Archive for May, 2011

Welcome Back, and a Call for Articles

May 12, 2011
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Thank you for joining our us for our sixth issue! Many of you out there are coming to the end of your academic year. If you have written pieces that you think would be appropriate for this publication (or if you suddenly have time on your hands!) be in touch through the contact page. We would love to bring your writing to our large audience.

For next month we are working on an article about the seismic economic/structural shift taking place in the classical music business, and another piece covering the use of social media in a classical musician’s career. We’ll also bring you more reviews, videos, and blog posts.

We hope you enjoy this month’s articles and youtube videos. As always, please spread the word!

~Ian


Guiding Handel’s Legacy: An Interview with Handel House Museum Director Sarah Bardwell

May 12, 2011
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During my trip to England this past April, I had the privilege of sitting down with Sarah Bardwell, director of the Handel House Museum in London. We chatted a bit about Handel the man and Handel the musician, and the joys and challenges of bringing his legacy to a new generation.

Read the entire interview to learn a great deal about this wonderful museum and the man whose legacy it seeks to preserve.

Read more…


L’Arpeggiata, Monteverdi Vespro della Beata Vergine – 1610: A Review

May 12, 2011
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If you don’t know about L’Arpeggiata, it is time for you to catch up. Austrian Christina Pluhar – continuo mistress extraordinaire – with her signature flowing ironed-straight red hair and child-like short bangs framing her porcelain face is the portrait of chic, euro-femininity. A huge fan of her work, I waited in suspense to hear her take on the 1610 Vespers, even though I had spent the better part of 2010 (the work’s 400th anniversary year) listening to it on record and from the pews of chapels large and small.

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Watch This Now! Bejun Mehta Sings Handel

May 12, 2011
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httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iI2Qv68p-X8

He was despised, the often ten minute plus scena from Handel’s Messiah, is a particularly challenging aria for countertenors to deliver well. The tessitura (it was originally written for Ms. Cibber, a singer reported to have had a very broadway-esque limited range) sits low, and the text asks for a dramatic declamation and cutting tone. Listen to the way that American countertenor Bejun Mehta is able to sing on an efficiently produced partial length of vocal fold (his head voice) all the way down to A3 (the aria is in the dark key of Eb, but here is performed down a half-step at A4=415). This is a great illustration of my description of a countertenor’s lower alto range from my previous post on countertenor technique.


Watch This Now! David Hansen Sings Vivaldi

May 12, 2011
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httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AaBK-9rdfMM
Longe mala by Antonio Vivaldi, sung by Australian countertenor David Hansen. While there are some minor balance issues in this recording (I blame the microphone placement, not the performers!), I love the way that Mr. Hansen OWNS the opening cadenza. Listen carefully to the way that he keeps his voice engaged while backing off on air pressure as the line ascends. This optimal approach allows the vibrating portion of his vocal folds to shorten between E5 and F#5, allowing for a beautiful and easy sounding A5! This is a great illustration of the description of how countertenors can navigate their upper range from my previous post on countertenor technique.