Sunday, February 10, 2008

Another Meme

Yes, this is a sign of extreme boredom. I have decided to do the iPod shuffle meme now that I actually own an iPod. I cannot explain this selection--I swear, it's exactly what came up.

1. "Sheep may safely graze" by Bach sung in German by Kathleen Battle. This is an aria for 2 flutes, soprano and baroque orchestra from Grace. It's just another example of Kathleen's exquisite phrasing. This is one of Bach's more famous arias.

2. Elisabeth Schwarzkopf sings a song called "Intermezzo" by Robert Schumann. It's a piano vocal in the tight, exaggerated style she sometimes gets into. Don't get me wrong--I love her madly, but she can overdo it by pinching off the phrases and does here. Too much of this will drive you mad.

3. Lorraine Hunt Lieberson sings an aria from Handel's La Lucrezia, "Il suol che preme." It is with orchestra from her Handel album. There are other numbers on this album I prefer, but here you get to hear a bit of graceful coloratura.

4. A cut from Golijov's Oceana. "Second Call" to be precise. This is a soprano singing in Spanish with guitar, flute and maybe a little bass accompaniment. At the end a chorus comes in. It's oddly, characteristically rhythmical. I like this.

5. Me singing the first of the Zwei Gesaenge for alto and viola by Johannes Brahms. If it was going to pick me, this is one of my favorites. The violist is excellent, and so am I. It has a wonderful flow. This is definitely my preferred version of this Lied. So far this is a weird selection.

6. Magdalena Kožená sings "Bekennen will ich seinen Namen" by Bach from her album Lamento. This shuffle is quite austere and German for some reason. I wish I could describe Kozena. She is crisp, cool, intellectual and formal, but has a full tone. Her Bach does not blaze. I prefer Bach where everything goes down in flames. Minkowski can sometimes manage it, but that's the other album.

7. The Madrigal from Puccini's Manon Lescaut. I bought the complete version of the opera just for this one cut because it's Cecilia Bartoli. I think it's the only thing by Puccini I've heard her do. I played it over and over dozens of times. "Susurrando," she sings. The other singers on the other tracks are Mirela Freni and Luciano Pavarotti with Jimmy Levine conducting. I listened to them later and gradually acquired an enormous respect for this recording.

8. Kathleen Battle sings Rachmaninov's "How fair this spot"--the same song that I liked so much on Anna Netrebko's Russian Album. Kathleen's version is different and also beautiful, but I've never heard it before. This must be from the album I got at the library. At the end of the track she introduces Marion Anderson.

9. Jessye Norman sings Schubert's "Auf dem See." I cannot explain the extreme severity of this selection. We haven't gotten any opera arias at all. This is Jessye singing small. I prefer Jessye singing big.

10. "Pensa, che questo istante" by Schubert. There is a lot of Cecilia Bartoli on this iPod. After all, I own almost everything she's ever recorded. This is from the German recital with Andras Schiff, and as usual, she is stylistically dead on. I don't know how she does it. She seems never to miss.

11. Overture to The Barber of Seville. It must be time to stop.

Six of the ten are Lieder. Very strange indeed. At least it didn't pick any Linda Ronstadt. How could I possibly explain that?

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