Author Topic: Dame Janet Baker  (Read 27596 times)

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Offline Maciek

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Dame Janet Baker
« on: April 22, 2007, 01:50:38 PM »
Another call for recommendations. (Last one today, I promise. ;))

Quite an amazing singer, I believe, but I've only heard very little from her. What are your thoughts in general, and specific record recommendations please... ;D

Cheers,
Maciek

Offline Anne

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Re: Dame Janet Baker
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2007, 02:03:38 PM »
I have the DVD of Handel's Julius Caesar with Janet Baker and like it.  The set is traditional if that matters to you.

Offline Novi

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Re: Dame Janet Baker
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2007, 02:23:16 PM »
This one:
Durch alle Töne tönet
Im bunten Erdentraum
Ein leiser Ton gezogen
Für den der heimlich lauschet.

Offline AnthonyAthletic

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Re: Dame Janet Baker
« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2007, 02:30:37 PM »
Definately these, Ok the third one Mahler's Resurrection is worth the price of the cd alone just to hear Baker sing "Urlicht", closely miked for sure but what a brilliant display, amazing vocal and devastating power.

The Berlioz & Purcell speak for themselves, classics.


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Offline knight66

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Re: Dame Janet Baker
« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2007, 02:31:09 PM »
Where to start, probably my favourite singer, she excelled in so many things and rarely strayed into music that was unsuitable. An instance of her self knowledge was that she refused repeated requests by Scottish Opera to sing Carmen. She can be dramatic, tender, spiritual, tragic.

Here is a list of some of her best recordings.....

In Berlioz she was as good as anyone. Her Dido in Troyans was celebrated, but never fully recorded. Here she sings the final section of the opera together with a riveting performance of the early cantata Cleopatra, listen to how she empties her tone out when the moment of death arrives. You also get one of the top Les Nuits d'ete crammed onto the disc.

http://www.cdconnection.com/details/Dame_Janet_Baker__Berlioz:Les_Nuits_DEte/905453



The next one is a conflation of several LPs. Bach and Handel singing of the very best. It is a double album.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bach-Handel-Cantatas-Johann-Sebastian/dp/B00005B5NN/ref=sr_1_27/026-2800580-8030813?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1177283977&sr=1-27


If you can take Elgar's Dream of Gerontius, then her singing of the Angel is the touchstone for all other singers. The conductor is Barbirolli. I know it ought to be available with her recording of The Sea Pictures coupling it, but I can't find that specific issue just now, though I can find the Gerontius on its own.

She also excelled in Mahler. Her partnership with the elderly Barbirolli brought out his Indian Summer and all the recordings he made with her were special. Here two LP issues make one CD. The three main song cycles in magical performances.



In Schubert she was sought for concert engagements all over the world.EMI issued this double disc that includes a double LP from early in her career and a much later recital, it is another must have. She uses an astonishing range of tone colour.
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Schubert-Lieder-Franz/dp/B000002SEJ/ref=sr_1_5/026-2800580-8030813?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1177284501&sr=1-5



I could go on and on, English songs, Mozart, Gluck, Britten.....

Oh, yes, that early Dido and Aneas on Decca is absolutely unforgettable.

Mike
« Last Edit: April 22, 2007, 02:44:29 PM by knight »
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Offline Maciek

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Re: Dame Janet Baker
« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2007, 02:38:52 PM »
Mike, what can I say - your enthusiasm is highly contagious! :D You can definitely communicate it very well - I feel like storming a record storm and cleaning it of all Baker recordings this very instant! ;D Thank you so much for the recommendations!

Maciek

Offline 71 dB

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Re: Dame Janet Baker
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2007, 01:35:02 AM »
If you can take Elgar's Dream of Gerontius, then her singing of the Angel is the touchstone for all other singers. The conductor is Barbirolli. I know it ought to be available with her recording of The Sea Pictures coupling it, but I can't find that specific issue just now, though I can find the Gerontius on its own.

Sea Pictures can be found on this issue with Cello Concerto and Cockaigne Overture



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Offline val

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Re: Dame Janet Baker
« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2007, 03:24:02 AM »
To me, one of the greatest artists of the century.

The unforgettable Dido, in Purcell's Dido & Aeneas, directed by Anthony Lewis.

The Diana in Cavalli's La Calisto, directed by Leppard.

Vittelia in Mozart's La Clemenza di Tito, directed by Collin Davis.

And the Lieder: Schubert, with an unforgettable Suleika, Brahms, (perhaps her best recordings), Mahler and Elgar (with Barbirolli).

And Bach: in spite of Klemperer, heavy and massive, the most sublime Agnus Dei of the Mass in B minor.

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Re: Dame Janet Baker
« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2007, 04:04:19 AM »
http://www.amazon.com/Das-Lied-Erde-Gustav-Mahler/dp/B00006JJ3B

Her Das Lied von der Erde with Kubelik is one of the best there is (perhaps even the)

Offline knight66

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Re: Dame Janet Baker
« Reply #9 on: April 23, 2007, 04:35:49 AM »
Difficult to pick a poor recording of hers. I have all that have so far been mentioned. One I think to avoid would be the Berlioz Childhood of Christ, she was at this point singing sharp and I simply could not endure it...so out it went.

Another fine disc, Mahler Knaben Wunderhorn under Wyn Morris, she has such superb breath control and her voice is at its freshest. Yet another early disc, for Saga this time, is her best recording of Schumman's Frauenliebe und Leben. She makes every emotion believeable and palpable.

She was also a great team player and she makes great effect in many operas and choral works, for instance... Britten's Spring Symphony, (Previn) and in Tippet's Child of our Time. (Colin Davis)

She uses the words so tellingly and colours them so well, you know much of the meaning from her tone.

I was long ago in Chorus when she was singing Jocasta in Oedipus Rex, the BBC recorded it, but it has not surfaced. That was dramatic and hieratic. Also her one aria, Song of the Wood dove from Gurrelieder becomes an overwhelmingly tragic scena.



On that disc is a daringly slow, hypnotic version of the Berlioz conducted by Guilini. It works and she has the astonishing breath control to cope with the tempi and is daring in the way she will pare down her tone to a thread in a live performance. Nevertheless, she would be heard at the back of the hall. I heard her do this magical projection many times.

Finally for now, her recording of the Bach Cantata 170 Vergnugte ruh is astonishing in its tenderness and she unfurls the enormously long melodies as though she was inventing them, a memorable performace.

Mike



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Offline Maciek

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Re: Dame Janet Baker
« Reply #10 on: April 23, 2007, 04:53:29 AM »
Mike, stop!!! You're making me SOOOOOO greedy!!! ;D >:D

Hector

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Re: Dame Janet Baker
« Reply #11 on: April 23, 2007, 05:17:16 AM »
Don't forget the Kempe public performance of Das Lied von der Erde.

An improvement on her commercial recording with Haitink.

However, you have to put up with a poor tenor but does anyone, seriously, buy a recording of this work for the tenor role?

SimonGodders

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Re: Dame Janet Baker
« Reply #12 on: April 23, 2007, 12:54:14 PM »
I have the famous Sea Pictures on the Elgar/Du Pre CD and adore it. Have you any opinions on this set? Does it contain key recordings/suggestions thus far or rarities?:


SimonGodders

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Re: Dame Janet Baker
« Reply #13 on: April 23, 2007, 01:03:57 PM »

Offline knight66

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Re: Dame Janet Baker
« Reply #14 on: April 23, 2007, 10:27:55 PM »
Simon,

I do have that set and it does have quite a bit on it that is not available elsewhere. Baker was an exclusive EMI artist for some years. They fell out over the company refusing to lend her to DGG to enable her and Fischer Dieskau to record the complete Schubert solo songs between them. Seemingly she got quite bitter about it. Gundula Janowitz recorded the female songs instead, but I don't think they have never been issued as an integrated set as had been envisaged.

She took the opportunity to alter her contract at renewal and she started to record for Phillips, also continuing with EMI. This box contains a series of excellent recital discs and on the lists you can see what she recorded. A lot is not available via EMI. Some is from her early Decca days before she went to EMI. Seemingly Decca and EMI did do a deal to enable the La Calisto to be issued as by then she did belong to EMI.

The final disc of mainly 20th cent French music is a very successful disc. There are also nuggets burried there such as Beethoven's Ah perfido.

More from Cosi Fan Tutti would have been welcome. Colin Davis recording was the first complete version and while the women sound terrific, the male singers are a bit of a trial.

The set is well worth getting.

Mike
« Last Edit: April 23, 2007, 10:30:38 PM by knight »
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SimonGodders

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Re: Dame Janet Baker
« Reply #15 on: April 24, 2007, 02:15:46 AM »
Mike,

Many thanks for your most erudite reply! It's probably a bit of a 'no-brainer' as they say, as Amazon UK currently have it for just under £12 for the five discs. So I shall go forth and purchase...

Cheers,
Simon

Offline knight66

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Re: Dame Janet Baker
« Reply #16 on: April 24, 2007, 02:24:48 AM »
Simon, A good bargain indeed, do let us know what you think of the discs.

Cheers,

Mike
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Offline Susan de Visne

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Re: Dame Janet Baker
« Reply #17 on: April 24, 2007, 07:13:52 AM »
I enjoy Janet Baker's recordings, but the only time I saw her live (a recital of English songs) I was very disappointed. She seemd to have an air of sturdy common sense that somehow missed the poetry, though there was nothing wrong with her actual singing.

Offline knight66

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Re: Dame Janet Baker
« Reply #18 on: April 24, 2007, 08:24:41 AM »
Well, it is good to read the other side of it, for sure some do not like her. I saw her in recital a number of times, she seemed to fit unobtrusively into the stage and I thought she communicated very strongly. But diferent strokes for different folks. ZB has not been by, but I know she feels Baker lays on the tone painting over what ought to be the basic voice. I don't agree, but it is a point of view. She is not universally admired.

Mike
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Re: Dame Janet Baker
« Reply #19 on: April 24, 2007, 08:57:22 AM »
Although Tony recommended Purcell's Dido, there are better recordings. My understanding and once I bought it, appreciation, of the recording is that the aria is the absolutely wondrous part, with the rest of it much less convincing, particularly the music. It is often cheap, though, so why not get it? Although in saying that there are better CD's to experience her voice, isn't there?