trad. Arr. by Jessica Wells. David Hobson, tenor with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra conducted by Benjamin Northey.
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