Author Topic: Dame Janet Baker  (Read 29077 times)

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Sean

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Re: Dame Janet Baker
« Reply #40 on: May 08, 2007, 08:22:09 AM »
Knight, sure, her BWV 159 & 170 recording is entirely in a class of its own, as is the Four Serious songs and Lucretia: but there is a self-consciousness and uncertainty throughout, no? You obviously know her work well though.

Offline knight66

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Re: Dame Janet Baker
« Reply #41 on: May 08, 2007, 08:31:23 AM »
Some people do find her self conscious and this falls into the same category of argument that Schwartzkopf was arch or too knowing. An opinion and I just happen not to share it. However I am at a loss to discern in what way she evinces uncertainty. She was very willing to take risks in live concerts, but that was a springboard from where she was always very well prepared. So I don't understand where there would be grounds for what you suggest.

Mike
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Sean

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Re: Dame Janet Baker
« Reply #42 on: May 08, 2007, 08:43:58 AM »
knight

Quote
Some people do find her self conscious and this falls into the same category of argument that Schwartzkopf was arch or too knowing.

I like that. Isn't music complex?!

Quote
An opinion and I just happen not to share it. However I am at a loss to discern in what way she evinces uncertainty. She was very willing to take risks in live concerts, but that was a springboard from where she was always very well prepared. So I don't understand where there would be grounds for what you suggest.

Okay, I'm just a bit prejudiced perhaps towards people with the dispositions of her social background... I think there's much to be said for blending in while also being yourself, and Baker didn't always achieve that...

Offline knight66

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Re: Dame Janet Baker
« Reply #43 on: May 08, 2007, 08:51:40 AM »
Well, you have got me interested, in what way did she behave un-naturally? She retained her Lancashire accent. She was not part of the gliterati, rather serious minded in some ways, however she did evince a good sense of humour. So what examples are you thinking about?

Mike
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Sean

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Re: Dame Janet Baker
« Reply #44 on: May 08, 2007, 09:04:39 AM »
Well perhaps I wish I were more an expert in this area but her delivery always sounds on shakey ground, not in terms of technique but as though she was intelligent enough to sense that her training and opportunities were her first reference point, and the previleged English social context in which she sang and promoted her was, basically, an absolute pack of lies.

Offline knight66

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Re: Dame Janet Baker
« Reply #45 on: May 08, 2007, 09:07:34 AM »
I don't even begin to 'get' this or grasp how you discern it; but never mind....you are keeping my posting count up.

Mike
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Sean

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Re: Dame Janet Baker
« Reply #46 on: May 08, 2007, 09:09:34 AM »
No prob, I'm a bit inebriated myself actually. Will try again tomorrow...How about some Margaret Price for some welcome fresh air?

Offline knight66

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Re: Dame Janet Baker
« Reply #47 on: May 08, 2007, 09:15:35 AM »
No prob, I'm a bit inebriated myself actually. Will try again tomorrow...How about some Margaret Price for some welcome fresh air?

Well, now we have the explanation, it was either that or your inner genius shining through.

Why not start a Margaret Price thread tomorrow!!

Mike
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I wasted time: and time wasted me.

Online Tsaraslondon

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Re: Dame Janet Baker
« Reply #48 on: May 08, 2007, 02:19:53 PM »
Knight, sure, her BWV 159 & 170 recording is entirely in a class of its own, as is the Four Serious songs and Lucretia: but there is a self-consciousness and uncertainty throughout, no? You obviously know her work well though.

I am at a loss to understand what you mean by her uncertainty. I heard Dame Janet live on many occasions, and on none of them was there any cause for concern, her grasp of the music being absolutely complete. I only once heard her when she was not in her best voice, and even then, there was no doubt about the intent of her singing and, although her voice wasn't responding as well as she wanted it to, she still took risks. As Mike says, she retired at the top of her game. We never had to witness a sad decline in her powers, as we do with many other singers.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Offline jochanaan

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Re: Dame Janet Baker
« Reply #49 on: May 08, 2007, 03:29:22 PM »
Sean, what you seem to see as "uncertainty," I see as probing deeply into the music, the lyrics and their underlying psychology.  No singer penetrated a song's musico-dramatic soul more.
Imagination + discipline = creativity

Sean

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Re: Dame Janet Baker
« Reply #50 on: May 08, 2007, 11:39:47 PM »
Okay Tsaraslondon & Jochanaan, she's a fine artistic to be sure, with great attention to every detail: the key though, needless to say, is to keep the studiousness at the service of the music's intuitive flow, which she often does.

Online Tsaraslondon

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Re: Dame Janet Baker
« Reply #51 on: August 25, 2009, 01:00:38 AM »
I have just finished listening to Baker's recording of Mahler orchestral songs (Kindertotenlieder, Ruckert Lieder and Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen) with Barbirolli, and am now of the firm belief that this is the very greatest of all Baker's recital records, maybe even the greatest of all orchestral lieder recitals. Tomorrow, admittedly, conviction may be a little shakey, but for now, shattered by the emotional intensity of the singing, belief seems unswerving.

I have had this disc in my collection for over 20 years now, and have listened to it many times, but, for some reason, hadn't taken it off the shelves for a while. I was prompted to do so after listening to Karajan's recording of Mahler's 6th, for which the couplings are Christa Ludwig's recordings of Kindertotenlieder and the Ruckert Lieder. Now Ludwig has her rich and beautiful voice, is by no means a placid interpreter, and sings with rare dignity and poise, but somewhere in my mind's ear, I could hear a greater dramatic truth, a more personal way with the songs, and so Baker came down off the shelves. From the very first note of Nun will die Sonn' so hell aufgehn, there is an intensity of utterance missing from Ludwig's more generalised approach. Not everything goes Baker's way, admittedly. I prefer Karajan's more propulsive tempo for In diesem Wetter, in diesem Braus, and Ferrier and Walter are more sheerly dramatic in Um Mitternacht, but in Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen, Baker and Barbirolli are unrivalled, her singing here so tender so self communing. I once heard Baker sing the Ruckert Lieder at a concert at the RFH, and then, as now, she had me in tears, so moving is her response to the poetry. She had this remarkable gift of being able to sing the quietest of pianissimi, that somehow seemed to reach the furthest recesses of a large hall.

The Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen too are classics. One thinks of the lovely, smiling tone she uses for Ging heut morgen ubers Feld and the intense pain of the repeated cries of oh Weh in Ich hab' ein gluhend Messer. So, yes, without doubt a great recording, It certainly deserves to be included in EMI's Great Recordings of the Century series, and I urge all lovers of Mahler and/or Baker to acquire it.

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

Offline knight66

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Re: Dame Janet Baker
« Reply #52 on: July 31, 2011, 12:43:21 PM »
I have just found this on Youtube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m7uAxFcmexU&playnext=1&list=PL612D40A0A3B9D432

Baker as Cassandra in Trojans in English. What sweep she achieves and boy does she dig into those words.

In this month's Gramophone there is a big article on the Abbey Rd studios. Amongst the many people who they quote; Baker explains that her favourite recording made there was the Wagner Wesendonk Lieder. Despite being outside of her normal repertoire she felt the sessions achieved something special.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6exIFuxbv-s

Mike

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Online Tsaraslondon

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Re: Dame Janet Baker
« Reply #53 on: August 01, 2011, 02:25:18 AM »
I have just found this on Youtube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m7uAxFcmexU&playnext=1&list=PL612D40A0A3B9D432

Baker as Cassandra in Trojans in English. What sweep she achieves and boy does she dig into those words.

In this month's Gramophone there is a big article on the Abbey Rd studios. Amongst the many people who they quote; Baker explains that her favourite recording made there was the Wagner Wesendonk Lieder. Despite being outside of her normal repertoire she felt the sessions achieved something special.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6exIFuxbv-s

Mike

The Wagner I have known many years ago. I would agree with her that the sessions did achieve something special, but then so many of her recordings do.

The Cassandra is a revelation - and I think, despite it being in English, the fullest realisation of this scene I have heard.

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

Offline zamyrabyrd

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Re: Dame Janet Baker
« Reply #54 on: August 01, 2011, 09:35:54 AM »
Strophic music is notoriously difficult to register differences between stanzas as the music doesn't always reflect or even follow the words. I find Régine Crespin more convincing in Villanelle than many singers because I believe she is feeling the words and not just marking time from one stanza to the other:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kOoDzJPrNPg&feature=related

In this recording of Villanelle with Janet Baker I don't find a lot of nuances and word coloring. That is what I was getting at in my other post. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-bu2OeHYkY&feature=related

But as our learned friend, knight66, already has remarked, people do hear differently...

ZB

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Re: Dame Janet Baker
« Reply #55 on: August 01, 2011, 12:18:51 PM »
I always thought Villanelle, the least successful of the songs in all Dame Janet's versions of Les Nuits d'Ete, and here it is taken at a much faster tempo than on any of her other recordings. In this song, she doesn't altogether avoid the trap of sounding a little arch.

The Crespin version you detail is not available in the UK, so the only one I have for comparison is the commercial recording with Ansermet. This version of the cycle has been widely praised over the years, and is still commonly held to be the best version available. However I don't find it so. I don't find that much sense of Crespin feeling the words, as you put it, in the version with Ansermet, and in much of the rest of the cycle I find her laboured and earth bound, particularly in Le Spectre De La Rose, which is heavily sung with no sense of mounting rapture whatsoever.

But as you say, we all hear differently...

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

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Dame Janet Baker
« Reply #56 on: August 14, 2011, 08:29:52 AM »
I’ve been enjoying Dawn Upshaw’s recording of Fauré’s Chanson d’Eve and I want to explore what other singers have made of this music – which I like a lot. What  do you think of Janet Baker’s Hyperion CD?

Other suggestions for this cycle gratefully appreciated!
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Online Tsaraslondon

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Re: Dame Janet Baker
« Reply #57 on: October 08, 2011, 01:07:38 PM »
Dame Janet has been awarded Gramophone's Lifetime Achievement award.

Here is the link to a short article about her by pianist Graham Johnson http://www.gramophone.co.uk/awards/2011/lifetime-achievement

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

Offline Daverz

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Re: Dame Janet Baker
« Reply #58 on: October 08, 2011, 02:24:02 PM »
[Damon Runyon voice]
What a dame!
[/Damon Runyon voice]


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?

There is one recording that I would recommend for the tenor alone (and the conductor), the Sanderling recording with Peter Schreier and a completely forgettable alto.

Offline knight66

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Re: Dame Janet Baker
« Reply #59 on: October 08, 2011, 10:18:14 PM »
Good to see Janet Baker being given the award; mind you, it would have been more timely over 10 years ago as now as for many years she has confined herself to teaching and sitting in juries in competitions.

Mike
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I wasted time: and time wasted me.