Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Things that make you go HMMM...

For those of you who read The Collaborative Piano Blog by Chris Foley, you will have not doubt seen his posting yesterday of French-Canadian Rufus Wainwright singing Berlioz' La Spectre de la Rose from the song cycle Les Nuits D'Ete.

Now, Rufus has a lovely tenor voice and comes from a line of musicians (his mother is Kate McGarrigle) and was recently awarded an opera commission from the MET (then later, it was taken away and the drama continues), BUT why would bother with Berlioz?

So, to counter the sounds of Rufus, I present Dame Janet Baker singing the same song with orchestra. What I adore about Dame Janet is her seamless breathing, the light attacks and the depth of her sound. Something else that is interesting for us pedagogy nerds is her use of her upper lip to dampen her sound particularly at the end of the song.

What do you think of this cross-genre theme? Have we gone too far?

Open your closed eyelid
Which is gently brushed by a virginal dream!
I am the ghost of the rose
That you wore last night at the ball.
You took me when I was still sprinkled with pearls
Of silvery tears from the watering-can,
And, among the sparkling festivities,
You carried me the entire night.
O you, who caused my death:
Without the power to chase it away,
You will be visited every night by my ghost,
Which will dance at your bedside.
But fear nothing; I demand
Neither Mass nor De Profundis;
This mild perfume is my soul,
And I've come from Paradise.
My destiny is worthy of envy;
And to have a fate so fine,
More than one would give his life
For on your breast I have my tomb,
And on the alabaster where I rest,
A poet with a kiss
Wrote: "Here lies a rose,
Of which all kings may be jealous."

Translation by
Emily Ezust

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