Carnegie Hall recital with Jennifer Johnson Cano
Michelle V. Agins
The New York Times
Mr. Polenzani brought baffled tenderness to the opening songs, in which Jan is distressed by his longing. But he sang with piercing intensity and terror during the cycle’s tumultuous episodes, when Jan becomes unhinged.
“Mr. Polenzani offered sensitive, deeply focused performances of six Schubert songs, followed by a nuanced yet forthright account of Beethoven’s song cycle “An die Ferne Geliebte.” While none of the music was written more recently than a hundred years ago, this program felt like a subtle model of artistic adventurousness.”
“Polenzani lingered ever so slightly on the soft, final high note when singing longingly of a bird free to sing of nothing but love all summer. He instilled a jaunty, conversational tone in ‘Der Einsame’. ‘Ständchen’ began with a sense of mystery and suspense, a mood that never abated in a seamless arc of emotion that climaxed in the final stanza with a plea for his beloved to appear. With the final song, ‘Im Abendrot’, the poet was alone at sunset, vowing to embrace the fire of love, knowing full well that heartbreak will follow in its course.”