La Scena Musicale

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Nashville Symphony Showcases Yo-Yo Ma & Don Quixote in New Hall

Review by Paul E. Robinson
yoyoma450x237.jpg

Two years ago, when the Nashville Symphony opened the doors of its Schermerhorn Symphony Center, named after its late (11/20/29-4/18/05), long-time music director, Maestro Kenneth Schermerhorn, reviewers raved about the traditional shoebox design of its concert hall, With only 1,844 seats and wood everywhere, the new hall was modeled after Vienna’s Musikverein and Boston’s Symphony Hall.

Critics gushed over the fact that here, finally, was a modern concert hall that prized acoustics over profits. After the gala opening concerts, media reps virtually unanimously praised the quality of the sound and forecast an exciting new era for the orchestra.

After all the public ‘hoopla.’ I wanted to see and hear the Schermerhorn Center for myself. My visit in mid-October coincided with some of the first concerts led by the Nashville Symphony’s music director designate, Nicaraguan-born Giancarlo Guerrero.

Fine Dining, Architectural Delights & Great Music Combo Tough to Beat

classical music, Schermerhorn Center, NashvilleMy introduction to the the Schermerhorn Symphony Center complex was through its excellent restaurant, Arpeggio, located in the East Lobby. On performance nights the restaurant serves up a four-course buffet in a fine dining atmosphere. Arpeggio’s design is traditional with marble and granite floors and silver light fixtures. On the walls are black and white photographs of great musicians - classical, jazz and country. Nashville is, after all, home of the Grand Ole Opry. For music-lovers who don’t want to pay a $38 flat rate for dinner, there is a Café in the West Lobby offering more casual fare. There is also a courtyard patio which seems an ideal place to relax before concerts or at intermission.

Once inside the hall, one is struck by the European feel of the place with shallow boxes on tiers all around the hall, a very high ceiling with windows letting in natural light and light brown wood for the seats and floors. Chandeliers hang from the grey ceiling and 3,568 organ pipes face the audience. There is specially commissioned statuary inside and out and numerous touches in the art work celebrating Tennessee and some of its best-known residents. There is also a state of the art mechanical system which allows the ground floor seats to disappear and be replaced by a bare hardwood floor suitable for tables.

Maestro Guerrero’s Eclectic Programming Fresh & Challenging
The evening’s program was an eclectic one, to say the least. It began with Night Music: Voice in the Leaves composed in 2000 by Uzbek composer Dmitri Yanov-Yanovsky. Then came the Percussion Concerto written in 1998 by Chinese composer Chen Yi. After intermission we heard Richard Strauss’ Don Quixote.

classical music, cellists, YoYo MaYo-Yo Ma was featured in the Yanov-Yanovsky and Strauss pieces and percussion virtuoso Joseph Gramley was soloist in both the Yanov-Yanovsky and the Chen Yi.

This concert was a heavy duty workout for soloists, orchestra and conductor – and for the audience too. Guerrero has a reputation for championing contemporary music in previous assignments with the Minnesota Orchestra (Associate Conductor) and the Eugene Symphony in Oregon. But it’s too soon to tell whether this kind of challenging program will be typical of his tenure in Nashville.

Night Music is actually a chamber work and was composed for Yo-Yo Ma and his Silk Road Ensemble. It is a mostly quiet piece that explores the most subtle of textures. Towards the end of the piece, the eight instrumentalists blend with taped voices singing an Uzbek lullaby. It is atmospheric music, but I felt its effects were lost in such a large space.

Chen Yi’s Percussion Concerto makes use of the whole orchestra and a vast array of percussion instruments from East and West. Joseph Gramley was phenomenal in his virtuoso mastery of all these instruments and Guerrero and his orchestra navigated the complex rhythms with great skill. An added feature of the piece is a recitation of Chinese poetry, intended by the composer to be done by the percussion soloist. Perhaps Gramley’s Mandarin was not up to the task. In any case, in this performance we heard Mingzhe Wang intoning the words in what is described as “exaggerated Chinese operatic style.” This aspect of the piece was fresh and hypnotic. Overall, Chen Yi has written a very ambitious and largely successful hybrid piece that the audience found exciting to watch and to hear.

Schermerhorn Acoustics Help Bring Don Quixote to Life, But…Don Quixote usually features the principal cellist of the performing orchestra. It is not really a cello concerto, but rather uses the cello in a concertante role to depict the hapless Don Quixote. Other instruments in the orchestra – most notably solo viola, tenor tuba and bass clarinet play the role of his companion, Sancho Panza. Musically, the piece is a theme and ten variations with each variation depicting a different scene in Cervantes’ novel. The Nashville Symphony made excellent use of the screen intended for surtitles in opera performances, by projecting a short description of what happens during each episode as it occurs. This is especially valuable since the variations often flow into each other.

Yo-Yo Ma is one of the world’s great cellists and he is also a very physical player. Don Quixote gave him endless opportunities to play an unforgettable character and to act out his misadventures. ‘The Ride Through the Air’ was particularly vivid as Yo-Yo Ma appeared on the verge of doing exactly that as he swayed from side to side and the wind machine behind him rose to a crescendo.

Again, Guerrero showed fine control of his orchestra and brought out details that are often obscured. The horn section played brilliantly throughout and the unnamed tenor tuba player was wonderful. Another excellent idea in this performance: the tenor tuba player was seated on the opposite side of the stage from the bass tuba, horns and trombones, thus highlighting his special solo role in this piece.

Musically Speaking, Quixote’s Death is a Disaster!I enjoyed this Don Quixote immensely and due credit must be given to the hall for contributing so much to the overall effect; I was dismayed, however, by how difficult it was to hear the solo strings, and Yo-Yo Ma’s solo cello. I was sitting in row S, toward the rear of the ground floor, but the sound from the stage should surely be at least audible from every row. Most disappointing of all was the inaudibility of the famous glissando in the final variation, signaling the death of Don Quixote. I saw it, but heard no sound at all.

After just one concert, my impressions of the hall must be provisional, but its strengths and weaknesses are already apparent. I heard a lot of detail within the orchestra, and Gramley’s percussion playing was vivid and exciting, but I did not notice a strong double bass foundation in the orchestra, I had to strain to hear solo string playing, and the timpani playing was sometimes inaudible or muted. I began to think that for whatever reason, this hall suffers from the lack of an orchestral shell. Much of the sound seems to go straight up instead of out. I also wondered why the trumpets and trombones were the only instruments on risers. In this hall I think they would blend better if they too were on stage level.

The Schermerhorn Symphony Center is a gracious and distinguished addition to downtown Nashville and the NSO and its new conductor are giving intriguing concerts, but I am not convinced the sound in the hall is nearly as good as some have made it out to be. I was vastly more impressed with what I had heard two nights earlier at the Kennedy Center in Washington.

Nashville Symphony Recordings with Slatkin Worth a Listen!The Nashville Symphony is making regular recordings for Naxos and those I have heard are very good. The latest features music advisor Leonard Slatkin leading the NSO in a fascinating version of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. Instead of the usual Ravel orchestration, Slatkin has put together a version which features a different orchestration for each episode. Among the fifteen different composers represented are Stokowski, Ashkenazy, Gorchakov, Wood, and Gamley. Gamley’s “Great Gate of Kiev” even makes use of a chorus. The album also includes a bizarre arrangement of the Star-Spangled Banner by Rob Mathes and a phenomenal performance of Liszt’s Piano Concerto No. 1 featuring fourteen-year-old Chinese pianist Peng Peng.


Paul E. Robinson is the author of Herbert von Karajan: the Maestro as Superstar and Sir Georg Solti: his Life and Music, both available at http://www.amazon.com/. For more about Paul E. Robinson please visit his website at http://www.theartoftheconductor.com/.

Blog Photos by Marita

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Today's Birthdays in Music: November 8 (Bax, Hines)

1883 - Arnold Bax, Streatham, England; composer

Wikipedia

Summer Music (1920), played by the Ulster Orchestra, Richard Howarth conducting



1921 - Jerome Hines, Hollywood, U.S.A.; opera bass and composer

Biography
Wikipedia
Obituary (The Guardian, UK, February 2003)

Jerome Hines as the Grand Inquisitor, Paul Plishka as the King, in Verdi's Don Carlo (Metropolitan Opera, 1980)


Jerome Hines in The Last Supper Scene from his opera I Am The Way (Bolshoi, 1993)

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Friday, 7 November 2008

Today's Birthdays in Music: November 7 (J. Sutherland, Forst)

1926 - Joan Sutherland, Sydney, Australia; opera soprano

Wikipedia

Joan Sutherland sings:

"Come per me sereno" from Bellini's La Sonnambula (1960 recording)


 "Com'è bello" from Donizetti's Lucrezia Borgia (Covent Garden, 1980)



1943 - Judith Forst, New Westminster, Canada; opera and concert mezzo-soprano

Biography (Encyclopedia of Music in Canada)

Joan Sutherland and Judith Forst sing "Dal mio cor ... Va, infelice" from Donizetti's Anna Bolena (Orchestra and Chorus of the Canadian Opera Co., conducted by Richard Bonynge; 1984 CBC video)

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Thursday, 6 November 2008

Premier passage au Canada pour le chœur corse Barbara Furtuna

par Hélène Boucher

Le 3 novembre dernier, une rare performance avait lieu, à la Salle Pierre-Mercure. En vedette : les chants polyphoniques de la Corse interprétés par le quatuor Barbara Furtuna. Une invitation de l’ensemble Constantinople qui s’est rendue jusque sur l’Île de Beauté, à la rencontre de ces chanteurs. Rencontre toute en harmonie entre ces deux formations qui a mené à la création originale Canti Di A Terra. Un voyage musical d’inspiration orientale, nous transportant aussi loin qu’au 14e siècle, avec Kiya Tabassian au sétar perse et Ziya Tabassian aux percussions. Barbara Furtuna a partagé la scène avec Constantinople ainsi qu’en solo, a capella, sans instrumentation. Puisant à la fois dans la tradition du chant corse, avec ses folias et ses lamentes, le quatuor vocal a également offert au public des chants inédits de son répertoire. L’évolution du chant corse et sa pérennité passe par son renouvellement constant, comme l’a évoqué Jean-Philippe Guissani, chanteur terza. Grâce à ses interprétations contemporaines, Barbara Furtuna jouit d’une réputation internationale et ne cesse de conquérir un large auditoire sur le continent européen. Le concert présenté le 3 novembre a été enregistré par CBC Radio 2 qui diffusera ces splendeurs des polyphonies corses à travers le pays. Barbara Furtuna a enregistré deux albums, Adasgiu en 2004 et son plus récent opus, In Santa Pace. L’art vocal du quatuor se déploie par l’intensité de l’appartenance à leur terre natale (1) : « C’est sans aucun doute l’amour immodéré que nous portons à notre terre qui façonne nos chants et nous pousse à continuer avec la même passion intacte une aventure commencée au sortir de l’enfance. Nous poursuivons simplement notre chemin, sans presser le pas, avec nos doutes, certains cependant que l’avenir nous apportera autant de beauté que de douleur et bien décidés à jouir de chaque moment qui nous est donné »

(1)Infos Buda Musique

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La SCENA Introduces "I LOVE THE ARTS" Buttons

La SCENA is proud to introduce the "I LOVE THE ARTS" button. Three designs are available in full colour. Wear it with pride. Send $2 per button.

Fundraiser for Other Groups
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La SCENA, 5409 Waverly, Montreal, QC, Canada, H2T 2X8
laurabates [at] scena.org

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Levée de fonds pour d'autres groupes
Vous cherchez une idée de collecte de fonds ? Le macaron J'AIME LES ARTS est également disponible comme outil de financement pour les écoles et les groupes artistiques. Informez-vous sur notre taux de vrac.

La SCENA, 5409 Waverly, Montreal, QC, Canada, H2T 2X8
laurabates [at] scena.org

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Today's Birthdays in Music: November 6 (Sax, Sousa)

1814 - Adolphe Sax, Dinant, Belgium; musical-instrument designer (inventor of the saxophone)

Wikipedia
Extensive biography
Pictures of Sax saxophones

The Aurelia Saxophone Quartet (Uden, Netherlands) plays Jean Baptiste Singelée's Premier Quatuor Op. 53 on original Adolphe Sax saxophones



1854 - John Philip Sousa, Washington, U.S.A.; composer and conductor

Wikipedia
Library of Congress website

Tufts University's Saxophone Ensemble plays Sousa's Stars and Stripes Forever


Theme song for the Monty Python's Flying Circus TV show (aka Sousa's Liberty Bell March) (played by the City of Prague Symphony Orchestra)

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Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Today's Birthdays in Music: November 5 (Gieseking, Cziffra)

1895 - Walter Gieseking, Paris, France; pianist

Wikipedia
Biography and picture

Walter Gieseking plays "Ondine" and "Le Gibet" from Ravel's Gaspard de la Nuit (1937/8 recording)



1921 - György (Georges) Cziffra, Budapest, Hungary; pianist

Wikipedia
Biography and picture

György Cziffra plays Liszt's Transcendental Etude in F minor No. 10

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Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Puccini 150

Le meilleur de Puccini sur disque
Joseph So

[English]

L’année 2008 marque le cent cinquantième anniversaire de la naissance de Giacomo Puccini (1858-1924). Partout en Italie, mais particulièrement à Lucques et à Torre del Lago, des représentations spéciales, des expositions, des films, des conférences et des colloques ont célébré cet anniversaire. Ici au Canada, les Disques XXI-21, en partenariat avec La Scena Musicale, ont fait paraître deux CD des plus célèbres enregistrements de Puccini. Je viens de passer la journée à écouter les joyaux de ce coffret. Quel voyage dans le temps ! Je retrouve les enregistrements de ma jeunesse, j’en ai encore bon nombre dans ma collection de vieux vinyles, dont certaines plages sont tellement usées qu’elles ne sont plus écoutables. J’ai donc été enchanté d’en retrouver les meilleurs extraits rassemblés sur deux disques, qui iront directement dans le lecteur de ma voiture ! J’ai retrouvé sur ces disques des moments inoubliables. Voici mes préférés, mes choix pour une île déserte, si vous voulez, rangés par opéra.

La Bohème

L’enregistrement de 1956 par RCA avec sir Thomas Beecham au podium est difficile à battre – la douce et tragique Mimi de Victoria de los Angeles nous fend le cœur alors que le timbre éclatant de Jussi Bjoerling en Rodolfo peut difficilement être surpassé, pace Luciano Pavarotti. J’aurai toujours cependant un faible pour Renata Tebaldi dans l’enregistrement Decca de 1959 dirigé par le grand Tullio Serafin. C’est l’un des premiers enregistrements d’opéra que j’ai achetés et il demeure l’un de mes grands favoris. La Mimi de Tebaldi fait moins jouvencelle, mais la pure beauté du son est à couper le souffle. L’Addio, senza rancor du 3e acte est bien capté ici.

Tosca

Les généreuses trente minutes sont tirées du légendaire Tosca de Callas et di Stefano sur EMI (1953) dirigé par Victor de Sabata. Les deux artistes étaient à leur zénith absolu – Callas n’a jamais sonné aussi bien, l’intonation est sûre et l’instinct dramatique électrisant. Giuseppe di Stefano est également impressionnant : son timbre est d’une grande beauté, l’aisance technique est remarquable. Ajoutons le grand Tito Gobbi en Scarpia et voilà un Tosca immortel.

Manon Lescaut

Nous avons choisi l’enregistrement injustement méconnu de Decca paru en 1954, avec une jeune Tebaldi dans une voix resplendissante – son In quelle trine morbide est exquis. Son partenaire est un puissant Mario del Monaco à son meilleur, pas toujours subtil, mais peu de ténors peuvent rivaliser avec son squillo !

Madama Butterfly

Les enregistrements de Callas et de Tebaldi choisis ici permettent une comparaison directe entre les deux divas. La Cio-Cio San de Tebaldi est un tantinet mûre – on sent pas qu’elle n’est pas vraiment Butterfly, mais plutôt une soprano spinto italienne incarnant une geisha. Sauf que le timbre est si somptueux qu’il serait bête de chicaner. Quant à Callas, elle tient son tempérament fougueux en sourdine et sa Butterfly est particulièrement touchante. Les Pinkerton sont deux excellents ténors alors à leur sommet – Carlo Bergonzi et Nicolai Gedda. Je ne voudrais me passer ni de l’un ni de l’autre.

La Fanciulla del West

J’ai vu la Tebaldi dans cet opéra au Metropolitan en 1970, alors que sa voix avait connu des jours meilleurs. Mais dans cet enregistrement Decca de 1958, elle a douze de moins, elle est dans une forme splendide et sa Minnie est craquante. Minnie n’a pas d’arias renversants, mais Tebaldi chante l’arioso de l’acte I, Laggiù nel soledad, avec une pureté de timbre et un contre-ut admirables, facultés qu’elle ne possédait plus en 1970. Dans le rôle de Dick Johnson, Mario del Monaco chante bellement Ch’ella mi creda, avec une sensibilité étonnante.

Turandot

S’il existe une omission regrettable dans ce coffret, c’est l’absence de Birgit Nilsson, la Turandot du milieu du XXe siècle. Nous avons à sa place la soprano allemande Inge Borkh dans l’enregistrement Decca de 1955. Borkh, mieux connue en opéra allemand, a été éclipsée par Nilsson, mais sa Turandot est une révélation. Son aria In questa reggia est magnifique, tellement en fait que n’importe quelle maison d’opéra d’aujourd’hui serait enchantée de l’engager ! Dans ces extraits, nous avons droit en plus à Tebaldi en Liu, un rôle qu’elle n’a jamais chanté sur scène. Elle chante un charmant Signor, ascolta! Des trois Calaf représentés – di Stefano, del Monaco et Bjoerling, je préfère l’élégance et le timbre résonant de Bjoerling.

Bonus Tracks

À mes yeux, la partie la plus fascinante de ce coffret est la collection d’airs quasi-introuvables chantés par des voix du passé. La brésilienne Bidù Sayao est une délicieuse Lauretta dans O mio babbino caro enregistré à New York en 1947 sous la direction d’Eric Leinsdorf. Le grand Beniamino Gigli, avec sa suavité proverbiale, chante un court extrait, O dolci mani du 3e acte de Tosca. Deux autres sopranos nous donnent de beaux, quoique peu idiomatiques Si, mi chiamano Mimi – Ina Souez dans une jolie voix de soubrette, mais son parlando est laborieux et son portamento est discutable. La version légendaire de Maria Cebotari est plus convaincante, mais l’air paraît fort étrange en allemand. On peut dire la même chose du Senza mamma de Joan Hammond, traduit en anglais par Dying thus without a mother’s blessing. La voix est jolie, mais la diction est si mauvaise qu’elle pourrait chanter en mongol que nous n’en saurions rien. Le grand ténor français Georges Thill chante un élégant Nessun dorma. L’extrait le plus curieux est peut-être celui d’Enrico Caruso chantant Vecchia zimarra, l’air du manteau de Colline au 4e acte, enregistré par RCA Victor en 1916. Caruso assombrit sa voix, mais s’il se tire d’affaire comme baryton, il est carrément dépassé dans le registre de la basse. La légende veut qu’un jour, pendant une représentation de La Bohème, le Colline de la production a perdu la voix. Caruso le remplaça et chanta l’aria de deux minutes le dos tourné au public. Il enregistra ensuite l’aria, mais demanda plus tard que l’enregistrement soit détruit. Pour notre plus grand bonheur, une copie a survécu.

Tout considéré, voici une anthologie aussi fascinante qu’agréable, un ajout précieux à toute collection de disques de Puccini.

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Review of Puccini 150

The Best of Puccini on Record
Joseph So

[Français]

This year is the 150th anniversary of the birth of Giacomo Puccini (1858-2008). Throughout Italy but particularly in Lucca and Torre del Lago, special performances, exhibitions, screenings, lectures and academic conferences will mark the occasion. Here in Canada, XXI-21Records, in partnership with La Scena Musicale, is issuing a 2-CD set of some of the greatest Puccini recordings ever made. I just spent a day listening to the gems contained in this release – what a trip down memory lane! These are recordings of my youth, many of which I have in my old LP collection, with tracks so worn out that they are practically unplayable. It is great to have the best bits now put together on two discs, which will go straight into my car CD player. There are many memorable moments on the discs. Here are some of my favourites, my personal desert-island selections, arranged by opera:

La bohème

The 1956 RCA recording with Sir Thomas Beecham at the podium is hard to beat – the gentle and tragic Mimi of Victoria de los Angeles tugs at the heart strings while the clarion tones of Jussi Bjoerling as Rodolfo can’t be surpassed, pace Luciano Pavarotti. But I’ll always have a soft spot for Renata Tebaldi in the 1959 Decca recording under the great Tullio Serafin. This was one of the first opera recordings I bought, and it remains one of my favourites. Tebaldi’s Mimi isn’t girlish, but the sheer beauty of her sound takes your breath away. The Act 3 “ Addio, senza rancor” is well captured here.

Tosca

The generous, 30+ minutes comes from the legendary Callas and di Stefano Tosca on EMI (1953), conducted by Victor de Sabata. It caught both artists at their absolute peak – Callas never sounded better, with rock solid intonation and spitfire dramatic instinct. Giuseppe di Stefano is equally impressive, singing with great beauty of tone and technical ease. With the wonderful Tito Gobbi as Scarpia, this is a Tosca for the ages.

Manon Lescaut

Here we have the much-underrated 1954 Decca recording, featuring a youthful Tebaldi in resplendent voice – her “In quelle trine morbide” is exquisite. Partnering her is Mario del Monaco at his stentorian best, not exactly subtle but few tenors can touch him when it comes to squillo!

Madama Butterfly

The Callas and Tebaldi recordings chosen here allow a direct comparison of the two divas. Tebaldi’s Cio-Cio San is a tad mature – one never gets the sense that she is really Butterfly, but is rather an Italian spinto soprano impersonating a geisha. But with such opulent tone, I won’t quibble over characterization. Callas keeps her fiery temperament in check here, and her Butterfly is quite moving. Partnering the ladies as Pinkerton are two excellent tenors caught in their respective primes – Carlo Bergonzi and Nicolai Gedda. I wouldn’t want to do without either one.

La fanciulla del West

I actually saw Tebaldi in this opera at the Metropolitan in 1970, when her voice was past its prime. But here we have her twelve years earlier, in great form as a knock-‘em-dead Minnie, in the 1958 Decca recording. Minnie doesn’t have any show-stopping arias, but Tebaldi brings off this Act 1 arioso “Laggiù nel soledad” with purity of tone and a firm high C, something she no longer possessed in 1970. The Dick Johnson is Mario del Monaco, who sang with beauty of tone and surprising sensitivity in “Ch’ella mi creda.”

Turandot

If there’s one regrettable omission on this set, it is the absence of Birgit Nilsson, the reigning Turandot of mid 20th century. In her place we have German soprano Inge Borkh on the 1955 Decca recording. Borkh is better known in German opera and she was overshadowed by Nilsson, but her Turandot here is a revelation. Her “In questa Reggia” is good, so good in fact that any opera house today would be thrilled to have her! On this recording we have the added bonus of Tebaldi as Liu, a role she never sang on stage. She contributes a lovely “Signor, ascolta!” Of the three Calafs represented – di Stefano, del Monaco, and Bjoerling, I prefer Bjoerling for his elegance and plangent tone.

Bonus Tracks

For me, this is the most fascinating part of the set, with eight hard-to-find arias by famous singers of the past. Brazilian soubrette Bidù Sayao is a delicious Lauretta in “O mio babbino caro” under the baton of Eric Leinsdorf, recorded in New York in 1947. The great Beniamino Gigli sings a short excerpt, “O dolci mani” from Act 3 Tosca with his trademark honeyed tone. Two more sopranos offer a beautiful if unidiomatic “Si, mi chiamano Mimi”. Ina Souez has a nice soubrette sound, but she doesn’t have the facility with parlando, and she sings with little portamento. The legendary Maria Cebotari’s version is better, but the aria sounds very strange in German. The same can be said about Joan Hammond’s “Senza mamma”, translated into English as “Dying thus without a mother’s blessing.” The voice is lovely, but her diction is so indistinct that she could have been singing in Mongolian and we wouldn’t know. The great French tenor Georges Thill sings a stylish “Nessun dorma.” Perhaps the most curious selection is Enrico Caruso singing “Vecchia zimarra”, Colline’s Act 4 “Coat Song”, recorded by RCA Victor in 1916. Caruso darkens his voice here, but you can tell he can manage the baritone tessitura though not basso. Legend has it that once in a performance of La bohème, the Colline lost his voice and Caruso turned his back to the audience and sang the two-minute aria! He went on to make this recording, but later asked to have it destroyed. It is our great good fortune that a copy of it survived.

Overall this is a thoroughly fascinating and enjoyable release, and a great addition to any collection of Puccini recordings.

Part of the proceeds from the sale of this recording goes to fund the mission of the charity La Scène musicale, to promote music and the arts.

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Today's Birthday in Music: November 4 (A. Cooke)

1906 - Arnold Cooke, Gomersal, England; composer


Wikipedia
Arnold Cooke website

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Monday, 3 November 2008

Ensemble Constantinople : El Grito, El Silencio

Une fois de plus, l'Ensemble Constantinople nous a rappelé sa nécessité comme ambassadeur itinérant, certes privilégié, des cultures du monde. La salle Pierre Mercure, bondée et surexcitée par le charme de la chanteuse Rosario La Tremendita et les rythmes langoureux du magicien de la guitare et accompagnateur Jose Luis Rodriguez et de la « bande à Kyia Tabassian » n'a certes pas contrarié la sensation quasi hypnotique que procure le voyage dans l'ailleurs meilleur, en l'occurrence dans une Andalousie mythique.

Rarement nos planches locales auront-elles vibré d'une telle complicité endiablée de jeunes de 7 à 77 ans, réunis pour s'enivrer d'incantations arabo-turques, persanes et andalouses. Bref, il ne s'agissait pas tant d'un concert que d'une célébration.

> Ensemble Constantinople : El Grito, El Silencio, 15 mai 2008, Salle Pierre-Mercure

- Gilles Cloutier

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Today's Birthday in Music: November 3 (Bellini)

1801 - Vincenzo Bellini, Catania, Italy; composer

Wikipedia
Biography

Maria Callas sings "Casta diva" from Norma


Juan Diego Florez, with Mariola Cantarero and chorus, sings "A te o cara" from I Puritani (Las Palmas, 2004)

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Sunday, 2 November 2008

Today's Birthdays in Music: November 2 (Dittersdorf, Sinopoli)

1739 - Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf, Vienna, Austria; composer and violinist

Wikipedia
Biography and picture

Concerto for Double Bass in E major, 1st mvt. (Soloist Gábor Fánczi; Szent István Filharmonics Orchestra, conductor Kálmán Záborszky.  Budapest)



1946 Giuseppe Sinopoli, Venice, Italy; conductor and composer

Wikipedia
Interview (1986)

Giuseppe Sinopoli conducts the Triumphal March scene from Verdi's Aida (Dresden, 2001)

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