Browsing: Art Song

This is one of those treasurable major-label releases, made with the best of intentions, in which everything turns out wrong. Mahler wrote The Song of the Earth for high tenor and alto, singing alternate movements. It can also be sung by tenor and baritone if no alto sounds right. The chief requirement is a tenor who needs to sing high and very loud – a Siegfried kind of voice that can surmount the force of full orchestra. This is as much a competition for two soloists and orchestra as a composition. Jonas Kaufmann tells us he has loved the work…

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I hope this is not Renée Fleming’s final record. The American soprano, in her late 50s, is closing her stage career with the voice unblemished and the memories fond. It would be a pity if her legacy on Decca was to be concluded by this album, which plays to all her weaknesses. Samuel Barber’s lyric rhapsody Knoxville: Summer of 2015 requires a rich soprano voice and a capacity to articulate James Agee’s achingly nostalgic English text. Ms Fleming has the first quality. Pronouncing the words has never been her forte. The best ears will strain here to catch more than…

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Let’s get this out of the way: singer and songwriter Lewis Furey has a style like Rufus Wainwright ­– you either like his timbre and affected singing style or you don’t. When the evening of Furey’s Brahms Lieder concert began, I have to admit that I didn’t. His sforzando word play and sporadic British-like accent sapped the melody out of the opening song Wie Melodien zieht es mir, which he translated as Just a Feeling. But after the second song, I started to forget about his voice – the 67 year old Furey doesn’t pretend to be a virtuoso – and began to…

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Pictures of America: Natalie Dessay (Sony Classical) News of a Natalie Dessay release always stirs me to a fevered expectation. The French soprano, now retired from the opera stage, has an extraordinary ability to find character between the lines of a song, even one that is overly familiar or resistant to shades of interpretation. Why, she once won me over to choose a Debussy set as my album of the year… So my curiosity was well and truly piqued when Ms Dessay announced an album of American songs based on her reaction to well-known American paintings by Edward Hopper. What…

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In the same week that the New York Festival of Song (NYFOS) presented a contemporary art song program entitled “Christopher Cerrone & Friends” at National Sawdust (viewed December 8, 2016), Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize. The legitimacy of granting the prize to a singer-songwriter received the public auditing the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences anticipated, but also produced an opportune moment to shine a spotlight on the art of song. As part of his acceptance speech, Bob Dylan stated, “Not once have I ever had the time to ask myself, ‘Are my songs literature?’” Dylan’s response politely rebuked…

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OM – IN TCHAIKOVSKI’S COMPANY A true musical symbol of Christmas evening, Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker rejoices music lovers young and old each year. The Orchestre Métropolitain, under Julian Kuerti, will also perform his Symphony No. 2 “Little Russia,” Glière’s Harp Concerto (with OM artist-in-residence Valérie Milot), and music by Morel. (December 13 to 17 at 7:30 PM in 5 boroughs; 1 Maison symphonique, Sunday December 18, 3:00 PM). www.orchestremetropolitain.com SMAM – CHRISTMAS WITH CHARPENTIER Le Studio de musique ancienne de Montréal, in collaboration with Clavecin en concert, under Andrew McAnerney and Luc Beauséjour, will perform five of Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s sacred…

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The second annual Wirth Vocal Prize at McGill’s Schulich School of Music ­culminated in an evening of superior music-making by the three finalists: bass-baritone Jean-Philippe McClish, mezzo-soprano Simone McIntosh, and baritone Igor Mostovoi. Made up of past and present McGill graduates, the jury of Michael McMahon ­(pianist), Joan Patenaude-Yarnell (soprano), Patrick Corrigan (Director General of the Opéra de Montréal), and chair Stéphane Lemelin (pianist and head of the Department of Performance) selected McIntosh for the top prize, which includes $25,000, artistic ­mentorship, and several performance opportunities, including a recital with the COC. McIntosh, also the recent winner of the COC’s…

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Menu: Plaisirs with Jean-Paul Fouchécourt French Institute Alliance Française and Opera Lafayette Where: FIAF Florence Gould Hall, New York When November 16, 2016 The phrase “from the sublime to the ridiculous” is one of those idiomatic expressions that you associate with happenstances of all kinds, so to use that choice of words to describe a performance of high art French chanson, cabaret of Yvette Guilbert, and eighteenth-century Comédie lyrique may seem odd. But not when you consider that the performance Menu-Plaisirs co-created by its tenor soloist Jean-Paul Fouchécourt, director Jean Lacornerie, and magician Thierry Collet was conceived not simply as…

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Let’s get this out of the way. Singer and songwriter Lewis Furey has a style like Rufus Wainwright; you either like his timbre and affected singing style or you don’t. When the evening began on Furey’s Brahms Lieder concert, I have to admit that I didn’t. His sforzando word play and sporadic British-like accent sapped the melody out of the opening song Wie Melodien zieht es mir which he translated as Just a Feeling. But after the second song, I started to forget about his voice – the 67 year old Furey doesn’t pretend to be a virtuose – and…

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Competition will honor both Aria and Art Song Toronto, November 10, 2016 – The Concours musical international de Montréal (CMIM) announces at the IAMA Toronto 2016 conference (International Artists’ Managers Association) its new positioning for future voice editions. Starting in 2018, the vocal competition will feature two divisions: Aria and Art Song. Eligible candidates will be able to compete in either or both divisions. The same amount of prizes, grants, and awards will be assigned to both divisions, resulting in a record amount of more than a quarter million Canadian dollars to be awarded to prizewinners. The next Voice competition…

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