Thursday, May 30, 2013

A Revolutionary Recital in Salzburg, 1986

Something completely off topic:

As David Shengold in Opera News reviews this new release of an old recital notes, it seems strange, even to me after years of listening to recitals by Frederica von Stade (and even attending a few) that this program of French chansons, Strauss and Mahler, and some American composers was unusual in Salzburg during the 1986 season:

Frederica von Stade's protean approach to music has opened doors (and set standards) for Susanne Mentzer, Susan Graham, Joyce DiDonato and other lyric mezzos who have followed. On August 18, 1986, after more than a dozen years of stardom — largely in Mozart and Rossini, but with triumphs to her name in Monteverdi, Berlioz, Massenet and Richard Strauss in Europe and North America — she gave a solo recital at Salzburg's prestigious if acoustically demanding Grosses Festspielhaus. Orfeo now releases the happy results in its welcome series of live Salzburg Liederabenden.

Von Stade collaborated with longtime accompanist Martin Katz on a program whose diversity apparently raised eyebrows among the more tradition-bound Festival patrons. Yet the applause is generous. From our perspective today, the program doesn't seem all that revolutionary — Lieder eines Fahrenden Gesellen, groups of Fauré and Strauss, American songs by Copland, Ives and Pasatieri, three Brettl-Lieder, plus a quartet of sunny Canteloube songs, quite delightfully done, and encores by Poulenc and Offenbach. But a quarter-century ago, many recital audiences largely expected Schubert, Schumann and Brahms. Von Stade is in very good estate here, demonstrating a fine balance between the strengths of her youthful and mature vocal personae. Katz is an alert and supportive partner, his sound steady if sometimes a mite foursquare.

Von Stade kept many of these songs in her recital repertoire for years--we heard her Strauss, Faure, Canteloube, and more Poulenc at Johnson County Community College in Kansas City, Kansas years ago.

Composers/Works: (No texts or translations)

G. Fauré: Les roses d'Ispahan
G. Fauré: Mandoline
G. Fauré: Au cimetière
G. Fauré: La Rose
R. Strauss: Rote Rosen
R. Strauss: Die erwachte Rose
R. Strauss: Begegnung
G. Mahler: Wenn mein Schatz Hochzeit macht (aus: Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen)
G. Mahler: Ging heut' morgen übers Feld (aus: Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen)
G. Mahler: Ich hab' ein glühend Messer (aus: Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen)
G. Mahler: Die zwei blauen Augen (aus: Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen)
A. Copland: Why do they shut me out of Heaven?
Ch. Ives: Serenity (A unison chant, 1919)
Ch. Ives: Memories (Very Pleasant, Rather Sad)
Th. Pasatieri: Vocal Modesty
M.-J. Canteloube: Auprès de ma blonde (Ronde d'Ile de France)
M.-J. Canteloube: Où irai-je me plaindre? (Chant de Haut-Dauphiné)
M.-J. Canteloube: Au près de la Rose (Ronde d'Albret et Gascogne)
M.-J. Canteloube: D'où venez-vous, fillette? (Chant de Provence)
A. Schönberg: Galathea (aus: Brettl-Lieder)
A. Schönberg: Gigerlette (aus: Brettl-Lieder)
A. Schönberg: Arie aus dem Spiegel von Arkadien (aus: Brettl-Lieder)
F. Poulenc: Fêtes galantes
J. Offenbach: Ah! quel dîner je viens de faire (Schwipslied - aus: La Perichole)

One of my favorites in the collection is Faure's Mandoline set to verse by Verlaine:

Les donneurs de sérénades
Et les belles écouteuses
Échangent des propos fades
Sous les ramures chanteuses.

C'est Tircis et c'est Aminte,
Et c'est l'éternel Clitandre,
Et c'est Damis qui pour mainte
Cruelle maint [fait] vers tendre.

Leurs courtes vestes de soie,
Leurs longues robes à queues,
Leur élégance, leur joie
Et leurs molles ombres bleues,

Tourbillonent dans l'extase
D'une lune rose et grise,
Et la mandoline jase
Parmi les frissons de brise.

If you want to hear Frederica von Stade's voice ten years earlier in a live recital, there is a CD of one in Edinburgh with Martin Isepp as accompanist. Mahler, Ives, Poulenc, and Offenbach are on the program there too:

--Cachez beaux yeux ; L'amour de moy ; Le célèbre menuet / Arne Dorumsgaard
--Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen: Wenn mein Schatz Hochzeit macht ; Ging heut' morgens übers Feld ; Ich hab' ein glühend Messer ; Die zwei blauen Augen / Gustav Mahler
--Ann Street ; Two little flowers ; The side show ; Memories ; Tom sails away / Charles E. Ives
--A sa guitare ; Chansons villageoises: Les gars qui vont à la fête ; Banalités: Hôtel ; Le portrait ; Deux poèmes: Fêtes galantes / Francis Poulenc
--Folksong arrangements: O Waly, Waly ; Come you not from Newcastle; Oliver Cromwell / Benjamin Britten
--La perichole: Ah, quel diner! / Jacques Offenbach
--Jenny Rebecca / Carol Hall

Many of von Stade's CBS Masterworks LPs have been reissued on CD by Archiv Music, including her first CBS Song Recital, but they have not released her Live! Recital with arie antiche by Vivaldi, Durante, Scarlatti, Marcello, and Rossini--plus a repeat of the Copland song on this new disc, Virgil Thomson's "Prayer to St. Catherine" and two songs composed by Richard Hundley. Her performance of "Come Ready to See Me" by Richard Hundley is wonderfully evocative.

I agree with her boilerplate bio's comments about her recitals:

A respected recitalist, Miss von Stade combines her expressive vocalism and keen musicianship with a gift for communication engaging audiences throughout the world. Here too, her repertoire encompasses an expansive range, from the Italian "Arie antiche" to the songs of contemporary composers such as Dominick Argento, who compose specifically for her, from the classical style of Mozart and Haydn to the music of Broadway's greatest songs.

I hope that Archiv Music do release the Live! disc simply because it has some unique repertoire! (And while they're at it, her recording of Raymond Leppard's version of Claudio Monteverdi's Il Ritorno d'Ulisse in Patria with Richard Stilwell cries out for re-release, too).

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