Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Lonely Child


  1. Magnificent in every way, mademoiselle. Thanks! Wonderful music, a real spell you get, esp. with that very long unsung intro (you even wonder if maybe she won't ever sing), and glorious voice. Okay, I ought to know what this is, but don't. Please explicate. Have you seen it live? Made me think of Cathy Berberian for a minute, can't believe she died so long ago.

  2. Susan Narucki and the Asko and Schonberg Ensembles, conducted by Reinbert de Leeuw, perform Claude Vivier's masterpiece from 1980

    So that's it. Tell us more. Great stuff.

  3. It's wonderful - i didn't post it, we owe it to some other qlip...lcc

  4. Yes, it's Vivier, and yes, I saw this production live, only time I ever saw the orchestra wear make up...

    So that's it. Tell us more.

    Claude Vivier, Canadian composer, died young. First thing you will always read is his strange death: his final composition, Glaubst du an die Unsterblichkeit der Seele? ("Do you believe in the immortality of the soul?" - watch), ends with the narrator stabbed in the subway, which is what happened to Vivier a few days after he wrote it. Many of his pieces I like best have endless, often quite exotic melodies, with the entire ensemble sounding like one strange voice or instrument. Probably my favourite Vivier piece is Zipangu for two groups of strings (also integrated into the Marco Polo opera, but it doesn't seem to be on video.google anymore). The first time I heard it was in the conservatory in The Hague in the early 90s. It was played in the second half of the concert and during the intermission I overheard a conversation between some of the students; one guy was telling some others how the first time he heard Zipangu live he remained hypnotized by it, dizzy, ecstatic for days. I remember thinking that he must be a poseur, but then the music started and it was all true.

    Other Vivier compositions I love are Bouchara, Orion and Et je reverrai cette ville étrange... D

  5. "the entire ensemble sounding like one strange voice or instrument. "

    Marvelous 'image', and something one can strive for with the ear even when there is not so much leanness as with Vivier. Reminded me of the way Maria Callas defined 'prima donna' as the 'primary instrument of the orchestra', or something like that, although let's face it, she was not looking for a vivier/berio kind of ensemble. (Off-topic, I finally got hold in the last year of her late 40s and early 50s recordings, before she lost the weight, and they are the best Aidas, Nabuccos, Puritani sopranos I've ever heard. And WOW, did losing the weight do wonders for her looks but not her voice--in no time the high notes will pierce your ear. Have any of you heard those very old things, there's one done in Mexico City, trying to remember which it was, might have been the 'Aida'.)

    Thanks for all the history, it's fascinating, and I feel very privileged to have been introduced to M. Vivier and his superb works. I will look for Zipangu, although I am only hypnotized for days by the usual poseur *documents* :)

    Some of us poseurs are a lot more than we're cracked up to be!

  6. No problem, some of my best friends are poseurs.

    I have a CD with one act of the Parsifal Callas did in 1950 and I agree that's a warmer voice, less strained. But I also think sometimes the later, thinner voice might be more effective dramatically, because of the sharper articulations.


  7. Parsifal: Bühnenweihfestspiel in Three Acts — Complete Recording in Italian

    Kundry, Maria Callas; Gurnemanz, Boris Christoff; Parsifal, Africo Baldelli; Orchestra Sinfonica e Coro della RAI; Vittorio Gui, Conductor. Recorded 1950.

    I didn't know about this, would love to hear it. I think I read about it, but not sure. 'effective dramatically' could be true, but the sharpness is not so much more articulate IMO, but the high notes are just strident very often. There's one later Tosca, though, in which she does come on stage as if a snake, and that's something that she seemed alone to possess to such degree, when she's getting ready to dispense with Scarpia. Someone told me she had photos of Audrey Hepburn all over her dressing room, that was the look a lot of women tried to get, but they never could, not even Callas, although she looked wonderful in that old 1959 concert in Paris. She had it rough.

  8. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fIr2yi4S8sg&feature=related

    This is the best I've ever heard this very atypical Mozart Sonata played. Do you know this pianist? I didn't. He gets the tall architecture and also good on the Second Movement, on same page, I think you'll find. Amazing piece. Okay, now will get Mitsuko Uchida doing the 3rd movement, the Rondo, she does that exquisitely, it was written earlier...one moment, plizz...


  9. The Russian guy is very good, I love Uchida, heard her play the Berg Chamber Concerto with Tetzlaff and Boulez last month, magnificent, but for Mozart... I know it's wrong, but for the Mozart piano sonatas, my ideal is Glenn Gould - even if (or maybe: because) he didn't always take the music seriously. His K533 isn't on YouTube, but here's K330.

  10. Aha, k330 is the only Gould Mozart I've known all my life, for some reason. Maybe just because the hick library had the LP. It's eccentric and delicious the way he does it, but I prefer his Bach eccentricities. This Russian is incredible at his age knowing how this HUGE First Movement is shaped--I can't believe it, really, it's much better than Perahia or Barenboim (and Uchida's First Movement is much more small-scaled, the Russian sees the PARTHENON in the First and Second Movements.) And that Second Movement with the dissonances chromatically ascending is unbelievable writing, even for Mozart. I've played this Sonata hundreds of times, it's stark and severe and I discovered it by accident, but Mr. Kirrill knows more about it than me or Murray or Daniel. It's like phrasing he was born with, like Streisand's untutored ability with 'Sleepin' Bee', something like that, although that sounds a bit far-fetched. Of course, he's been trained, but his understanding of the structure is something intuitive.

    Mikhail Emelianov at Perverse Egalitarianism seems to love Gould's Mozart, too. He linked to a Martha Argerich Shostakovitch from the past weekend. I told him I was sure she was the greatest pianist since Franz Liszt. So this means she was not 'beneath humanity'. She has always LOVED sex! And you can sure hear it too. Why, I think Stephen Bishop never saw the light o' day, because all Martha wanted to do was FUCK!