Author Topic: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD  (Read 371681 times)

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Offline knight66

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #120 on: August 01, 2009, 09:02:14 AM »
Alan, Oddly enough, right now I am listening to a recital of French Songs with Philippe Jaroussky and the opening song, as on the Graham disc, is the exquisitely beautiful  'A Chloris'. I think I will write this recital up. But it is really another of my counter-tenor-obsessive discs, so not likely to gain very much foothold here.

I do understand the issue over specific performances. I have a number that no matter what, though I listen politely, the poor performers are wasting their time and mine.

Mike

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Offline knight66

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #121 on: August 01, 2009, 09:06:40 AM »
Yes, Mike, the later performance were in German, which, though it was the first time I'd seen or heard the opera, bothered me not one jot. You see I did what I wish so many would do before they go to the opera; ie some research, so when I got there I already had a good idea about the plot and what to expect.



Ah right. I was just wondering which language. I have a book about Scottish Opera and it lists all the performances for the first 10 years, they had only to then done the Rosenkavalier in English and I rather thought that they may well have changed language for a revival. It must be a chore for singers to learn the same work in more than one language. Not many houses were likely to ask Dernesch to use her English to sing the role. It shows a lot of commitment.

Mike
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Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #122 on: August 01, 2009, 09:13:07 AM »
Yes, I'm a lost cause on this one. I remember at one point buying the Schwarkopf/Karajan recording because it was supposed to be 'definitive', and being crushingly disappointed - utterly unmoved by the whole thing. It seemed almost - how can I say it? - clinically executed.

It's odd how different listeners have different reactions to the same performance. I can't get to the end of the Schwarzkopf/Karajan Der Rosenkavlier without shedding a tear at least once.

I also have an early recording of the Presentation of the Silver Rose, with Schwarzkopf as Sophie this time and Irmgard Seefried as Octavian. Karajan is again the conductor. It's worth a listen. I also used to own the CfP version on LP and I enjoyed it immensely, much prefering Cahill's rounder, creamier voice to Stich Randall's silvery whiteness on the complete Karajan.

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Elgarian

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #123 on: August 01, 2009, 10:42:49 AM »
It's odd how different listeners have different reactions to the same performance. I can't get to the end of the Schwarzkopf/Karajan Der Rosenkavlier without shedding a tear at least once.

I do think that sometimes a major musical experience burns itself into my memory so fiercely that I become almost unable to accept an alternative interpretation without a struggle - a struggle that, wisely or not, I may be unwilling to undertake. So it's not that a judgement can sensibly be made on the works that fail to make an impact; rather, they never really stood a chance.

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #124 on: August 01, 2009, 11:14:41 AM »
Alan, Oddly enough, right now I am listening to a recital of French Songs with Philippe Jaroussky and the opening song, as on the Graham disc, is the exquisitely beautiful  'A Chloris'.

Well, there's a nice bit of synchronicity. I'll waffle on a bit along these lines. This is the CD in question, as Mike has already realised:



Details here, with samples:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Belle-%C3%89poque-Reynaldo-Hahn/dp/B00000AG7M/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1249155869&sr=1-2

If ever there were a mood-dependent CD, this would be it; there are times when it simply wouldn't be what I'd want to listen to, and I suspect that there are some people for whom it would always be a complete turn-off. But when the mood is right, it's so deliciously beguiling that I drop into it as if it were a soft comfortable chair. You know what you're in for from the first song - 'A Chloris' - and from there on it's a long, langorous drift through a French-flavoured fin-de-siecle wistfulness, where ladies droop gracefully upon their chaise-longues, and speak of loves long lost, or of new loves that might be found ... and then lost. Always there's that implication of an underlying sadness in this music; of an era exhausted by itself; a ending, of a kind.

Reynaldo Hahn has a lovely gift for melody: sometimes very lovely indeed - try 'Tyndaris' (track 6), or 'A Chloris' (track 1) from the samples at the link above. And somehow Susan Graham gets right under the skin of the music. Whether she would sound French to a French person I can't say, but she oozes Frenchness, to me, and sings exquisitely, nearly always with a hint of longing in her voice for a happiness never quite within reach. "I remember, ah yes, I remember. Everything seemed to bode so well."

Not a collection for every day. But a collection that, on some days, is almost essential.

Offline Brewski

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #125 on: August 01, 2009, 11:25:44 AM »
For some reason I don't have this, since I'm definitely in the "pro-Graham" camp, and she does French repertoire beautifully.  I could sink into that soft comfortable chair any time. 

Last year I heard her in Berlioz's Les nuits d'été--just fantastic--with Boulez and Chicago.  (And I'm not particularly a Berlioz fan, either.)

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Offline knight66

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #126 on: August 01, 2009, 12:52:05 PM »
Alan, An interesting review of the Hahn disc. As a companion, here I will write about Philippe Jaroussky's French Recital entitled 'Opium'.

The notes equate the heady perfume of the Opium flower, to the bouquet of French Song. Perhaps so, but if you are looking for the languorous and degenerate, well, I don't really think it is evoked here. There are some beautiful songs and some are slow, but there are interspersed with bracing jolly songs. So the suggested mood of a druggy dream of sensuality is not sustained, blame the programming and the chaste basic voice quality of this singer.

What we get is a string of 24 very enjoyable songs by a group of composers including Hahn, Chaminade, Massenet, Faure and a number of others. They are not grouped, each composer who has several songs is spread amongst the others. The programme is not themed, not chronological. But it works perfectly well as a string of unmatched but polished pearls.

All are accompanied by pianist Jerome Ducros and several have additional string parts.

Jaroussky is one of the newer counter-tenors. I don't think he sounds like any of the singers we have discussed except possibly Mera. This is a very beautiful voice, well produced and to my ears, most of the time on this disc he sounds like a soprano rather than a man. Anyone who is not up for that kind of ambiguity will be best to avoid. But then the whole marketing of this singer is deliberately ambiguous. I am not bothered what sex the singer is, what I want is artistry allied to a great voice, we have that here.

I am not going to compare this much with either Graham or von Otter's discs, I am happy to deal with it on its own terms. Heady is not in his repertoire and that is perhaps a slight weakness; but what we do have is a calm beauty and it is well worth listening to.

This voice type is clearly looking to expand beyond the baroque and the modern. Some attempts are more successful than others, I chalk this one up as a success, though concede it both could and should have had a more powerful narcotic kick.

Mike
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Offline The new erato

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #127 on: August 01, 2009, 10:04:00 PM »
The most impressive song disc to have arrived in my collection the last couple of years probably is this disc:



Any lovers of Sibelius symphonies absolutely need this. Fabulous singing and great songs.

The lack of texts is a serious omission though, fortunately I have them from other discs.

Offline knight66

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #128 on: August 01, 2009, 10:14:41 PM »
I should think the texts to most works can be found here....

http://www.recmusic.org/lieder/s/sibelius.html

Mike
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Elgarian

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #129 on: August 01, 2009, 11:37:54 PM »
Philippe Jaroussky's French Recital entitled 'Opium'.

The notes equate the heady perfume of the Opium flower, to the bouquet of French Song. Perhaps so, but if you are looking for the languorous and degenerate, well, I don't really think it is evoked here. There are some beautiful songs and some are slow, but there are interspersed with bracing jolly songs.

These differences are interesting, given that from the titles, one might more similarities than differences between Graham's and Jaroussky's discs. I don't think Graham ever comes close to 'bracing' or 'jolly' on her disc. That's not to say they're all slow and dolorous - they're not, by any means. But even in the more cheery, bright songs, there's always an edge of sadness: 'Alright, so here we are having a good time at this party - but of course it all has to end...'

Massenet probably adds a cheery influence to the mix of the Jaroussky too, I imagine? Hahn may have been a pupil of Massenet (I think he was?), but his temperament seems to me very different; not that I'm an expert!

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #130 on: September 19, 2009, 08:04:05 AM »


This isn't a recital disc as such, but a 7 CD collection that gathers together a mass of material from Popp's career. So far I've listened to the first CD (mostly Handel) and the second, which is wholly Mozart arias. The first was marvellous. The second - the Mozart - has flattened me against the wall.

OK, look - all I knew about Lucia Popp was her famous Queen of the Night performance in Klemperer's recording of The Magic Flute. And it is brilliant. I wasn't sure that I didn't prefer Patricia Petibon singing 'Der holle rache kocht in meinem herzen', but I could see that Popp's version was justly famous. Oh, and I have Popp's recording of Suor Angelica too, but prefer Cristina Gallardo-Domas's version by some distance. But I hadn't delved further than this.

It's odd how these things happen. Recently I stumbled across a Popp autograph, and bought it for a small sum.



It's just a bit of paper - no photo or anything - I thought I'd trim it to a square and put in in my Magic Flute box. But somehow, having that bit of paper that she'd written on started me delving on Amazon to see what was available, and what do you know? This box had just been released at a bargain price. So I bought one for the weirdest of reasons, thinking it would be a more interesting place to keep my autographed bit of paper than the Magic Flute box!

I wasn't prepared for the devastation that the Mozart CD has wreaked. One aria after another, so fine, so masterly, so packed with feeling, that it left me feeling quite numb. This kind of singing is simply unanswerable - beyond any criticism I might attempt. She sings these arias as if they were written for her; as if they were just waiting for her to come along and perform them. So I think I've fallen into posthumous love with Lucia Popp. At the moment, I can't think of any music that can follow this. I need a day or two of silence, to recover.




Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #131 on: September 19, 2009, 12:38:54 PM »


This isn't a recital disc as such, but a 7 CD collection that gathers together a mass of material from Popp's career. So far I've listened to the first CD (mostly Handel) and the second, which is wholly Mozart arias. The first was marvellous. The second - the Mozart - has flattened me against the wall.



I'm assuming that the Mozart disc is mostly drawn from the disc of Mozart Arias she did with Leonard Slatkin, which was for many years one of my treasured LPs, and which I now own on CD in EMI's Great Records of the Century series. Popp also contributed to DG's Complete Mozart Concert Arias Edition, having a disc to herself, which was also issued separately. Does anyone know if this has since seen the light of day? I'd love to own it again.

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Elgarian

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #132 on: September 19, 2009, 08:37:38 PM »
I'm assuming that the Mozart disc is mostly drawn from the disc of Mozart Arias she did with Leonard Slatkin,

The Slatkin recordings are there, yes, plus others - you can see the full list here (Disc 2):

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Icon-Lucia-Popp/dp/B002M3Z986/ref=dm_cd_album_lnk?ie=UTF8&qid=1253424830&sr=1-2

There are also 8 Mozart items on Disc 1.

Offline knight66

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #133 on: October 18, 2009, 12:42:59 AM »
Jonas Kaufmann: German Opera Arias. Mahler Chamber Orchestra: Abbado.

Within seconds this recital grips you and you know you are in for something well beyond standard expectations. Lohengrin's 'In fernen land' opens with a few moments of silken strings, then the voice steals in, the legato is faultless, the timbre is dark, the sound gradually expands from the gentle opening to the declamatory final bars. An arc of sound and of narrative drama. I cannot imagine a recital with a better start.

He then moves onto the subsequent aria 'Mein lieber schwan'. At once the longing, the regret, then anger, again that narrative pull. This singer projects the character, no mere singing lesson, a three dimensional presentation of the inner journey Lohengrin takes.

Clearly Kaufmann is tough minded. He has pretty much dictated the format of the programme. Starting with Lohengrin, ending with extended extracts from Parsifal. In between some Mozart, some Schubert, Fidelio and Walkure. It is not at all a typical romantic German Arias disc. One 10 minute extract of Zauberflote includes the long duologue with The Speaker. Not at all an obvious choice. Here the tone is full and open. This is a Tamino on the heroic side. He has not quite the sweetness of his idol Wunderlich, but he has more heft and pays more attention to words.

He caresses the second Schubert aria, surely he would be a great lieder singer with the detail he brings out in phrasing and wordpainting. But perhaps the voice will soon be too large. He has been careful to retain Tamino, but will in all probability lose the role as he increasingly takes on the heavier roles. He looks ahead in the linear notes to explain that although Tristan still lies a long way ahead, other Wagner roles impend. I hope that as more Wagner enters his repertoire he can escape the beat in the voice that would so affect the kind of pure sound he presently makes.

Another highlight is the aria for Florestan. That begins with a rare and hair raising dispair. The initial note coming from somewhere far, far away, then ripping the air with its increased intensity. He again takes us on that journey into the thoughts of the man.

By now expectations could not possibly be higher: Wintersturme: somehow it sounds to my ears slightly effortful, there is not quite the liquid ease I expected in getting round those notes near the start. As the aria progresses into the areas of forte and slow moving notes, it warms up. Here I missed that matchless intimate ardour of Melchior. The only occasion when I was thinking of another singer throughout this demanding and contrasted recital.

I hear the occasional parched note, especially when descending on a third from a higher note. He has a baritonal quality and a lot of the most enduring tenors have that. The bottom is rich, the top gleams.

I hope that he gets a chance to record the bulk of these works complete, especially in Fidelio and Lohengrin. I don't generally collect the work of many tenors, Vickers, Bjoerling are exceptions, but I add Kaufnann for the steady, open, round tone and especially for the intelligence and commitment he displays. He has that special skill to draw you in and to hold you.

Abbado is a wonderful accompanist, he moulds the pieces and had at least some influence on the programme. The sound of the recording is open and forward. Time now to search out some more of his work. I am at last hooked.

Mike
« Last Edit: April 24, 2010, 08:26:48 AM by knight »
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Offline The new erato

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #134 on: October 18, 2009, 01:19:14 AM »

He caresses the second Schubert aria, surely he would be a great lieder singer with the detail he brings out in phrasing and wordpainting.

He is a great lieder singer, re his disc of Strauss songs on HM.


Offline knight66

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #135 on: October 18, 2009, 02:42:23 AM »
Thanks, yes, I noticed that when I then went on a search, also that he does have a Fidelio on DVD from a few years ago.

I have a lovely disc of Siegfried Jerusalem performing orchestral versions of Strauss songs. Should Kaufmann produce some Schubert songs, I would snap them up,but am not nearly so adicted to Strauss songs.

Mike
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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #136 on: October 18, 2009, 08:11:01 AM »
Mike, this is a wonderful review. You have sold me in tryingt this disc from Kaufman. I wasn't too keen on the previous recital, finding him unduly mannered,  in the italian arias.

Offline knight66

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #137 on: October 18, 2009, 09:07:43 AM »
Andre, You make me a bit nervous here as him singing Italian arias is about the only time we have ever disagreed. So, I hope my opinion on the German repertoire finds us on common ground.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJEUqzFcLkQ

Let me know how you get on.

Mike
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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #138 on: October 19, 2009, 05:57:18 PM »
Fear not, my friend. I have seen (heard) plenty of youtube extracts and I have come to appreciate Kaufmann a lot more in german opera than in italian. BTW, I have the same rapport with Jon Vickers. I don't much care for his italian opera portrayals (except as Giasone, Pollione and Otello), but am in thralls whenever he sings in German. I think it simply has to do with the character of the voice, both of which seem suited to their careful - almost painstaking - pronunciation of the german language. Every syllable registers. It doesn't work all that well when they are singing in Italian - the flow and euphiniousness aren't quite there.

Offline knight66

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Re: Favorite vocal recitals on CD or DVD
« Reply #139 on: November 08, 2009, 06:42:28 AM »
Here is a true recital: one designed around the singer and provided with a theme plundered from a rich and deep treasure chest.

Schubert Complete Songs Volume 6. Anthony Rolfe Johnson accompanied by the Svengali of the series Graham Johnson.

The theme here is one of night and the dark. This provides more variety than might be supposed and included here we have a song based on MacPherson/Ossian that is more of a scena than a mere song, nevertheless unfinished at over eight minutes. Full of atmosphere with an opening that steals in. This was the final hurrah in Schubert's love affair with the King of Celtic romantic gloom.

Contrasts are provided with the beautiful lullaby 'Der Knabe in der Wiege D579', sung as a father watches his child and its mother sleeping.

We are also provided with fascinating contrasting settings of the same poem 'Abends unter der Linde'. But the highlight for me is the exquisite hushed song 'Abendstern' to a Mayrhofer poem. Having shared accommodation, there was some kind of estrangement between the poet and Schubert, sufficient that the composer was no longer subscribing to his friend's published poetry. After a gap of several years, Schubert perhaps made amends with a final group of five settings by his one time friend. This one, two short verses, is memorable with a sinuous melody and the gentle, hushed beauty of it is wonderfully expressed by Rolfe Johnson at his most fluidly honeyed. He always expresses the words, they are never bland, but they are made to fit within the legato phrasing.

Here is masterclass singing at the opposite poll to that of Bostridge who draws attention to the words while breaking up the lines.

This lovely disc is closed by a group song for male voices. The end of an evening of drinking has reluctantly and wistfully arrived. Here is a kind of communal singing I have only now experienced in Eastern Europe. We are I think the poorer that we replace this sign-off Guten Nacht with football chants. But I can't see even German supporters now bringing this lyrical Schubert off; even when there is a late kickoff.

Mike
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I wasted time: and time wasted me.