Archive for May, 2012

Sandrine Piau Le Triomphe de L’amour

Posted in Opera with tags , , , on May 29, 2012 by orinococds

Sandrine Piau Le Triomphe de L’amour Naive OP30532 NZ$33

Stunning as always, Sandrine Piau in French opera arias of the 17th and 18th century.

François Nicolet flute; Juliette Roumailhac violin; Jérôme Correas harpsichord; Sandrine Piau soprano

Les Paladins, Jérôme Correas (Conductor)

From the Naive website (listen to extracts): Soprano Sandrine Piau’s new project is dedicated to French baroque repertoire, offering a wide range of very beautiful arias by Rameau, Lully, Campra etc in a 100-year journey that mixes very famous music with little-known pieces, such as arias by Grétry or Sacchini. Sandrine Piau and Jérôme Correas, a former singer, founder and music director of Les Paladins, have worked together on a regular basis since their early careers, especially with William Christie. This new release is the 10th recital of Sandrine Piau on Naïve and 2012 marks the 10th anniversary of our collaboration.

“The French music of seventeenth and eighteenth centuries has changed my life both literally and metaphorically: having trained as a harpist, I never imagined I might one day embark on a singing career. Nevertheless, in an incredibly fertile profusion of music, a series of encounters led me into this Baroque adventure where imagination and rigour call the tune, and permanently influenced my approach to all kinds of music.”  — Sandrine Piau

“A hundred years of music: we offer our listeners a journey through the elegant language of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the very special world of the tragédie lyrique and the opéra-comique, but also the evolution of two artists eager to pool their sensibilities and their taste for discovery.”  — Jérôme Correas

Review: The Independant 11 May 2012 *** “There are some unexpected treasures unearthed here, but Piau’s gifts are nowhere more effectively employed than on Lully’s “Enfin, j’ai dissipé la crainte”. She animates the narrative with a measured emotional turbulence that stretches the boundaries of its formal arrangement, a tension between propriety and hysteria resolved only in the poise of the final bars.

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Britten: Serenade for tenor, horn and strings / Nocturne / Finzi: Dies Natalis Op 8 – Mark Padmore

Posted in Orchestral, Vocal chamber works with tags , , , , , , , on May 28, 2012 by orinococds

Britten; Finzi works. HMU 807552  Mark Padmore NZ $33

Beautiful recording which is destined to become a big seller  – UK reviewers are very complimentary. Listen to excerpts on Harmonia Mundi’s website

The Times 4th May 2012 *****  “so tender and piercing that you really do seem to be listening to these song cycles anew…Padmore’s tenor audibly sports some family resemblances [to Pears], though he’s less precious than Pears, with a conversational ease when singing pianissimo never mastered by Britten’s love and muse. These are intensely sensitive and poetic readings, strengthened further by Stephen Bell’s clean and lyrical horn”

The Guardian 3rd May 2012 ***  “ Padmore proves to be a more convincing interpreter of Finzi than he is of Britten…there remains something rather neutral and restrained about his approach at moments when the music would really benefit from a firmer grip. In Dies Natalis, though, he shows that grip – it’s a wonderfully muscular performance, beautifully judged and shaded, set off by suitably rapturous string playing.”

Financial Times 12th May 2012 *** “It was high time Mark Padmore, one of our most thoughtful tenors, set down his interpretation of the “Serenade” – softer-grained than we might have expected from a singer of such probing spirit and dramatic antennae, and softer-edged than the orchestral accompaniment from the Britten Sinfonia, whose horn player, Stephen Bell, proves a robust soloist.”

Gramophone Magazine June 2012 “the sense of the poems across with extra immediacy, as if Padmore has read the texts many times over before fitting them to the music. There is much beauty – not perhaps in the purely vocal sense…but in the marriage of words and music…Highly recommended.”

The Independent 19th May 2012 “[Padmore’s] not found wanting in the “Nocturne for tenor, seven obbligato instruments & strings”, in which he ably negotiates Shelley’s reverie, Wordsworth’s melodrama and Tennyson’s “thunders of the upper deep”; the “Serenade for tenor, horn & strings” is equally impressive…“Dies Natalis”, however, offers too stark a contrast to the otherwise elegaic tone.”

Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (1925–2012)

Posted in Vocal chamber works with tags , , , on May 23, 2012 by orinococds

From Deutsche Grammophon’s website, on the passing of the great German singer, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, in his 87th year.

It was with profound sadness that Deutsche Grammophon learned of the great baritone Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau’s passing on Friday morning, ten days before his 87th birthday. He was one of the outstanding musical figures of the last century, and his bounty of peerless recordings – song, opera and oratorio – has been a cornerstone of the Yellow Label catalogue for more than 60 years.

In particular, he achieved pre-eminence as an interpreter of German Lieder. “I have never heard Fischer-Dieskau sing without being able to learn something from it,” wrote the late J.B. Steane. “Intellect and emotion are fused; that is the distinctive mark of the civilised European culture which Fischer-Dieskau throughout his long career has represented so well.” His remark encapsulates the reasons why Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, to quote another astute English critic – Hilary Finch – “made a greater impression on the history of singing in the 20th century than any other performer”, and why, as the critic Ivan Nagel famously wrote, many of us have “spent half our lives with him”, would know less and have experienced a lot less without him, would have lived a lot less.

In 1949 Fischer-Dieskau began recording for Deutsche Grammophon. One of his first discs was a Hugo Wolf recital, accompanied by the Berlin opera coach Hertha Klust. Besides Lieder, the other focus of his earliest DG recordings was Bach, and in 1951 he recorded two solo cantatas for Archiv Produktion with the admirable German Baroque specialist Karl Ristenpart. In 1951 he gave his first recital in Vienna, a city where audiences, unlike those in Germany – the singer wrote in his diary – still considered recitals “a part of their daily bread”.

Thus did Fischer-Dieskau set out on the artistic path that would define not only his own career but also the lasting impression he made upon his fellow singers and, indeed, upon the song recital as we know it. Another long stride on that path came in the same year, when he made his first Lieder recordings with Gerald Moore, initiating a miraculously productive 20-year artistic partnership. Much later, Moore would come out of retirement to join Fischer-Dieskau in the largest single project of the baritone’s career: recording all the Schubert lieder for male voice.

Besides Moore, Fischer-Dieskau had two outstanding regular accompanists. With the Austrian pianist Jörg Demus he made some of his finest recordings for Deutsche Grammophon in the 1960s, including a celebrated Winterreise. In the 1970s and 80s he was joined by Daniel Barenboim, by then his chief recital partner, for large, authoritative anthologies of Schumann, Brahms, Wolf and Liszt.

One of the versatile singer’s most famous operatic roles was Don Giovanni, which he first essayed in 1953 in Berlin, then recorded with Fricsay in Berlin in 1958 and again nine years later with Böhm in Prague. Another Mozart role now associated with Fischer-Dieskau is Papageno, which he also recorded in Berlin with Fricsay in the mid-1950s and with Böhm in the mid-1960s. Although he never sang it on stage, he did perform most of his other recorded opera roles in the theatre, including Wolfram in Wieland Wagner’s production of Tannhäuser, Fischer-Dieskau’s Bayreuth debut, Sachs in Die Meistersinger and Mandryka in Strauss’s Arabella, with which he made his Covent Garden debut in 1965. Another composer for whom he had a special affinity was Mahler, performing and recording it with Furtwängler, Walter, Kempe, Bernstein, Barenboim and Böhm.

In 1993 this most recorded and influential of artists ended his singing career. The credo that informed it might well be found in this passage from his book If Music Be the Food of Love: “If you only sing with your voice, you are soon finished. If however, you possess the fire of poetry, if each poem seems to you to be spontaneously spoken as if by one who is creating a fantasy . . . you will use it to express the idea, the character, the thoughts of a work or a role.” Fortunately, his abundant discography has documented for all time how completely he fulfilled that aspiration.