Friday, April 20, 2007

Current pickings

I am living a kind of austere life and have only the following CD’s to listen to:

Alison Krauss A Hundred Miles or More
Anna Netrebko Russian Album
Anne Sophie von Otter Speak Low
Beatles Love
Lorraine Hunt Lieberson Neruda Songs
Norah Jones Not Too Late
Rolando Villazon Combattimento
Rolando Villazon Gitano
Susan Graham Ives
Vivica Genaux Arias for Farinelli

I will annotate and rank this pathetic list. No wonder my brain is melting down. Rankings are on two levels: greatness and whether or not I actually listen to it.

For greatness Lorraine Hunt Lieberson Neruda Songs has to be number one. For depth, for beauty, for emotion, for tone, and I’m sure a lot more things.

For whether or not I listen, I confess Anne Sophie von Otter Speak Low really grabs me. For one thing there is this great photo on the cover with all that eye shadow and cynicism. It lacks a cigarette and drink, though. See Greta Garbo in Anna Christie to get the right way to play this. In fact Anne Sophie could take on Greta as a role model. She could use a little more mystery. Our Swedish mezzo gets completely into songs that are not in her native language. Are you listening, Americans?

The latest thing on Weill is that Lotte Lenya says there is no German Weill and American Weill. There is just Weill. How can I argue? Why would I argue? Of all the Weill I have heard since I started blogging, Bebe probably got it best. Only her voice failed her.

Both Alison Krauss and Norah Jones have done better. I very much prefer the Live album for Alison Krauss. Too many dead people on this one for me.

Rolando Villazon Combattimento may just be a great recording. It’s hard to imagine improving on this performance of Monteverdi.

I do indeed listen to Anna Netrebko Russian Album regularly, much more than anything else on this list. It wears well. The Rachmaninov is all completely exquisite. I continue to wish she would do a Rachmaninov songs album for us, but this is probably not the direction she wants to take. Rimsky and Tchaikovsky are also lovely. I am beginning to feel a longing for things Russian.

Beatles Love feels stale and overworked.

There’s nothing wrong with Rolando Villazon Gitano, but I doubt I’ll ever get really into zarzuela.

Why isn’t Vivica Genaux rich and famous? She does not rise to the level of frighteningly awesome that La Bartoli manages, but she’s pretty damn good. Vivica Genaux Arias for Farinelli is highly recommended. She could loosen up a little, look longer and deeper for the feeling of each piece. Everyone could, for that matter.

I like Ives. I have no other excuse.

Maybe I should get a job in a music store like Sarah. Or is there such a thing in America?

No comments: