Friday, January 27, 2017

Mozart with André Gide

It's almost impossible to say that one time is more apt for another for listening to Mozart. But he may be especially welcome in times of uncertainty, such is the clarity of his music. In his operas, of course, his compassion for and insight into the human condition is on full display. In this week of his birthday, though, I've been listening to K. 537. I was led to it by André Gide, whose journals I've been reading. In the summer of 1940, he found himself possessed by "constant, latent sadness," but never slowed his intellectual or emotional engagement with the world around him. And in listening to Mozart, Gide wrote this:

J'ai le coeur tout remis en place et regonflé par l'admirable Concerto en ré majeur de Mozart admirablement interprété par Wanda Landowska, dont la radio vient de me permettre d'entendre l'enregistrement. Force et bonté, grâce, esprit et tendresse, rien ne manque à cette oeuvre (que je reconnais note à note), non plus qu'au jeu parfait de l'artiste, qu'un de mes regrets sera de n'avoir pas plus souvent entendue."

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

In the Stream of Life: Gerald Finley sings Sibelius

I took up this CD with great eagerness, and I was still surprised by how good it is. Gerald Finley's new disc presents orchestrations of Sibelius' songs, focusing on a cycle of seven, In the Stream of Life, compiled from Sibelius' extensive song compositions, and orchestrated by none other than Einojuhani Rautavaara. That Finley's musicianship was superb throughout is hardly something that needs saying, but it is something that deserves emphasis. In a historical moment when, with some justice, sensationalist marketing strategies of opera singers are deplored, it is refreshing as well as exciting to be drawn in by Finley's unfussy, utterly mesmerizing singing. Especially in these gray winter days, it makes addictive listening.

Friday, January 20, 2017

New Year's Resolutions (the Opera Obsession edition)

In place of my usual end-of-year round-up, I decided to declare New Year's Resolutions for this blog. That I'm only finalizing them now is indicative of how many things I'm juggling at the moment. I'm still in professional limbo and far from an opera house (alas!) Still, I enjoy this space and the discussions it starts, so here, Gentle Readers, are my resolutions, as an opera blogger without an opera house in 2017.

1.  Continued CD reviews. Keeping up with new opera and recital releases is always a worthy resolve, I think... and it opens space for delightful discussions.

2. More Semi-Scholarly Summaries. I have long pondered how I can best blend my experience in doing historical research, and my obsession with opera. This kind of post seems like a good start.

3. Reading Roundups, in part because I don't read other opera blogs as regularly as I would like. I'd like to both read and share more thoughtful writing in the new year.

4. MetOnDemand Misc. Thanks to the generosity of the Beloved Flatmate (emerita) I have a MetOnDemand subscription! As I explore the service's impressive offerings, I plan to share highlights and possible reflections on the form of delivery.

5. Live events when possible... I have a ticket to an upcoming Kate Aldrich recital, so my year in music will be off to a good start.


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