The soprano Kira Braun has been a performing soloist since just 2014. Yet she has already released six recordings – five with pianist Peter Krochak – the latest of which is, very possibly her best. Picking up from where their last album The Echoing Air left off, On the Wings of Song – with more art songs by Poulenc, together with works by Mendelssohn and Obradors – is a ravishing duet between a singer who excels at being both a lyric and dramatic soprano and a pianist who springs and leaps with much agility and nuance.
All the songs receive terrific performances and although the program is weighted slightly in favour of Poulenc and Obradors, Mendelssohn’s Wanderlied is particularly radiant – perhaps predictably so, given Braun’s German heritage. She strikes an ideal balance between a certain compassion and sophistication, something that makes Mendelssohn seem quite ideally suited for Braun as she delivers his songs with affectionate communication of the poetry. Her command of Poulenc is unrivalled and she proves this with her airy sculpting of Les chemins de l’amour. She also grows into the characters of Obradors’ songs with great feeling and intensity.
Krochak’s contribution to the unique musicality of this disc cannot be overestimated. Being a singer himself seems to give him an added edge over others who might have accompanied Braun. This is what gives his playing a beguiling refinement, enabling him to traverse this repertoire with judicious melodiousness and delicacy.