The second in the series of concerts given by Old Cranleighans to mark the 150th Anniversary celebrations featured Lucy and Hilary Cronin, two young singers of immense potential. These charming and engaging sisters gave a beautifully balanced recital to a full house in the Merriman Music School, offering a varied programme that showcased both their individual talents and the entrancing charisma they both possess, particularly when they sing together.
They chose works which highlighted their different voices and personalities. Lucy’s songs illustrating the extraordinary clarity and precision of her voice, honed by Stephen Layton as a Choral Scholar at Trinity College, Cambridge. The drama and emotion captured in her intimate portrayal of John Dowland’s lute songs was balanced by her immaculate French and German in songs by Fauré and Grieg (her degree in Modern Languages serving her well here!), but it was perhaps in Walton’s songs from Façade that her captivating vocal colour, understanding of the (difficult) text, and her innate musical intelligence combined to illustrate these songs with an illuminating clarity.
Hilary trained as a postgraduate at Trinity Laban Conservatoire under Teresa Cahill, and her voice hints at an exciting operatic richness still to come; songs by Strauss, Gounod and Debussy had a mellifluous quality allied to a dramatic allure that is beyond her years. Her range is exceptional, and she possesses an assurance that encompasses the full range of the emotional spectrum. Her choice of Handel’s Endless Pleasure was the perfect vehicle for her easy charm, and one suspects it will not be long before she commands a much higher fee!
The extraordinary charisma these two possess is hard to convey in words, but suffice to say that it is at its most apparent when they sing together, and duets by Vivaldi, Handel and Bernstein illustrated the intuitive understanding they have, and the way in which two very different voices can blend together beautifully. Their ability to entertain an audience is notable, and appreciated by all in their perfectly judged encore, Irving Berlin’s Sisters. This has been apparent since I first heard them sing ten years ago. Their performance on Wednesday stood as a wonderful example to current pupils as to what ten years of hard work, dedication and commitment can achieve, and suggested that both are destined for great things; now in their mid-twenties, time is still very much on their side, and it was a genuine pleasure to be reunited with them on stage.