midweek music

must have! but i want the entire dvd session!!
nooo a cd won’t do! though it might :-), if the library has electronic version.

You know i’ve just discovered this piece as of 4 days ago! via ACA and the Accademia degli Astrusi. I quite like ACA’s take, but was thinking of the need to explore more because there is some thing in her treatment of english that I somehow can not feel.. one could say somehow it was distracting..** but that orchestra is something! Then i recalled the write up earworm did with D.Röschmann.. and some mention of Susan Graham.. which I sort of put to the side pocket this afternoon while listening again (for the 11th time) the version with ACA.. then it was really time to explore, and Emmanuelle Haïm!!!! W.O.W .m.u.s.t. have that whole recording! it’s ashamed if they didn’t tape it for release! and why not, we had the dvd with JEG’s in rehearsal. Whyyyyyy oh why can’t we have one with Emmanuelle?

— Quite amazing, her take with the orchestra. And S.Graham’s ending, w.o.w
— (it’s great she also chose the larger sized orchestra, as she explained in lovely English at the beginning of the video..)
— now that I listened again for the 3rd time, it’s quite interesting how she pronounces “Belinda”.. of course it’s not the essence of the lament, but the treatment here you don’t quite notice she’s really talking too much directly to Belinda, whereas with ACA you can feel Belinda is right by the side listening to Dido’s intimacy. very interesting, how the text works with the emphasis 🙂
— more note on text treatment, which i find quite interesting having listening now to ACA for the last 1.5 month.. in how instinctive she is in Italian (as far as i can tell, i don’t understand the text, but i “hear” the phrase! if you can believe that. It reminded me of the time when Al nicely provided me with VK’s translation and I had to listen to VK speaking in Bulgarian to match the time of the transcript; it’s truly amazing the melody we (some of us) create (how we stretch certain word, how we end some words, etc.) when we speak that inherently it is understood (that, and subtle facial, eye, hand, body movements too). Anyhow, this is not a post about ACA, but about treatment of text, that I was quite amazed how well it works with certain singers. On that subject, i listened to ACA also singing in German (and English)***, and there suddenly i felt, as the phrase goes, ‘the words get in the way’. Which is something you do not hear here with S.Graham. very interesting 🙂

**– i take it back, as i have now discovered that she was singing 3 different characters. I really like her lament!! 🙂 , a *very* different take, but wonderful phrasing. In a 3rd person feeling though.. talking “out of body” or “to Belinda”, whereas S.Graham’s is to self… . lovely .
edit: crap, the library has only cd version, time to jump hoops again..

About thả diều
writing-challenged opera-addict

21 Responses to midweek music

  1. dehggial says:

    that was amazing. I’m not even that big on laments but SG kept my attention throughout with the phrasing and the wealth of colours (and the control). There is obviously an extra layer of feeling when you sing in your own language. SG is such a contrasting person: a very sensitive singer but looks so down-to-earth when she talks!

    btw, the luteist/theorbo player at the beginning of the hihlighted section, I remember her from Xerse. She was on through the show, she kept watching the singers not just when she needed to accompany them but even when she wasn’t involved.

    • thả diều says:

      and i now have the cd sitting beautifully next to me… it’s like am hoping with it nearby i can “feel” the music.. and Emmanuelle’s rhythm..
      (and i recognized the asian viola da gamba player from another baroque orchestra). it’s really great when they’re so into the music and drama :-). (btw, i can not express how much i love the sound of the harpsichord when it entered after the strings..)
      (ps2- the piece got quite some lovely soprano lines and duets too!)
      (ps3- 😀 , i found SG’s tone really great as well (a general statement, i don’t listen to her enough it seems…))

      • dehggial says:

        neither have I listened to her that much, though she is one of my top 3 Sestos, which is top praise from me 😉 I’ve basically heard her here, in Tito and in Iphigenie in Tauride, which I didn’t like very much at the time (the music).

        the whole thing was ace and it made me think I need to get to know this piece a lot better (I’m pretty poor at Purcell).

        • thả diều says:

          want a recommendation? 😀 😀
          — i’m guessing i have no clue what it (Purcell’s) is… and when everyone made some hoopla about some famous “aria” that loads of people sing i tend to shy away from (unjustifiably).. but this one for sure it’s love as first heard (at this stage of hearing devel) and i have the Accademia degli Astrusi to thank for that. Really need a strong impression to sit right through on first run, then on demand for repeats.
          — after 5th round, i wonder if should copy + paste your description of SG’s lament to main post, quite amazing her expressive phrasing!! and at a moment you might think oh no she might push it too hard, but nope, pull it riiiiight back into the deep inner end.. really love.
          — actually this is the 3rd sample i have listened to. last night i also sat through 3/4 of S.Connolly’s cd (on tube), but i somehow lost interest mainly due to orchestra’s ultra-light take..

          • dehggial says:

            copy/paste if you want 🙂 it’s impressive. That’s what I meant by control, how she goes really intense then pulls back into a soft sound = that’s an intelligent, experienced singer with good technique showing us how it’s done! Younger singers just can’t do that sort of thing, you have to get all those qualities together before you can pull off something like that.

            I really like how she said “darkness”, how she made it sound all creepy and dark – one could probably get what Dido was feeling even if they didn’t understand English.

        • thả diều says:

          i just remember she was also really good as Marguerite in Faust ‘la damnation de faust’ way back with a surprisingly great JK (before he got all famous)… and i was really impressed with her singing on that 5-hr marathon of les troyens both 2 wks ago as well as in the 2003 version. She did say she doesn’t sing often early music, that might have been why i haven’t paid attention… that and the constant decked up and pairing w/ R.Flemming who i’m somehow allergic to on MET big screen features.. (may be i’m allergic to the MET 😀 )
          (in fact, that might be a piece of good music for the overnight in office session here.., after non-stop Dido + Monteverdi..)

          • dehggial says:

            I’m with you on the constant pairing with RF. She should 1) work in Europe more, 2) less RF, 3) more early music, 4) come to London and sing something I like 😀 (w/o RF).

          • stray says:

            Not early music but if you feel like being completist, SG’s Geschwitz is here on Tuesday at 7 ET.

          • thả diều says:

            oh, next tues, am already on travel! for that same trip that causes me to miss A.Forsythe’s recital (grrrrrr) 🙂
            but while we’re on the subject somewhat.. i realized she was here last year for a recital, part of the celebrity series i believed… and 2 nights ago was ASvO’s . I wouldn’t have managed but the lovely hausmates wanted to go but found out tix was $70.. which of course if any of my ladies were here i’d be willing to pay for multiple nights.. but otherwise we agree it is quite hefty and is, consequently, a problem when the arts are not subsidized by the state, so sad 🙂 (i think i did once cast votes for taking away money to military and put into education and arts, though i don’t think that measure went far..)

    • thả diều says:

      So after sampling the yt video and reading a little bit more on how many characters there are in this short piece, i went back and now i get “it” with the minor “issue” i encountered with ACA + Astrusi’s version: it might not have anything to do with them it seems but rather because each singer sings THREE different characters!! no wonder i couldn’t get the flow of where the heck each is going 😀 (thinking each was just her own character..). anyhow, here’s one of the various “duet“, for example, to highlight the music. it’s essentially so much more than just the lament which apparently is what everyone is talking about strangely enough 🙂 (it’s only 5min of the 1hr gorgeous music.)

      • dehggial says:

        !!! the duet especially is fantastic music! I sound off my rocker, but I really like it beyond my expectations 😉 must get into Purcell! Three characters, sounds like a lot of work. I love Baroque sung in English, the pronounciation and the words are so pompous! Yea, I’ve heard the lament before but it didn’t have much effect on me. Clearly it wasn’t the right one. Very interesting hearing two different but strong takes one after the other.

        • thả diều says:

          let me drop 1 last piece, sailor! if you listen, give it a bit of volume 😉 . typically sung by a tenor i think..

          • dehggial says:

            ha, I was just listening to it when I clicked on your reply 😀 I listened to the duet about 5 times, then to the rest! I was just thinking she sounds Italian compared to SG. I think when you sing English music you need to be a bit more restrained so that’s maybe why SG sounded more like it. I remember watching a masterclass with Sarah Connolly and the first thing that came to mind my was “she’s so British!” – appears moreso than Alice Coote. Of course SG isn’t but still closer in spirit than a Southern European. But that’s not to say ACA didn’t do a very good job.

          • thả diều says:

            ha! and i’ve just independently edited my post to scratch out my statement about her text treatment 😀 , but i did make the comment: i quite love her take, but it really sounds like from a 3rd person (separate from body) or talking to someone.. whereas SG’s is almost like a self-reflection.
            (i didn’t resist sending clips :-), but i really thought it’s a nice intro, video helps)

          • dehggial says:

            this is a really interesting example of singers and language, because both of them are intense singers. But I think SG gets very introverted on stage (strangely! she seems like a very outgoing person when she speaks), whereas ACA is all about action and blood and whatnot 😉

          • thả diều says:

            (hence their castings of Cassandra and Dido in the same opera! 🙂 )

          • thả diều says:

            ps- quite amazing music no? well, along with the kitchen, i can also bring E.Haïm+SG’s version on my next visit (once i roll around clapping the magic to get this cd to appear as audio somehow on the laptop)

          • dehggial says:

            sounds like fun! 🙂

  2. stray says:

    This CD has been my commuting sdtk for the last week — finally Nathalie Stutzmann gets a break! — but somehow it gets stuck on Dido’s first aria…probably something to do with my hitting the repeat button.

    • thả diều says:

      there’s also the accidental button ‘repeat 1’ for any track, which i use often on my phone 😉
      — i have been listening to that first aria today! and realized that’s what got me hung up with ACA (yes, all convo will lead back to ACA 😀 ), but i was quite puzzled, she’s been “bugging” me for the last few days as i couldn’t figure out why “something” isn’t sitting right.. and it turns out it’s right at the beginning with this aria and her english phrasing (placements of words within the phrase that’s interfering with the flow/line of thought somehow).. but then if you jump into the piece 1/2 way through, then all is ok. so that first aria is very important indeed for setting the mood of the character!

  3. Pingback: …speaking of Purcell, let’s hear something from Weldon | opera, innit?

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