Browsing: Art Song

To help navigate the 2018 edition of the Concours musical international de Montréal (CMIM), La Scena listened to all 38 participants to arrive at our prediction of the winners. This year’s contest is split into two divisions, Aria and Art Song. This has made the competition more interesting, with a highly competitive field in each division. Only two singers will participate in both. The 24 singers in the Aria division include highly decorated winners of recent international competitions. Besides the top two, there is a cluster of 13 other singers who stand a chance to reach the podium. This year,…

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Fanny Hensel, ‘the other Mendelssohn’: Complete Songs (Champs Hill) I’m uncomfortable with the album title. Rather than being ‘the other Mendelssohn’, Fanny was the heart of the Mendelssohn family and a fine composer in her own right – despite patriarchal suppression by her father and angry resentment from her brother, Felix. Fanny, married to a Berlin artist, kept her works in a drawer until her late 30s, when she went out and got them published, to Felix’s amazement and grudging admiration. Sadly, there was little time for her to enjoy the reviews. Fanny died of a stroke at 41 and…

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38 CLASSICAL SINGERS FROM 22 NATIONS TO COMPETE IN MONTRÉAL Canada leads the selection with eight singers Montréal, Wednesday, February 21, 2018 – 38 promising young singers—20 women and 18 men between the ages of 24 and 35, from a record 22 nations—have been selected to participate in the CMIM (Concours musical international de Montréal) between May 29  and June 7. Canada leads the selection with eight singers, followed by South Korea with six singers. ARMENIA Anush HOVHANNISYAN (soprano, Aria) AUSTRALIA Kang WANG (tenor, Aria) BULGARIA Mihail MIHAYLOV (tenor, Aria) CANADA Andrew HAJI (tenor, Aria) Lauren MARGISON (soprano, Aria) Marie-Andrée MATHIEU (mezzo-soprano,…

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Schubert: Winterreise (Harmonia Mundi) Mark Padmore, tenor Kristian Bezuidenhout, piano At the 15th song of the Winter’s Journey, a piano melody that seems to come from the nursery turns into a bleak anticipation of death. ‘The crow has come with me…. Flying ceaselessly above my head.’ Anyone listening will know that Franz Schubert will be dead within a year. But Schubert does not know he is going to die. He is thirty years old and feeling a bit low from various ailments, but he has no idea that he is writing his own requiem. Our knowing against his unknowing heightens the…

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Ralph Vaughan Williams: Songs of Travel (Chandos) James Gilchrist, tenor; Anna Tilbrook, piano; Philip Dukes, viola At the turn of the 20th century, the world was wide open to young men of means. Ships were getting faster, trains more frequent and motor cars were appearing on the roads. Faced with these exciting possibilities, the English composer Ralph Vaughan Williams decided to stay home, collecting the remains of a musical civilisation that was being trampled by the march of technology. Together with his pal Gustav Holst, Vaughan Williams recorded people singing in pubs and fields. Then he wrote Songs of Travel. The…

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On the first anniversary of Leonard Cohen’s death, November 7, 2017, Montreal’s Musée d’art contemporain (MAC) opened a vast exposition devoted to Cohen, his work, and his work as interpreted by other artists. This expo, despite its occasional weaknesses, is certain to become the largest and most successful show in the museum’s 53-year history. It displays such a richness of Your Man to make it moving and deeply satisfying. Cohen, or rather Leonard, to use the affectionate case, spoke to a worldwide audience and was beloved on all continents, as few Montrealers have ever done. In his final years, reflecting…

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Montreal’s second orchestra, Orchestre Métropolitain de Montréal, got positive press for their concert at the Elbe Philharmonic Hall (Elbphilharmonie) last Friday (December 1, 2017). Joachim Mischke, Hamburg’s leading and most knowledgeable music critic, wrote a comprehensive and inspiring review about the event (Hamburg Abendblatt, December 4). Conductor Yannick Nézet-Séguin was described as a bundle of energy who got the ball rolling in Pierre Mercure’s Kaléidoscope, demonstrating in detail the orchestra’s collective articulation accuracy. “Berlioz’s orchestral songs cycle Les nuits d’été became the finest moment, as the orchestra conjured nuances and played enchantingly discreet. But above all, contralto Marie-Nicole Lemieux savored…

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I will begin this short article on basses and baritones with eighty-eight-year-old Joseph Rouleau, our elder born in Matane, Quebec, in 1929. Joseph Rouleau left his mark on vocal arts through his great talent and artistic personality, as well as his dedication to classical music education, especially by training youth. This was evident in his 25 years at the helm of the Jeunesses Musicales Canada. Rouleau has had a distinguished international career. Of his accomplishments overseas, he was the leading bass at the Royal Opera House in London’s Covent Garden for more than twenty years. In addition, he toured the…

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Eva Gauthier spent the summers of 1922 and 1923 in Europe, studying voice with Anna Schoen-René in Berlin, renewing her acquaintance with composers and colleagues in Paris and London, and replenishing her library with new scores. When she prepared her annual New York recital for the fall of 1923, she chose an eclectic program which not only ran the gamut of styles from Purcell and Bellini to Schoenberg and Milhaud (with several first performances included), but also featured the first appearance of popular American songs in a recital program. To accompany her in this last group she engaged the 25-year-old…

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PARIS – Ever seen a conductor cry on stage? I mean, other than Leonard Bernstein? We can add to this exclusive list the name of Yannick Nézet-Séguin, who was seen wiping his eyes discreetly on Sunday after Elgar’s Enigma Variations, a performance that marked the official conclusion of a six-city, seven-concert European tour by the Orchestre Métropolitain. There would be an encore: Ravel’s Pavane pour une infante défunte, done in the supplest tones imaginable. We must resist the temptation to deem the last thing heard as the best. But goodness, what a sound. And what an ovation from the Parisians, who packed…

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