Author Topic: Marni Nixon - an exemplary exponent and interpreter of Webern?  (Read 955 times)

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Offline cassandra

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I hope I am not in danger of starting another thread which is elsewhere. I do try to use the search facility on this site, honest.

I obtained the old Robert Craft Columbia Webern from the HighPonyTail website (some other amazing stuff there too - Soderstrom singing Dallapiccola - heavens, what a find!). I borrowed it from my local library many moons ago and the discs were pretty scratchy and I made copies onto cassette, which I rashly destroyed after I got the 1st Boulez box set. Shockingly I didn't realise the calibre of some of the performers Craft had assembled.

Marni Nixon, dare I suggest it, sounds very much in sympathy with the Webern vocal line and brings a sense of understanding that I find missing in other recodings. If only she and Barry McDaniel (and he has done some sterling service for 20th century repertoire) had recorded Webern's 2nd Cantata together, for me that would have been something very special.

Marni has been part of some of my favourite (recorded) things, especially the King and I, West Side Story and the Craft 1950s Webern.

Offline david johnson

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Re: Marni Nixon - an exemplary exponent and interpreter of Webern?
« Reply #1 on: July 31, 2011, 09:57:29 AM »
I've only heard her in the musicals.  I must check this out.  Thanx.

Offline mjwal

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Re: Marni Nixon - an exemplary exponent and interpreter of Webern?
« Reply #2 on: July 31, 2011, 10:00:38 AM »
There was a nice LP with Ives songs on one side. She not only did the quieter songs very well, she gave a tremendous rendering of "Charlie Rutledge" (sp?). The other side was some English composer's Chinese poem settings, as I remember, nice but not the cat's whiskers, and the pianist was John McCabe, very good. I still have that LP I think (can't check now, not here). I did a double take as an young man when I  realised that it was My Fair Lady singing after a couple of hearings! I haven't heard the Craft Webern with her.
The Violin's Obstinacy

It needs to return to this one note,
not a tune and not a key
but the sound of self it must depart from,
a journey lengthily to go
in a vein it knows will cripple it.
Peter Porter

Offline zamyrabyrd

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Re: Marni Nixon - an exemplary exponent and interpreter of Webern?
« Reply #3 on: August 02, 2011, 05:17:41 AM »
Dubbing the voice of a character through another actress is interpretation on two levels. The ghost voice is being channeled and changed through someone else's personality. This is remarkable when the roles and artists were so different like Audrey Hepburn, Deborah Kerr, Natalie Wood, Margaret O'Brien, to name a few.
The singing is excellent and can stand up by itself. I submit this is high art to do it through another person.

The fact she hovered in the wings and did not receive film credit is due to the contracts she signed with the imposition of her silence as a condition (some implied threats as well). Many feel she should finally receive recognition from Hollywood, now that dubbing is not considered servile anymore and is done by the biggies.

She also appeared with Leonard Bernstein in the Songs of the Auvergne in 1960 with some commentary by her.


“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, one by one.”

― Charles MacKay, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds