When a soprano puts "Chere nuit" by Bachelet on her recital, it is a good bet that she has a lyric voice with a lovely soft, high register. Yesterday afternoon in the Phillips Collection Gwendolyn Bradley made the song one of the finest moments in a program that had many purely auditory rewards.
The winner of the 1977 Friday Morning Music Club's 1977 competition, women's division. Bradley has a beautiful voice with which she easily produces exquisite sounds. She also showed fine taste in listing songs by Mozart, Richard Straus, Hugo Wolf, Bachmaninov, Hahn, Delibes, Paul Nordoff. Still and Hageman all designed to show off her best points.
High notes, including a perfect C sharp in the Rachmaninov Vocalise, were well placed; but the top E in Mozart's "Vorrei spiegarvi" is in an altitude Bradley should avoid. She does not need it, and its use strains the voice.
What she must do now, to match her interpretive gifts to the purely vocal ones, is to sharpen words in each language so that we hear every one; and to keep moving the music along, for at present it tends to bog down in phrases of ovely sounds lacking motivation.
A stronger pianist will help in this, with both the rhythmic and dynamic nuances Bradley needs.