Author Topic: Gundula Janowitz  (Read 11241 times)

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Offline zamyrabyrd

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Re: Gundula Janowitz
« Reply #20 on: June 20, 2010, 09:47:21 AM »
I don't see how intelligence has anything to do with singing.

Thanks loads.

ZB
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Offline cosmicj

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Re: Gundula Janowitz
« Reply #21 on: June 21, 2010, 09:01:39 AM »
No matter how many versions I hear, her recording of the four last songs is still my favourite. Ok its not as intelligently sung as Schwarzkopf but that sound!!

Which Schwarzkopf recording are you referring to? 

I actually don't understand the use of the term "intelligent" in terms of singing, as well.  Can you provide some synonyms in this context?

Offline Guido

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Re: Gundula Janowitz
« Reply #22 on: June 21, 2010, 06:15:25 PM »
Perhaps it was a poor choice of words - by intelligence I meant sensitivity to the text and conveying the meaning of the poetry accurately. Intelligence clearly has a lot to do with singing - I won't name names but there are some singers that have very little idea about what they are singing or how to express things but nevertheless have a beautiful voice, and then there's also those who are the opposite - ideally one wants both of course! Janowitz and Schwarzkopf do have both of course but it is a continuum.

I'm not saying that Gundula Janowitz is not an intelligent singer by any means, but occasionally she sacrifices the clarity of the words for a more ravishing sound which is an artistic choice of course - Schwarzkopf on the other hand would never ever do this.
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Offline cosmicj

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Re: Gundula Janowitz
« Reply #23 on: June 22, 2010, 04:18:39 AM »
Guido - Thanks for the explanation. 

Scarpia

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Re: Gundula Janowitz
« Reply #24 on: June 22, 2010, 07:48:06 AM »
Perhaps it was a poor choice of words - by intelligence I meant sensitivity to the text and conveying the meaning of the poetry accurately. Intelligence clearly has a lot to do with singing - I won't name names but there are some singers that have very little idea about what they are singing or how to express things but nevertheless have a beautiful voice, and then there's also those who are the opposite - ideally one wants both of course! Janowitz and Schwarzkopf do have both of course but it is a continuum.

I'm not saying that Gundula Janowitz is not an intelligent singer by any means, but occasionally she sacrifices the clarity of the words for a more ravishing sound which is an artistic choice of course - Schwarzkopf on the other hand would never ever do this.

I don't see that "selling a song" has much to do with intelligence.  Elvis did it, Frank Sinatra did it, Judy Garland did it, when Fischer-Dieskau, for instance, does his usual ham-job on some bit of Schubert lieder, I don't see it as a manifestation of intelligence, just a clumsy lack of sophistication.   And what passes for acting in opera is on the level of a Charlie Chaplin film short, from a point of view of sophistication and "intelligence."  There is a brief interview of Fisher-Dieskau on the video documentary about Solti's ring, and to me he comes off as a simpleton.

A pianist needs to be intelligent.  He or she is the "conductor" or his or her own "orchestra."  A singer presents a single melodic line.  An "intelligent" singer will study carefully what the conductor tells him or her to do.   8)
« Last Edit: June 22, 2010, 07:53:26 AM by Scarpia »

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: Gundula Janowitz
« Reply #25 on: June 22, 2010, 11:30:10 PM »
I don't see that "selling a song" has much to do with intelligence.  Elvis did it, Frank Sinatra did it, Judy Garland did it, when Fischer-Dieskau, for instance, does his usual ham-job on some bit of Schubert lieder, I don't see it as a manifestation of intelligence, just a clumsy lack of sophistication.   And what passes for acting in opera is on the level of a Charlie Chaplin film short, from a point of view of sophistication and "intelligence."  There is a brief interview of Fisher-Dieskau on the video documentary about Solti's ring, and to me he comes off as a simpleton.

A pianist needs to be intelligent.  He or she is the "conductor" or his or her own "orchestra."  A singer presents a single melodic line.  An "intelligent" singer will study carefully what the conductor tells him or her to do.   8)

I've never heard such a load of rubbish in my life. Presumably then, you think that in the performance of a concerto, the soloist, whether it be pianist or any other instrument just studies carefully "what the conductor tells him to do". Strange then, that two performances of the same concerto with the same conductor can vary so dramatically. Ditto performance of operas by the same conductor with different singers.

I'm with Guido. I've heard plenty of singers who glide through a piece of music without the least appreciation of what it's about. Their performances may be pretty, but they are usually dull. Give me an  "intelligent" singer any day, one who colours his or her voice according to the text and the orchestration, and adapts their style to the composer at hand.

Incidentally, are you also suggesting that the likes of Garland, Sinatra and Elvis weren't intelligent because they sang popular music, or are you just insulting all singers in general?

\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Scarpia

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Re: Gundula Janowitz
« Reply #26 on: June 22, 2010, 11:43:55 PM »
I've never heard such a load of rubbish in my life. Presumably then, you think that in the performance of a concerto, the soloist, whether it be pianist or any other instrument just studies carefully "what the conductor tells him to do".

Of course not.  An pianist is a highly skilled performer, and the art of performing on that instrument comes mainly from the brain.  A singer is an instrument of sorts, mostly it is the lungs and larynx that determine an operatic singer.  Mostly they impress me as pea-brains (Pavarotti comes to mind).

Quote
Incidentally, are you also suggesting that the likes of Garland, Sinatra and Elvis weren't intelligent because they sang popular music, or are you just insulting all singers in general?

Mostly just insulting singers in general.   Your avatar is a prime example, cited as an "artist", although she destroyed her own career through mental instability.   8)

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: Gundula Janowitz
« Reply #27 on: June 23, 2010, 12:31:00 AM »

Mostly just insulting singers in general.   Your avatar is a prime example, cited as an "artist", although she destroyed her own career through mental instability.   8)

Though she was also an accomplished pianist, read music fluently, and, on one occasion, sight sang the whole of the role of Isolde for Serafin, having told him she already knew it. She may have been "mentally unstable", as you put it, but this is a term that could be used to describe many great artists, conductors included! And actually, now that I think of it, high intelligence and mental instability often go hand in hand.




\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline zamyrabyrd

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Re: Gundula Janowitz
« Reply #28 on: June 23, 2010, 01:32:28 AM »
Mostly just insulting singers in general.   Your avatar is a prime example, cited as an "artist", although she destroyed her own career through mental instability.   8)

This is the first time I heard of Callas as not only 'mentally unstable' but this given as the reason her career was shortened.  What do you mean by that, not being able to function in society, not to sustain long hours of work and study, having psychotic episodes, WHAT?

I recently finished reading her biography by Michael Scott and was planning to write my impressions of it on the Callas thread once the end of term activities were over, but this remark catapulted me out of seclusion. I really think you have a colossal nerve saying that.

Everyone has limits to how much stress one can bear until the seams show, the structure wobbles and maybe even falls apart.  To have achieved what she did in her career, she could not but have had immense mental fortitude.

The stresses of performing with such hostility always near at hand from the Italian public who thought her an interloper, to those musicians who couldn't comprehend what she was doing at first and the monstrous anxiety of not being able to sustain what is needed to stay at the top, that is to be consistently fantastic.

The stresses of the latter were due to the instability of her voice, a hostage to the physical frame in which it was embedded. I now tend to think that she wasn't really healthy even while stout, seemed like she had kidney problems (swollen legs and ankles). After slimming down she simply didn't have the stamina to sustain the lung support that must have been somewhat easier while she had a few more pounds.

Early on she found a refuge from her family problems in music, not the first time anyone ever did that. She may have been socially inept because of shyness about her height and size from the age of 13, being sequestered in a music conservatory, that is, not in the rough and tumble of learning about human relationships from peers and her somewhat daughter-daddy relationship she had with Meneghini.

Oh and incidentally, string and wind players play only one note at a time, so they are stupid too according to your definition. Singers though have that added problem of text which requires comprehension, diction and constant study as how best to project it through the music.

That "Stars are Born" and not made with immense effort is a romantic fallacy as much as composers like Beethoven just writing dictations from the Muse. I thought that people understood that much, at least on this forum.

ZB
"I write to discover what I know."
 ― Flannery O'Connor

Scarpia

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Re: Gundula Janowitz
« Reply #29 on: June 23, 2010, 05:56:18 AM »
This is the first time I heard of Callas as not only 'mentally unstable' but this given as the reason her career was shortened.  What do you mean by that, not being able to function in society, not to sustain long hours of work and study, having psychotic episodes, WHAT?

Really I should not be holding forth on the topic, since all I really know of Callas is that I should avoid any recording in which she has taken part, and a few odd things I've read in CD booklets and Wikipedia pages. 

Franco

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Re: Gundula Janowitz
« Reply #30 on: June 23, 2010, 06:04:50 AM »
Of course not.  An pianist is a highly skilled performer, and the art of performing on that instrument comes mainly from the brain.  A singer is an instrument of sorts, mostly it is the lungs and larynx that determine an operatic singer.  Mostly they impress me as pea-brains (Pavarotti comes to mind).

Mostly just insulting singers in general.   Your avatar is a prime example, cited as an "artist", although she destroyed her own career through mental instability.   8)

Looks like you're trying to compete with Teresa in the free-style trolling competition.  But, I think her lead is too large and at this point she is not to be denied the title of Greatest Troll.  I mean objectively Great, not just in my own personal preference.

 ;)

Scarpia

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Re: Gundula Janowitz
« Reply #31 on: June 23, 2010, 06:29:48 AM »
Looks like you're trying to compete with Teresa in the free-style trolling competition.  But, I think her lead is too large and at this point she is not to be denied the title of Greatest Troll.  I mean objectively Great, not just in my own personal preference

Just my opinion.  I won't disturb the sanctity of the Callas thread, assuming there is one. 

Offline (poco) Sforzando

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Re: Gundula Janowitz
« Reply #32 on: June 23, 2010, 06:38:34 AM »
Just my opinion.  I won't disturb the sanctity of the Callas thread, assuming there is one.

Il barone Scarpia of all people should know that Callas was one of the greatest of Toscas.
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Scarpia

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Re: Gundula Janowitz
« Reply #33 on: June 23, 2010, 06:49:23 AM »
Il barone Scarpia of all people should know that Callas was one of the greatest of Toscas.

Maybe that's why I find Callas irritating.   ::)

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: Gundula Janowitz
« Reply #34 on: June 23, 2010, 09:18:18 AM »
Maybe that's why I find Callas irritating.   ::)

Yes, being the "intelligent" artist that she was, she'd have no doubt shot down your arguments in flames!

Oh, and by the way, there is indeed a Callas thread. If you should seek enlightenment, you can find it here http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,788.0.html


« Last Edit: June 23, 2010, 09:24:40 AM by Tsaraslondon »
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: Gundula Janowitz
« Reply #35 on: June 23, 2010, 09:18:57 AM »
Looks like you're trying to compete with Teresa in the free-style trolling competition.  But, I think her lead is too large and at this point she is not to be denied the title of Greatest Troll.  I mean objectively Great, not just in my own personal preference.

 ;)

No - your opinion, so still subjective!
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: Gundula Janowitz
« Reply #36 on: June 23, 2010, 09:22:12 AM »
And ZB, thank you for bringing some sanity back to the discussion. As for Scarpia and Franco, if they have such antipathy for singers, why are they bothering to even read the Opera and Vocal board?
« Last Edit: June 23, 2010, 09:25:11 AM by Tsaraslondon »
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Franco

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Re: Gundula Janowitz
« Reply #37 on: June 23, 2010, 09:27:14 AM »
And ZB, thank you for bringing some sanity back to the discussion. As for Scarpia and Franco, if they have such antipathy for have such antipathy for singers, why are they bothering to even read the Opera and Vocal board?

I don't have any antipathy for singers, I was making a joke about Scarpia's criticism of Maria Callas being so far over the top as to consitute "trolling behavior" and referred to another poster on another thread who has repeatedly trolled concerning Mozart in an egregious manner.

But, my post was made in jest, as I tried to indicate by the smiley-wink.

For the record, I love opera, singers in general, and Maria Callas in particular.

Scarpia

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Re: Gundula Janowitz
« Reply #38 on: June 23, 2010, 09:43:51 AM »
And ZB, thank you for bringing some sanity back to the discussion. As for Scarpia and Franco, if they have such antipathy for singers, why are they bothering to even read the Opera and Vocal board?

Because I like the music and not the narcissistic peacocks strutting around the stage, per se?

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: Gundula Janowitz
« Reply #39 on: June 23, 2010, 09:49:58 AM »
Because I like the music and not the narcissistic peacocks strutting around the stage, per se?

Well, narcissistic or not (and nothing will ever convince me that you are right, or, in fact that there is no such thing as a narcissistic pianist), opera wouldn't exist without them!
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

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