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Thread: Vocal recitals.

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    Senior Member Tsaraslondon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Diminuendo View Post
    Great series indeed with many great artists like Yehudi Menuhin, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Fritz Wunderlich, Beniamino Gigli, Franco Corelli, Tito Gobbi, Jussi Björling, Giuseppe Di Stefano and others.
    I don't have any of these Icon boxes, but I do have a load of box sets, released by EMI (and now Warner) over the years - the 10 Disc Janet Baker Great Recordings box, Great Moments of Nicolai Gedda, Wunderlich - Prince Among Tenors, Schwarzkopf - complete recitals, The Fabulous Victoria De Los Angeles etc.

    Very grateful I am for them too.
    "It's not enough to have a beautiful voice." Maria Callas

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    Senior Member Larkenfield's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GregMitchell View Post


    Nobody would deny the honeyed beauty of Kathleen Battle's pearly soprano, nor her felicity and ease of movement in fast coloratura. Nor would they deny Wynton Marsalis's stupendous trumpet virtuosity. One would therefore assume that putting the two together would give you a winner. Given that the programme is a welcome mixture of the well-known and the unfamiliar, you might also expect a nicely varied recital.

    Well that doesn't really happen here, I'm afraid. Quite aside from the fact that there is absolutely nothing authentic about the performances (the orchestra made up of modern instruments and Marsalis playing on a valve trumpet), there is a sameness of approach and a preponderance of fast arias that tends to the monotonous, and in the rare slower pieces, the music starts to sound more like Rachmaninov's Vocalise than anything authentically baroque.

    As background music, it is undemanding and pleasant to listen to, especially if you have a sweet tooth, but, aside from showing off the prowess of its two stars, it doesn't really add up to a satisfactory whole.
    Here's Battle with Perlman and the entire Bach album is a joy from beginning to end:

    "That's all Folks!"

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    Senior Member Tsaraslondon's Avatar
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    Here are some of the 78s the young Björling made in his native Sweden between 1933 and 1949, the earliest made when he was a budding tenor of twenty-two.

    Most are vocal gems, but one or two (the rather loud and penny plain Je crois entendre encore, and the unpoetic duet from La Boheme with Anna- Lisa Björling for example) are less than great.

    The voice itself was a magnificent one, no doubt about it, with a silvery purity throughout its range, the high notes free and easy; just listen to his joyfully ebullient 1938 performance of Offenbach's Au mont Ida from La belle Hélène, sung in Swedish, but with terrific swagger, the top notes flying out like lasers. From a few years ealier we have a plaintively sensitive performance of Valdimir's Cavatina from Borodin's Prince Igor, the legato line beautifully held, his mezza voce finely spun out.

    For the most part, though, Björling will be remembered for his performances in Italian and French opera, and there are plenty of examples here of his wonderfully musical performances in that genre. Some regret the absence of a true Italianate tone, but he will never resort to sobs and aspirates to express emotion, and, personally, I find his comparative restraint very attractive. It is true, he is not always imaginative with his phrasing, and nowhere will you get the kind of psychological introspection you would hear in a performance by someone like Vickers, but his singing is always musical, and of course there is a great deal of pleasure to be had from the voice itself, which Italianate or not, is a thing of great beauty.

    This is Volume 2 in an old EMI series and some of the very best of these 78 recordings are included on Volume 1, but there is still plenty to treasure here. Apart from the two aforementioned arias, I would single out the Ingemisco from the Verdi Requiem, Des Grieux's lovely Dream from Manon, sung with liquid, honeyed tone, and his ardently poetic Cielo e mar, from La Gioconda.

    The disc finishes with a couple of unexpected examples of his work in Lieder, a gorgeously lyrical Beethoven Adelaide, and a beautifully restrained and rapt account of Strauss's Morgen.
    Last edited by Tsaraslondon; Apr-03-2019 at 18:29.
    "It's not enough to have a beautiful voice." Maria Callas

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    Senior Member Tsaraslondon's Avatar
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    This is a wonderful recital disc and a great example of the art of Shirley Verrett, dating from 1967, before she ventured into soprano territory.

    It starts with a stunningly virtuosic rendering of Orphée's Amour, viens rendre à mon âme from the Berlioz edition of Gluck's Orfeo ed Euridice. Verrett maintains a true appreciation of the classical style, the chest voice used more sparingly than in Verdi, vibrato kept to a minimum. She also gives the piece a properly heroic dimension. Orpheus is after all srengthening his resolve at this point.

    The two Donizetti items showcase her facility in bel canto, though with so many French items in the recital, it's a shame she sings the aria from La Favorite in Italian. The short scene between Giovanna and Enrico from Anna Bolena gives us the chance to hear her engagement with the text in recitative, her legato line in the cavatina and her felxibility in the cabaletta. The aria from La Favorita also goes well, again displaying her deep legato in O mio Fernando, and her thrilling dramatic thrust in the cabaletta.

    She is even better in the French items, giving us a beautifully restrained performance of Premiers transports from Berlioz's Roméo et Juliette, and one of the best versions I have heard of Margeurite's D'amour l'ardente flamme, one of the composers greatest inspirations. Verrett's responses to the text are just that bit more vivid than those of Von Stade, whose eary French recital I listened to recently, with a much greater range of colour. Only Callas surpasses her in creating an atmosphere of utter forlorness and longing, though it has to be admitted that by the time she recorded it her actual tone couldl sound somewhat frayed and thin, where Verrett is firm and rich throughout.

    She is grandly eloquent in the aria from Sapho, and wonderfully alive to the many changes of emoton in the Letter Scene from Werther, briliantly charting Charlotte's mounting anxiety. This too is one of the greatest performances you will ever hear of the scene, and it is a great pity she never recorded the complete role.

    It is also nothing short of tragic that she never recorded the role of Dalila, one of her greatest stage successes, and her beautiful reading of the famous Mon coeur s'ouvre à ta voix closes the recital proper. Disappointingly she follows regular performance practice, by splitting the phrase in Ah, réponds à ma tendresse in order to snatch an extra breath. It is so much more effective when sung, as Saint-Saëns indicated, in one long breath, though Callas is one of the only singers to do it that way. Aside from that one slight cavil, her comparative restraint is welcome and all the more seductive for letting the music speak for itself.

    The Verdi pieces at the end are taken from complete recordings of the two operas. She is wonderfully vivid as Preziosilla and darkly commanding as Ulrica.

    In all Verrett's superb musicality is evident, and I often wonder why she recorded comparatively little, given the flurry of opera recordings made in the 1970s. That her superb Carmen was never committed to disc is little short of criminal.
    "It's not enough to have a beautiful voice." Maria Callas

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    Senior Member Tsaraslondon's Avatar
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    It seems incredible now that this disc was released over 30 years ago, but there it is, clearly written in the insert, "Recorded August 1988 at Manhattan Center Studios, New york", though, IIRC, it had a different cover on its first release.

    Barber's wonderfully nostalgic Knoxville, Summer of 1915, a setting of James Agee's prose-poem has now, it would seem, become quite popular. It was first recorded by its dedicatee, Eleanor Steber in 1950, a couple of years after its premiere, but had to wait another eighteen years before being recorded again, though very successfully by Leontyne Price. It had to wait a further twenty years for this version by Dawn Upshaw, but its success has led to a spate of others by the likes of Barbara Hendricks, Sylvia McNair, Roberta Alexander, Kathleen Battle, Jill Gomez, Karina Gauvin and, most recently, Renee Fleming.

    Steber was a wonderful singer, and her version is very fine, but for me it misses the essential childlike quality of the piece and she can sound a bit mature, even a trifle prim. Price, on the other hand, is surprisingly successful at scaling down her rich velvety voice to the needs of the writing, and her version is deservedly well known. Dawn Upshaw, on the other hand, has by nature what Price had to strive for. She has exactly the light voice and direct manner the piece needs and there is no need for her to characterise; she simply has to be herself, her diction natural and unforced. David Zinman’s tempi are also just right, and it is no surprise to find that this version has been a top recommendation since it was first issued.

    The rest of the programme is also attractive, its centrepiece being John Harbison’s Mirabai Songs, originally written for piano, but here given in his chamber orchestra version. The songs are settings of 16th century devotional Indian poems by Mirabai, who, after her husband died, devoted her life to the God Krishna. The texts are alternatively erotic, ecstatic and devotional, the orchestrations colourful, the vocal range wide and Upshaw is fully up to their demands.

    The interesting but quite short programme is rounded off with a couple of operatic pieces, a short extract from Menotti’s radio opera The Old Maid and the Thief, and Anne Trulove’s No word from Tom from Sravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress, and Upshaw would seem perfectly cast in both.

    Like most of Upshaw’s records the material chosen is refreshingly different and well worth investigating.
    Last edited by Tsaraslondon; Apr-10-2019 at 09:07.
    "It's not enough to have a beautiful voice." Maria Callas

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    Senior Member Tsaraslondon's Avatar
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    "Come again, sweet love doth now invite," sings Barbara Bonney at the beginning of this recital, and the invitation is so beguiling that it would be hard to resist.

    What follows is just over an hour of pure delight. We start with a selection of lute songs by Dowland, Campion, Morley and Byrd, all accompanied by Jacob Heringman. Bonney's pure tone and natural, unaffected manner might suggest a lack of personality and yet she has something personal to say about each song, with a lovely smile in the voice for the quirky Away with these self-loving lads, and a deeper vein of melancholy for the famous Flow my tears which in turn is followed by a delightfully charming It was a lover and his lass.

    She is joined by the viol quartet Phantasm for Byrd's O Lord, how vain are all our frail delights, who also provide an instrumental interlude with John Jenkins's Fantasy no 3 between this and the other Byrd piece, Though Amaryllis dance in green.

    More variety is accorded when, for the Purcell items, Bonney is accompanied by The Academy of Ancient Music under Christopher Hogwood, with Andrew Manze suppling violin obligato in the lovely Plaint from The Fairy Queen, which preceded by couple of instrumental items here (two Airs from Abdelazar), is not taken too slowly for once.

    Fairest Isle, both the song and the disc it gives its name to, might possibly be considered a tribute by this American soprano to the land she has made her home, and she finishes with one of the most well known English arias in the repertoire, Dido's wonderful Lament from Dido and Aeneas. It is perhaps not so powerfully intense as versions by Dame Janet Baker and Lorraine Hunt Lieberson in their complete sets, but, taken out of context, it makes a fitting conclusion to a recital that affords nothing but pleasure.
    Last edited by Tsaraslondon; Apr-12-2019 at 21:52.
    "It's not enough to have a beautiful voice." Maria Callas

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    Senior Member Barbebleu's Avatar
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    Thanks Greg for steering me closer to the poorhouse with your last three posts!

    Seriously though, lovely recommendations which I shall endeavour to acquire.
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    Senior Member Tsaraslondon's Avatar
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    Jennie Tourel was born in Russia in 1900 of Jewish parents, but she and her family left just after the Revolution, temporarly settling in Danzig before moving to Paris. She fled to Lisbon just before the Nazis occupied France and from there to the USA, becoming a naturalised Amercian in 1946.

    She had an illustrious career both in the opera house and on the recital stage, and was the creator of the role of Baba the Turk in Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress. She was still active when death ended her career in 1973, in fact in the middle of performances of Donizetti's La Fille du Régiment in Chicago. The longevity of her career is testament to her sound technique, but if the years were kind to her voice, she was also careful never to overtax it. She knew what suited her and stuck to it.

    The dates of the recordings on this disc are unknown, but the Italian and French items are stereo, which would place them at least from the early to mid 1950s. Her voice is still admirably firm, with no trace of wobble or excessive vibrato. Her legato isn't always perfect, and her runs can be lightly aspirated, which mars her performance of the Rossini items, and also of Bizet's Adieux de l'hotesse arabe, though she sings it with more personality and drama than many.

    Berlioz's Absence is sung with piano, and is notable for the firmness of the line, though personally I prefer a more inward display of longing. Tourel is too loud in places and she rushes the pharse la fleur de ma vie. Much better are Poulenc's Violon and Liszt's Oh! Quand je dors and I particularly enjoyed Ravel's Kaddish, which exploits her rich lower register.

    The Russian items are all worth hearing, beginning with a mournful Tchaikovsky None but the lonley heart, the cello obligato adding to the pervading sense of melancholia. As befits the general mood of the Russian items, she uses a bigger, more dramatic sound, but she can also be lightly high-spirited in a song like Dargomizhsky's Look darling girls. In all she displays a strong personality and superb musicianship.

    Song texts and translations are provided on the disc itself, which doubles as a CD-ROM, though, annoyingy, if you want to read them at the same time as listening to the disc, you will have to print them out before playing the disc on a CD player.
    "It's not enough to have a beautiful voice." Maria Callas

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    Senior Member Tsaraslondon's Avatar
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    The lion's share of this CD is a reissue of what, I believe, was Caballé's first recital disc for RCA, recorded in 1965 when the voice was at its freshest, and at around the same time as her sensational international debut in Lucrezia Borgia at Carnegie Hall, when she was a last minute replacement for Marilyn Horne. Up until then her repertoire had focused on Mozart and Strauss, plus Massenet's Manon, and in fact she made her Glyndeboure debut later the same year as the Marschallin. However it was as a bel canto specialist that she would eventually become known, and she was one of the sopranos (along with Sutherland and Sills) who spearheaded the bel canto revival, set in motion by the legendary La Scala Visconti production of Anna Bolena with Callas.

    The voice itself was rich and velvety, even throughout its range, her breath control exemplary, with the ability to float the most incredible pianissimi, an effect she perhaps overused in later years. There were a few chinks in her armour, especially for a bel canto specialiste; her trills were somewhat ill defined, and though the voice had flexibility and negotiated florid music well, there was the occasional hint of an aspirate, never encountered in the singing of Callas or Sutherland.

    The tendency to aspirate, noticeable in the very first phrase of Casta diva, mars the beauty of the performance and the aria is not as mesmerising as it can be, despite the gorgeous sound. But this is nit picking and hers is still one of the most ravishing performances of the piece you will hear. Better I think is the Mad Scene from Il Pirata, which is sung with deep feeling and a true appreciation of the dramatic situation. The cabaletta does not have the lacerating effect of Callas in the same music, but works well within Caballé's gentler conception.

    All three Donizetti roles which follow became Caballé staples in the next few years, and she fulfils all their demands for vocal gandeur and personality. Always evident is the sincerity of her art, but she is not one of the world's character actors. It has to be admitted that all these Donizetti and Bellini heroines sound much the same, the characters pretty interchangeable. Does that matter? Well I suppose that depends on one's personal preferences, and mine are well known. That said, I am grateful for what she has, and Caballé is certainly not unfeeling, in fact often most affecting. Where Sutherland's dazzling performances often leave me cold, I find Caballé's dramatic commitment, albeit rather generalised, satisfies me more. We would be privileged to hear singing of such beauty and accomplishment now.

    RCA have here added a Mira o Norma recorded in 1972 (I assume this is from the complete set with Fiorenza Cossotto, though she is not credited) and the first part of the closing scene from Anna Bolena, recorded in a somewhat boomy acoustic in 1970. Already there is just a very occasional hint of the hardness that would later affict her loud high notes and result in the over-exploitation of those floated high pianissimi, but there is still much that is very beautiful. Befittingly, the disc ends with the quite close to the cavatina from Anna Bolena, the final phrase spun out and floated through the air on a pure thread of glorious sound. It is for moments such as these that the art of Montserrat Caballé will most be remembered.
    "It's not enough to have a beautiful voice." Maria Callas

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  18. #25
    Senior Member Barbebleu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GregMitchell View Post


    "Come again, sweet love doth now invite," sings Barbara Bonney at the beginning of this recital, and the invitation is so beguiling that it would be hard to resist.

    What follows is just over an hour of pure delight. We start with a selection of lute songs by Dowland, Campion, Morley and Byrd, all accompanied by Jacob Heringman. Bonney's pure tone and natural, unaffected manner might suggest a lack of personality and yet she has something personal to say about each song, with a lovely smile in the voice for the quirky Away with these self-loving lads, and a deeper vein of melancholy for the famous Flow my tears which in turn is followed by a delightfully charming It was a lover and his lass.

    She is joined by the viol quartet Phantasm for Byrd's O Lord, how vain are all our frail delights, who also provide an instrumental interlude with John Jenkins's Fantasy no 3 between this and the other Byrd piece, Though Amaryllis dance in green.

    More variety is accorded when, for the Purcell items, Bonney is accompanied by The Academy of Ancient Music under Christopher Hogwood, with Andrew Manze suppling violin obligato in the lovely Plaint from The Fairy Queen, which preceded by couple of instrumental items here (two Airs from Abdelazar), is not taken too slowly for once.

    Fairest Isle, both the song and the disc it gives its name to, might possibly be considered a tribute by this American soprano to the land she has made her home, and she finishes with one of the most well known English arias in the repertoire, Dido's wonderful Lament from Dido and Aeneas. It is perhaps not so powerfully intense as versions by Dame Janet Baker and Lorraine Hunt Lieberson in their complete sets, but, taken out of context, it makes a fitting conclusion to a recital that affords nothing but pleasure.
    Thanks Greg for pointing me in the direction of the Barbara Bonney recital. It came this morning and I have to say it's an absolute delight. On the strength of this I ordered her version of the Vier Letzte Lieder. I'm hoping the Dawn Upshaw is as good as the Bonney. Cheers.
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    Senior Member Tsaraslondon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barbebleu View Post
    Thanks Greg for pointing me in the direction of the Barbara Bonney recital. It came this morning and I have to say it's an absolute delight. On the strength of this I ordered her version of the Vier Letzte Lieder. I'm hoping the Dawn Upshaw is as good as the Bonney. Cheers.
    I didn't know Barbara Bonney had recorded the Vier letzte Lieder. My first thought was that her voice would be too light, but then I remembered she had been a successful Sophie, and Popp, whose version I rather like, was a Sophie too, though, like Schwarzkopf, she did switch to the Marschallin later. I'd be interested to hear your thoughts on Bonney's Vier letzte Lieder, when you get it.

    Edited to add. I see that Bonney's version is with piano, and I must say I do rather miss the orchestra. I have a version with Welitsch singing to piano accompaniment, and I can't say it affords much pleasure. Admittedly that might have something to do with the fact that Welitsch sings at a monochrome mezzo forte throughout, and, recorded just a bit too late, the slivery sheen on her voice now sounds somewhat tarnished, but the piano accompaniments don't begin to compensate for the warmth of a full orchestra.
    Last edited by Tsaraslondon; Apr-16-2019 at 20:22.
    "It's not enough to have a beautiful voice." Maria Callas

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    Senior Member Barbebleu's Avatar
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    Darn! I was so captivated by the Fairest Isle recital I omitted to look closely at the Strauss and hadn't realised that it was piano and voice when I ordered it. C'est la vie. I dare say it will be an interesting addition to my collection.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barbebleu View Post
    Darn! I was so captivated by the Fairest Isle recital I omitted to look closely at the Strauss and hadn't realised that it was piano and voice when I ordered it. C'est la vie. I dare say it will be an interesting addition to my collection.
    Even if you don't care for the VLL with piano, the rest of the disc will make up for it.

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    Senior Member Tsaraslondon's Avatar
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    The first time I heard Maggie Teyte was when I was just starting to enjoy French song. I was learning Duparc's Chanson triste and a friend played me her recording of the song with Gerald Moore at the piano. I was absolutely entranced and it has remained my yardstick ever since. First of all the flowing tempo they adopt is aboslutely right (so many take it too slowly) and she responds perfectly to all Duparc's markings - floating the tone beautifully on the mon of mon amour (it is marked doux by Duparc) an effect I have tried, not too successfully, to emulate myself. Her high A is clear, clean and true, but she takes the lower option on the words de tes bras, dipping down into that gloriously rich lower register she had. As you listen, you feel the song is addressed to you personally and you want to just lie back in the warm embrace of her comforting words. The French christened her L'Exquise Maggie Teyte, and the adjective suits her perfectly.

    She was born in 1888 in Woverhampton, but went to Paris in 1903 to study with the famous tenor Jean De Reszke. She made her first public appearanc in 1906, singing Cherubino and Zerlina under Reynaldo Hahn, making her first professional appearance in Monte Carlo the following year. She then joined the company at the Opéra-Comique in Paris and was shortly after chosen to replace Mary Garden in the role of Mélisande, for which she was coached by Debussy himself. She is the only singer ever to have been accompanied in public by Debussy himself, and she is an invaluable link to so many musicians of the past. Despite her early success however, she didn't really establish herself with the main opera houses, and went into semi-retirement after her second marriage (to Canadian millionaire Walter Sherwin Cottingham) in 1921.

    In 1930 she tried to resuscitate her career, but ended up singing in variety and music hall (24 performances a week!) until, in 1930, she made some recordings of Debussy songs with Alfred Cortot, which were so successful that she then became known as the leading French song interpreter of her time. She also sang at Covent Garden in such roles as Butterfly, Hänsel and Eurydice in Gluck's opera, as well as Manon in English (with Heddle Nash).

    The present set concentrates on recordings of French song with orchestra and piano made between 1940 and 1948, making her 60 when she recorded Ravel's Schéhérazade, not that you would ever suspect it. The voice is still absolutely firm with no trace of wobble or excessive vibrato, top notes pure and true (a thrilling top B flat in Asie), the inimitable lower register gloriously rich.

    It starts with a rather hectic recording of Berlioz's Le spectre de la rose. The fast tempo was presumably adopted so that they could fit the song onto a single 78, but it does remind us that it is in waltz time and she brings a peculiarly intimate touch to the closing lines,which are sung with an ineffable sadness. Absence is sweetly touching.

    Occasionally her attention to the meaning of the words can get in the way of the music, and the tempo fluctuations in Fauré's Après un rêve are just too much, the general speed much too slow, but the accelerando on Reviens, reviens just too much. On the other hand the tempo for his Clair de lune is absolutely spot on with a moment of pure magic as she infuses her tone with warmth at Au calme clair de lune and Gerald Moore switches to a more free flowing style in the accompaniment.

    Over the two discs there is scarcely a performance that doesn't warrant attention, but I single out for special consideration Duparc's gorgeous Phidylé, which is lazily erotic as it should be (note her telling observation of the diminuendo on baiser - most singers miss it completely) and the aforementioned Chanson triste, the former with the LSO under Leslie Heward, the latter with Gerald Moore on the piano. Also on disc 1 is a superb performance of Chausson's Chanson perpétuelle, whilst she breathes new life into Hahn's popular Si me vers avaient des ailes.

    In all she remains inimitable and individual, though, it seems these days, only known to connoisseurs. This set is no longer available, nor are the Debussy songs she recorded with Cortot. John Steane says in his wonderful book The Grand Tradition,

    But basically the point about Maggie Teyte is the very simple one, that her singing is so good: that is, her voice is so clear, its production so even, its intonation so faultless, its movement in big upward leaps so clean and athletic, and its excellence was so well preserved for so long.
    Not only is her actual singing so good, but she has something personal to say in all she does, and voice and style are instantly recognisable.

    There are other examples of her art more readily available on other lablels but this old EMI set is a treasure and I urge Warner to reissue it along with the Debussy songs with Cortot. It should be in the collection of anyone who is interested in French song.
    Last edited by Tsaraslondon; Apr-19-2019 at 11:50.
    "It's not enough to have a beautiful voice." Maria Callas

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    Senior Member Tsaraslondon's Avatar
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    I’m going to stick my neck out and say that this is the best recital record Callas ever recorded, and by default one of the classic recital discs of all time. The 1954 Puccini disc and "Lyric and Coloratura" find her in better voice, but this one sums up more than any other her greatness, her ability to bring alive music that can seem formulaic, and even plain dull in the hands of lesser artists.

    I know I’ve said this elsewhere, but her singing has an improvisatory air about it, almost as if she is extemporising on the spot; how she achieves this whilst closely adhering to what is on the printed page is a mystery beyond solving. In the Anna Bolena finale, the recitative alone provides a lesson in how to bind together disparate thoughts and ideas. She brilliantly conveys Anna’s drifting mental state, whilst still making musical sense of the phrases and the long line. We can only imagine what she might have achieved in Monteverdi’s recitativo cantavo.

    Once into the first aria, Al dolce guidami, her voice takes on a disembodied sound, as if the singing is coming from the far recesses of her soul. Her legato is as usual superb, her breath control stupendous, those final melismas spun out to the most heavenly lengths. In the cabaletta Coppia iniqua, her voice takes on a majestic power, and she manages the oft emotted rising set of trills with more force than anyone.

    In the magnificent Final Scene from Il Pirata, she traces a long Bellinian line second to none; spinning out the delicate tracery of the decorations from Digli ah digli che respiri onwards with magical fluency. A complete contrast is afforded when she rears back with the words Qual suono ferale, before launching into the thrillingly exciting cabaletta.

    Ophelia’s scene from Hamlet is quite different. There is no formal recitative, aria, recitative, cabaletta construction. The scene is more a series of arioso segments interspersed with recitative and can often sound disjointed as a result. Callas binds together its disparate elements with masterly ease. Her voice is lighter here than in either the Bellini or Donizetti, and though the very upper reaches tax her somewhat, she sings with delicacy and consummate skill. The switch from Italian to French causes her no problems at all, her enunciation of the French text admirably clear. Yet again every fleeting expression, every change of thought is mirrored in her voice.

    A listening companion of the eminent vocal critic John Steane once said to him regarding Callas, “Of course you had to see her,” to which he replied, “Oh, but I can, and I do.” This was her genius, amply displayed in this recital; the ability to make us see as well as hear.
    "It's not enough to have a beautiful voice." Maria Callas

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