Saturday, April 28, 2012

Lorraine sings Bach

I should be getting close to owning everything available for Lorraine Hunt Lieberson.  My first blog post was a death announcement here.

Then I checked the DVD for John Adams' El Nino out from the library.  She is in that, and I wanted to see it, but I couldn't stand the constant cutting back and forth between the stage and a film.  I couldn't follow either one of them.  Maybe audio would work better for me.

I started to become a fan with Neruda Songs, a wonderful set of songs by her husband Peter Lieberson.

Then I began some serious collecting with Lorraine at Wigmore, and her Handel arias, both fine recordings.  Though there is an audio version of Marc-Antoine Charpentier's Médée, recently rereleased, I wanted to see the action and bought a DVD of it from House of Opera.  Either version is highly recommended, but some people cannot stand House of Opera.  This was followed by her Dido with the Philharmonia Baroque.  I also own the recital at Ravinia which was nominated for a Grammy in 2010.  It includes a different recording of this gorgeous Brahms.  I highly approve.

Lorraine has her own very personal style of sliding, the mark of the great artist.  Don't let your teachers fool you into thinking you shouldn't slide.  All the great ones do it.

This brings us back to Bach.  If you can bear it, there is a YouTube video of the aria "Ich habe genug" with Lorraine in her hospital gown.  I cannot.  This is Peter Sellars' fault.  The quality of the CD is much better.

I am one of the ones who hear the soul in her singing.  For the Baroque it can be necessary to feel across extremely long phrases.  Phrasing in large part consists of deciding where is the beginning, where the middle, and where the end of the phrase.  Each short set of notes must be felt to move forward or hold back.  When the phrase is extremely long, the singer must feel it all the way to the end, even if a breath is necessary.

Surely they will run out soon.

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