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Subject: Re: Gerard Souzay (was: Upcoming Special Vocal Programs on WHRB)
From: Donald <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Donald <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Wed, 3 Dec 2008 19:41:26 -0500
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The DG Debussy album was always one of my favorites also, as well as the
Poulenc "blue" album.  But then, I liked most of his recordings, especially
from the middle of his career. You may enjoy listening to him speak at:

http://collup.com/Perfect/perfect.html

Donald


On 12/3/08 6:17 PM, "Maxwell Paley" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> I've always had a strong (I would almost say visceral but that doesn't
> do justice to the poignancy) reaction to Souzay's singing.  There's
> something very immediate, heart-on-the-sleeve and, to me at least,
> intensely erotic about his sound and style, at least up into the 1970's.
> 
> When I was at the SF Conservatory, I asked Leopold Simoneau what he
> thought about Souzay.  He felt that he was a very great artist but
> that he "often got lost" vocally.  Indeed, his singing isn't always
> smooth and consistent - high notes sometimes brilliant, sometimes
> labored and certain notes that would seem to be in the easy part of
> his voice could come out constricted, as though he had a knot in his
> throat.
> 
> But he always sounded like he was thinking, there and then
> spontaneously, what he was singing.  Not that he had "prepared" it but
> that he thought and felt it. and not just that he felt and
> communicated what he was singing but that he threw new and unusual
> lighting effects on familiar music, not distorting it but making it
> magical.  I love the DGG record of Debussy songs he made in the early
> 60's in which, among other marvelous things, he was the first man I
> ever heard sing the first set of "Fetes Galantes" and doing it in a
> way that didn't sound inappropriate, effeminate or clumsy.
> 
> I also love his various recordings of the Debussy "Trois Ballades de
> Francois Villon" and, nice as his younger voice was, in this case I
> actually prefer his more mature version on French Pathe from the early
> 70's.  Same with the Ravel "Don Quichotte" songs - the orchestral
> version done in the early 50's is lovely, but I like the one he did
> with Dalton Baldwin in the late 60's for Philips even better.
> 
> A propos of the program here and "Dichterliebe" in particular, I think
> he held his own against the formidable DFD as an intepreter of German
> Lied and, for my taste, surpassed the great German when it came to
> those songs that needed candlelight.   I've heard this Cortot
> "Dichterliebe" and it's worth hearing, but so also is his later studio
> recording with Baldwin and, the same vein, I find his to be the most
> hauntingly beautiful recording of the Op. 39 "Liederkreis."    I've
> seen critical dismissal of his early 50's London LP of Wolf Lieder
> but, again, I hear such freshness and ear-catching lifts to otherwise
> familiar phrases in songs like "Fussreise" and "Der Gärtner" that I
> would feel much poorer without them.
> 
> I don't know much about him as a person other than that he was gay
> that he and Baldwin were longtime lovers.  Someone, and I can't
> remember who (it wasn't Simoneau), told me that while he could be
> charming and funny he could also exude a dark quality that could
> almost literally quench the light in the room even with a group of
> people there.
> 
> Max
> 
> On Dec 3, 2008, at 2:37 PM, Jerry Waldman wrote:
> 
>> For lovers of great singing two extraordinary upcoming programs on
>> WHRB. WHRB, one of the last remaining classical radio stations which
>> has tributes to great singers from the past, will be having two
>> wonderful vocal programs during the month of December dedicated to
>> great singers of the past, Gerard Souzay and Richard Tauber.  For
>> those who live in the  Boston/Cambridge area one can tune into WHRB,
>> 95.3 FM, or for those outside of the radio listening  radius, one
>> can listen via the internet at (WHRB.ORG).
>> 
>> 
>> 1) Monday, December 8, 8:30 - 10:00 P.M.
>> 90th Birthday Tribute to the great lyric baritone, Gérard Souzay
>> (born, Dec. 8, 1918 - died, August 17, 2004):
>> Various: Arie antiche; Baldwin (Lumen LP - Claves)
>> Schumann: Dichterliebe, Op. 48; Cortot
>> Liszt: songs; Baldwin (Ducretet-Thompson LP - Claves)
>> 
>> This recording of Schumann Dichterliebe is one of the all time
>> classic recordings of this beloved song cycle from a live
>> performance in 1954 with Gerard Souzay and Alfred Cortot.
> 
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