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Thread: What vocal music have you been listening to, lately?

          
   
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  1. #751
    Opera Lively News Coordinator Top Contributor Member MAuer's Avatar
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    Speaking of which . . .



    Conductor/orchestra: Sir Thomas Beecham, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorus
    Soloists: Jennifer Vivyen, Monica Sinclair, Jon Vickers, Giorgio Tozzi

    This arrived much sooner than originally estimated. The recording is a remastered version of a 1959 monaural original, and while those who want a historically informed interpretation probably wouldn't enjoy it, I'm glad I purchased it. Sir Thomas leads a very grand account by his Royal Philharmonic forces in an arrangement orchestrated by Eugene Goossens, who had once been his assistant. It's not noticeably strange-sounding (if it were, I wouldn't like it). The soloists are excellent. I really like Vickers here, even though he's not at all my cup of tea in the German Romantic operas. Among the recordings I have of Messiah, this one and Sir Malcolm Sargent's with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic/Huddersfield Choral Society are my two favorites.

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    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
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    A library loan. Pretty good too. Really haven't delved into this kind of music before.
    "Ah,non credea mirarti si presto estinto, o fiore." --Bellini, La Sonnambula (also written on his tomb).

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    Opera Lively Moderator Top Contributor Member Soave_Fanciulla's Avatar
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    Delphine Galou is billed in this CD as a contralto but she isn't one - her lower notes are her least appealing ones. Once I got over feeling grumpy about this (i ADORE true contraltos), I quite enjoyed this, although the best aria is the first one.

    Natalie

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  7. #754
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Soave_Fanciulla View Post
    Delphine Galou is billed in this CD as a contralto but she isn't one - her lower notes are her least appealing ones. Once I got over feeling grumpy about this (i ADORE true contraltos), I quite enjoyed this, although the best aria is the first one.
    Here is one for you:
    "Ah,non credea mirarti si presto estinto, o fiore." --Bellini, La Sonnambula (also written on his tomb).

  8. #755
    Opera Lively News Coordinator Top Contributor Member MAuer's Avatar
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    Now that it's November, I've started listening to my assortment of Messiah recordings again.



    Conductor: Sir Malcolm Sargent
    Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra; Huddersfield Choral Society
    Elsie Morison (soprano), Marjorie Thomas (contralto), Richard Lewis (tenor), James Milligan (bass)

    For me, this one is still the standard.

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  10. #756
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAuer View Post
    Now that it's November, I've started listening to my assortment of Messiah recordings again.



    Conductor: Sir Malcolm Sargent
    Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra; Huddersfield Choral Society
    Elsie Morison (soprano), Marjorie Thomas (contralto), Richard Lewis (tenor), James Milligan (bass)

    For me, this one is still the standard.
    I have to check that one out because it has a contralto!
    "Ah,non credea mirarti si presto estinto, o fiore." --Bellini, La Sonnambula (also written on his tomb).

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    Opera Lively News Coordinator Top Contributor Member MAuer's Avatar
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    Listened to Sir Thomas Beecham's version again, and this time noticed Goosens' fiddling with the instrumentation more than I did at first. His touches seem to be in the grand Victorian/Edwardian style, and -- I must admit -- not really appropriate for a Baroque composition. On the other hand, the soloists are wonderful, there's no embellishment of the vocal line, and the bass sings "But who may abide the day of his coming." This is still my second choice right after the Sargent.

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    Sir Neville Marriner
    Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields and Chorus
    Elly Ameling (soprano), Anna Reynolds (contralto), Philip Langridge (tenor), Gwynne Howell (bass)

    This one’s a little unusual, apparently being the version from the first London performance in March, 1743. The soloists are excellent; only wish Gwynne Howell could have sung “But who may abide the day of his coming.” Nothing against Anna Reynolds; just seems strange to have the recitative sung by the bass, and the aria that follows it by the contralto.

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    Sir Georg Solti; Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus
    Kiri Te Kanawa (soprano), Anne Gjevang (contralto), Keith Lewis (tenor), Gwynne Howell (bass)

    Gwynne Howell is the bass soloist here, too -- and he still doesn't get to sing that aria!

  15. #760
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAuer View Post

    Sir Georg Solti; Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus
    Kiri Te Kanawa (soprano), Anne Gjevang (contralto), Keith Lewis (tenor), Gwynne Howell (bass)

    Gwynne Howell is the bass soloist here, too -- and he still doesn't get to sing that aria!
    That is my favorite Messiah and I love hearing Anne Gjevang sing "But Who May Abide." If fact, Anne is a major reason I bought this set.
    "Ah,non credea mirarti si presto estinto, o fiore." --Bellini, La Sonnambula (also written on his tomb).

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  17. #761
    Opera Lively News Coordinator Top Contributor Member MAuer's Avatar
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    De gustibus . . .

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    Richard Westenburg; Musica Sacra Orchestra and Chorus
    Judith Blegen (soprano), Katherine Ciesinski (mezzo soprano), John Aler (tenor), John Cheek (bass)

    Another excellent group of soloists, and the bass sings that aria. But there is extensive use of ornamentation here, which some folks may like but which just isn't my cuppa. Less really would have been more. Years ago, I gave away my copy of Bonynge's Messiah recording for this reason, even though one of my favorite tenors, Werner Krenn, was among the soloists. (Didn't help that the bass wasn't given that first aria to sing.)

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  21. #763
    Senior Member Top Contributor Member Florestan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAuer View Post
    Richard Westenburg; Musica Sacra Orchestra and Chorus
    Judith Blegen (soprano), Katherine Ciesinski (mezzo soprano), John Aler (tenor), John Cheek (bass)

    Another excellent group of soloists, and the bass sings that aria. But there is extensive use of ornamentation here, which some folks may like but which just isn't my cuppa. Less really would have been more. Years ago, I gave away my copy of Bonynge's Messiah recording for this reason, even though one of my favorite tenors, Werner Krenn, was among the soloists. (Didn't help that the bass wasn't given that first aria to sing.)
    A fine Messiah set. This was my very first ever Messiah, purchased on vinyl back in the early 1980s. I later got a copy of this on CD, but like you, I now find the excessive ornamentation over done and so rarely listen to it any more.
    "Ah,non credea mirarti si presto estinto, o fiore." --Bellini, La Sonnambula (also written on his tomb).

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    Sir Colin Davis; London Symphony Orchestra and Chorus
    Heather Harper (soprano), Helen Watts (contralto), John Wakefield (tenor), John Shirley-Quirk (bass)

    Overall, this is a fine recording (even if the bass doesn't get to sing the first aria). There is some use of ornamentation, but it's much more restrained than in the Westenburg and Bonynge versions.

    About 45 years ago, I saved up my pennies and purchased the vocal score to Messiah (which I still have). The publisher was G. Schirmer, New York, with T. Tertius Noble (how's that for a name?) as the editor. According to the cover, this version had been "revised according to Handel's original score by Max Spicker." Although my copy was printed in the early '70s, the copyright of the publication dates to 1912. There are some introductory remarks by Mr. Spicker (also dated to 1912) explaining his approach to the score. His comments regarding interpretation and historic models are about 180 degrees from today's historic performance practice. That's not saying either is right or wrong; it's just interesting to see how much ideas have changed over the course of a century.

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  24. #765
    Opera Lively Media Consultant Top Contributor Member Ann Lander (sospiro)'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MAuer View Post
    This one’s a little unusual, apparently being the version from the first London performance in March, 1743. The soloists are excellent; only wish Gwynne Howell could have sung “But who may abide the day of his coming.” Nothing against Anna Reynolds; just seems strange to have the recitative sung by the bass, and the aria that follows it by the contralto.
    I didn't realise that "But who may abide the day of his coming" was sometimes sung by a bass. I've got a libretto stored on my PC and can't remember where it came from but next to the text it says Alto or soprano so it doesn't look as though the voice type is set in stone.
    " … if you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it at full speed ahead. Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it, and above all become passionate about it."
    Roald Dahl

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