Likes Likes:  0
Results 1 to 6 of 6

Thread: Four Last Songs

  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    18
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Four Last Songs

    The Four Last Songs - for me, the height of music - was given a problematic performance at the Proms this week, I feel. But such performances often shed extra interest on familiar works. This was one of a tragic heroine persevering...

  2. #2
    Senior Member powerbooks's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    262
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Sorry but maybe I posted to a wrong forum early today:

    2012 BBC Prom 5 disappoitment: Richard Strauss Four Last Songs

    (No wonder nobody noticed! But thankfully looks like that I am not the only one felt the disappointment! )

    Anyway, here is my rant again:

    Just did a quick peek of the Prom 5 video, and was shocked by how bad the Four Last Songs were played.

    The soprano Anne Schwanewilms looked calmly posed, but her voice was far from easy and clam. Was she nervous? I doubt so. However, she sounded like this was the first time that she ever sang this piece. At first, I felt the voice was too soft in comparison to the full orchestra. As the music flew on, her voice became choppy, and sounded like taking constant "unnecessary" change of breath, and never finished a line in full. The whole piece was also starting to drag. When it reached the third song, it was almost a disaster. The voice was very insecure. The was no middle of the road build up of the climax from the violin solo, and even more strangely, when she reached the top note she suddenly changed tune as if she could not hit it, or lost connection with the orchestra or something. Very weird. The closing applause sounded quite polite without enthusiasm.

    I fault the conductor Juanjo Mena for many of the technical approach, but the soprano also should take the blame. I am very disappointed for the performance. The Four Last Songs was premiered int he Royal Albert Hall 60 years ago after the composer's death, and was a frequent "show-off" piece for the prom. Unfortunately, this 2012 performance hit a low note and need to be forgot.
    Last edited by powerbooks; Jul-23-2012 at 00:17.

  3. #3
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    18
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Thanks for that. I, too, am glad I an not alone!

    More than made up by Daniel Barenboim playing all Beethoven symphonies at this Olympic Year Proms - great stuff.
    And that near hour long Boulez piece with several soloists performed meticulously between the 1st & 2nd symphonies was a *major* event. A tour de force.

  4. #4
    Senior Member powerbooks's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    262
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Des View Post
    Thanks for that. I, too, am glad I an not alone!

    More than made up by Daniel Barenboim playing all Beethoven symphonies at this Olympic Year Proms - great stuff.
    And that near hour long Boulez piece with several soloists performed meticulously between the 1st & 2nd symphonies was a *major* event. A tour de force.
    Are you talking about Prom 9 with B1 and B2? I am not got it yet but will certainly take a note.

  5. #5
    Newbies
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Posts
    1
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    I registered with this website so I could reply to you. Did you not realise that the singer was unwell? Under normal circumstances what happened would not acceptable - but this singer is no X Factor 'wanna be'! Anne Schanewilms, a distinguished Strauss singer, was battling some form of laryngitis. I've been in her shoes. I remember singing in a competition when I think every fourth note didn't sound! It was a horrendous experience never to be repeated. Miss Schwanelwilms as a true pro did not want to let the side down but perhaps should have been 'indisposed' and called in an understudy. Nerves, heat and light would not help either. In the preceding interview with Petroc Trelawny, Anne said she was not feeling well, so I wasn't surprised when things started to fall apart. I really felt for her. A packed hall with 5,000 people plus a TV audience. Just a bit of pressure there! She kept her composure though probably wished the ground would open up or she would wake up and it was all a dream. Such is the voice. You can't just get another one if the first one breaks! She gets top marks from me in the circumstances and is clearly, on a good day, an outstanding artist.

  6. #6
    Senior Member powerbooks's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Posts
    262
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Well, I did not know her condition of illness, so my comment was only on the merit of the performance I saw and heard on the video. Would I have reacted differently had I know her condition? Probably, but that is not the point. I think the performance was bad, and if she is really sick, everyone would be understandable to have a substitute.

    The review is in no way to undermine the artistic character of Anne Schanewilms. No one is perfect, and even Fleming could get a bad Deeca recording of the Four last Songs, didn't she? That in no way will affect my view of her either.
    Last edited by powerbooks; Jul-24-2012 at 03:15.

Similar Threads

  1. Do you like Ravel's songs? (yes, songs)
    By aleazk in forum Classical Music Discussion
    Replies: 22
    Last Post: May-02-2012, 22:59
  2. Sad Songs
    By 0212 in forum Vocal Music
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: Nov-05-2010, 15:34
  3. 99 Songs for $0.99
    By brianstreet54 in forum Recorded Music and Publications
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: Jun-20-2009, 22:54
  4. Songs
    By Eric in forum Today's Composers
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: Jun-12-2007, 00:32

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •