Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD

Started by bhodges, April 24, 2007, 11:04:11 AM

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Florestan

A great singer but a not so great human being.  :D
Music should humbly seek to please; within these limits great beauty may perhaps be found. Extreme complication is contrary to art. Beauty must appeal to the senses, must provide us with immediate enjoyment, must impress us or insinuate itself into us without any effort on our part.- Debussy

Tsaraslondon

Quote from: Florestan on May 06, 2023, 03:55:53 AMA great singer but a not so great human being.  :D

So it would seem. And much greater before she started to believe her own publicity.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Florestan

Quote from: Tsaraslondon on May 06, 2023, 05:59:27 AMSo it would seem.

At least with respect to Romanian music and culture, she has made controversial (to say the least) comments on both Enescu and Celibidache which have triggered waves of indignation (not from me, though, she has the right to her own opinions --- but it's the way she expresses them which is offensive). And her hyper-inflated ego is equalled only by that of her former husband.  ;D

To paraphrase Mahler: Madam, divas have an well-established reputation of egotism and self-puffery, but you abuse this right;D

QuoteAnd much greater before she started to believe her own publicity.

Yep.
Music should humbly seek to please; within these limits great beauty may perhaps be found. Extreme complication is contrary to art. Beauty must appeal to the senses, must provide us with immediate enjoyment, must impress us or insinuate itself into us without any effort on our part.- Debussy

Pohjolas Daughter

Quote from: Tsaraslondon on May 06, 2023, 12:49:08 AM

Whatever one thinks of Angela Gheorghiu, and whatever she did before or after this recital, this is a fabulous disc. It was recorded over two sessions in 1998 and 1999, four years after her triumph as Violetta at Covent Garden in 1994. Here she gives us arias from I Vespri Siciliani, Don Carlo, Rigoletto, Aida, Il Trovatore, Un Ballo in Maschera, Simon Boccanegra, La Forza del Destino and Otello and only Gilda's Caro nome would seem less than a perfect fit.

On this showing, you would imagine that she would go on to become one of the great Verdi sopranos of her generation, but, as far as I can tell, she sang very few of these roles on stage. There are times I can hear that she has absorbed the lessons of Callas, though the voice itself is very different. Just occasionally it feels as if she is ghosting the phrasing of her predecessor, and it is well known that she is a great admirer of La Divina. Whether this is true or not, she is fully able to enter the sound world of each 'heroine' and her voice is in prime condition, rich and darkly plangent throughout its range.

She has the inestimable suppory of the Orchestra Sinfonica di Milano Giuseppe Verdi under Riccardo Challiy, reminding me that the best operatic recitals usually have a strong hand at the helm. A great disc.
 
I love that recital and used to play it all the time (haven't listened to many recitals lately.  I know, I know, I need to rectify that!  ;D ).  I particularly remembered being bowled away by the recording of "Tu che le vanità".  :)

PD

Tsaraslondon



What a treasure trove this is, taking in early 78s from as early as 1942 through to 1964, when Gobbi would have been 51. No doubt there were singers of his generation with more lustrous intstruments, but I can think of none, save perhaps Giuseppe Taddei, who could so easily bring a character to life in sound alone. Walter Legge dubbed him 'the acting voice' and so it proves here, both in earlier recordings of individual arias and in excerpts from his many complete recordings, the vast majority of which I already own. I had also heard some of the 78s and early operatic recital before, but the items that were completely new to me were the songs, some with orchestra and a selection with Gerald Moore at the piano, taken from a 1964 set, called The Art of Tito Gobbi, which also included a selection of opera arias. It is an unusual collection of ancient and modern airs and Gobbi sings them with a Lieder singer's attention to detail and a wonderful range of tone colour.

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

Tsaraslondon

#765


This was a favourite disc of mine in my youth. I'd seen Jill Gomez a few times on stage, as the Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro, the Governess in The Turn of the Screw and Ilia in Idomeneo and had fallen in love with her voice and personality. Her career was mostly centred in the UK and Europe so she is possibly less well known to US members. You can find out more about her here and my review of this excellent recital here.

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

Pohjolas Daughter

Quote from: Tsaraslondon on May 15, 2023, 01:08:54 AM

This was a favourite disc of mine in my youth. I'd seen Jill Gomez a few times on stage, as the Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro, the Governess in The Turn of the Screw and Ilia in Idomeneo and had fallen in love with her voice and personality. Her career was mostly centred in the UK and Europe so she is possibly less well known to US members. You can find out more about her here and my review of this excellent recital here.


No, I hadn't heard of her before now.  When is the album from?  I do recall though learning that Saga was known for noisy pressings...after purchasing a copy of VW's "Songs of Travel" with John Shirley-Quirk.  :(

PD

ritter

Quote from: Tsaraslondon on May 15, 2023, 01:08:54 AM

This was a favourite disc of mine in my youth. I'd seen Jill Gomez a few times on stage, as the Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro, the Governess in The Turn of the Screw and Ilia in Idomeneo and had fallen in love with her voice and personality. Her career was mostly centred in the UK and Europe so she is possibly less well known to US members. You can find out more about her here and my review of this excellent recital here.


That looks very interesting. Jill Gomez's recording of Ravel's Mallarmé songs with Boulez is superb...
ritter
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"All culture corrupts, old boy, but French culture corrupts absolutely".

Tsaraslondon

Quote from: Pohjolas Daughter on May 15, 2023, 10:36:01 AMNo, I hadn't heard of her before now.  When is the album from?  I do recall though learning that Saga was known for noisy pressings...after purchasing a copy of VW's "Songs of Travel" with John Shirley-Quirk.  :(

PD

I can't recall the sound of the LP, but I have it on CD now. It's from 1974. You might be able to find a copy on Discogs or Amazon.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Tsaraslondon

Quote from: ritter on May 15, 2023, 10:45:15 AMThat looks very interesting. Jill Gomez's recording of Ravel's Mallarmé songs with Boulez is superb...

I have that as well. She actually made qute a few recordings, including an excellent Chants d'auvergne with Vernon Handley. There are some really interesting later recitals, which I plan to listen to over the next few days.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Tsaraslondon



In the late 1980s and early 1990s the soprano, Jill Gomez made a series of enterprising recitals, of which this would have been the first, recorded in 1987 in St James's Church, Clerkenwell, very close to where I live.

This one is a collection of cabaret songs by Kurt Weil, Zemlinsky, Schoenberg and Satie and what an entertaining programme it is. We start with songs Weill wrote for a play by Jacques Déval, Marie Galante, move on to three songs by Zemlinsky, four of Schoenberg's Brettl-Lieder, three of Satie's Café-Concert songs and finish off with three songs from three Weill Broadway shows. I doubt anyone hearing the Schoenberg songs blind would guess their composer; these are tuneful, perfectly crafted songs, which wouldn't be out of place in any cabaret. Nor, of course would the songs of Satie and Weill, though the Zemlinsky are more properly art songs on cabarettish themes. Nevertheless they fit in well with the rest of the programme.

Jill Gomez has the full measure of all this material, including Weill's Broadway songs, giving one of the best performances I've heard of his nocurnal, haunting balad, Lonely House from Street Scene and a gorgeous rendering of It never was you from Knickerbocker Glory. How nice it is to travel a little off the beaten path with these artists.
 
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Tsaraslondon



Oh what joy! This is one of those rare things, a crossover album that actually works. Opera singers singing more popular fare rarely work, but these songs were composed in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s, when popular singers sang in a more recognisably classical style, and Jill Gomez, who is half Spanish and was born in what was then British Guiana, immerses herself completely into their style.

There are one or two purely instrumental items dotted around the programme, usually to indicate a change of mood and all the arrangements, most of them by Christopher Parker, but some also by Jeff Atmaijan and Geoffrey Alexander, are superb. At no point do you feel that the pudding has been overegged and they continually evoke the spirit of the movies of that period.

Only in The Peanut Vendor song (one I could in any case have easily done without) did I feel Gomez's style a mite too sophisticated. Everyhwere else she is the perfect vocalist, but she is paricularly adept at pointing the lyrics in Noel Coward's wonderfully witty Nina from Argentina and her diction throughout is superb. Her performance of Yradier's La Paloma is easily as delectable as that of Victoria De Los Angeles, which, for me, can be no higher praise.

Only the most curmudgeonly could fail to be captivated by such wonderfully joyful music making. Ted Perry, of Hyperion Records states in the liner notes, that they discussed enough material to make a second volume, and my only regret is that they didn't.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Tsaraslondon



The final disc in my group of Jill Gomez recitals is this excellent disc of songs influenced by Spain, as well as songs by Spanish composers.

I have written a fuller review of it on my blog. If interested, please click on the link.

One thing is for certain, I've emerged with renewed admiration for the talent of Jill Gomez.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Tsaraslondon



This is a delightful disc of French bonbons which I reviewed back in 2019 on my blog. If I were nit picking, I would admit that Graham's lovely voice lacks that last ounce of individuality and that I occasionally found myself wondering what Régine Crespin would have done with this material. Nevertheless ths is a thoroughly entertaining disc of rarely heard French light music from between the two wars.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Florestan



This recital of lyrical tenor arias from French opera-comiques is remarkable not only for the music itself, which is eminently enjoyable, but also for the unbelievably impeccable diction of Dubois. This is one of those rare instances where each and every word is clearly audible and instantly intelligible. Although I speak French fluently and in ordinary speech I understand pretty much everything, in recordings the percentage drops to about 75% because of diction. This disc, however, is a marvel in this respect. Highly recommended.
Music should humbly seek to please; within these limits great beauty may perhaps be found. Extreme complication is contrary to art. Beauty must appeal to the senses, must provide us with immediate enjoyment, must impress us or insinuate itself into us without any effort on our part.- Debussy

Tsaraslondon



Fifteen years separates these two discs of Spirituals by Barbara Hendricks, but the intervening years have done little to tarnish the voice's beauty. In the first, which is the one I prefer, she is accompanied by Dmitri Alexeev on the piano, whilst in the second she is joined by the Moses Hogan singers.

A fuller review of the discs on my blog.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Tsaraslondon



This is a gorgeous disc and one of the best versions I've heard of Ravel's Shéhérazade. I've also reviewed it on my blog and you can read that review here.
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Tsaraslondon



The late lamented Lorraine Hunt Lieberson had a superb gift for communication that makes you feel she is singing directly to you.

This recording, using modern instruments, was made shortly after Hunt Lieberson had appeared in performances, specially staged for her by Peter Sellars. The performance of Ich habe genug took on special poignancy as she was at that time fighting the cancer that would kill her a few years later. Sellars had her singing in a hospital gown, trailing life support equipment after her, which she ripped aside for the final Ich freue mich auf dem Tod.

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

Tsaraslondon



Some wonderful Handel singing here. Hunt Lieberson was much acclaimed for her Irene in Peter Sellars' superb Glyndebourne production of Theodora and here sings all her music. One might quibble that a series of dignified and thoughtful arias might be too much of a good thing, but Hunt Lieberson's warmth and commitment, her gift for communication and the natural beauty of her voice disarm criticism.

She makes less of an effect in the cantata Lucrezia, which lacks the drama and contrast brought to it by Janet Baker in her recording with Leppard on Philips, but she redeems herself in a beautifully shaped versions of the popular Ombra mai fu.
 
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas

Tsaraslondon





Two wonderful Wigmore Hall recitals from two consecutive years, 1998 and 1999.

As usual, Hunt Lieberson has a gift of communication, which draws the audience in and they sit in rapt silence throughout, only breaking out into rapturous applause at the end of each section. If I were to choose a favourite from these two discs, it would be the first recital for its more varied programme, a disc I have reviewed on my blog here.
 
\"A beautiful voice is not enough.\" Maria Callas