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Subject: Re: Transpositions
From: Bob Rideout <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:Bob Rideout <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Mon, 20 Mar 2017 15:49:34 -0400
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Wow! I am probably the least likely person to defend Renata Tebaldi,
but, hold on - she "never had high notes". Nothing could be further from
the truth, unless you consider high notes to be Db and above.
 Tebaldi had a tendency to sing below the pitch, even as early as her
"Forza" studio recording, which I think was in 1954.

But, listen to her Tosca from the Met in 1956 with Tucker and Warren.
She sings one of the greatest performances I've ever heard, with four,
count em, flawless top Cs! I attended a Butterfly at the Met during the
60-61 season that was jaw dropping from top to bottom.

Intonation was an issue much of the time, but when she was good she
was beyond very, very good. Her tops were "undependable" but when
they worked they were very secure and very resonant.

I doubt, though, that she sang Matilde's tricky stuff. Cerquetti certainly
did not, and those passages were omitted as a matter of course in the
decades preceding and after WWII. Les is not entirely wrong.

Bob

On Monday, March 20, 2017, R PRADA <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> In the lovely days of yore orchestras transposed at sight because their
> were well trained in transposition.
>
> When a composer writes for singers, his music will be best displayed when
> the key chosen suits the singer so that he may do his best work.
>
> Tebaldi never had high notes, so we know that her voice sat lower. The
> fact that she could sing agility in a lower key does not suggest she was
> any less for it.
>
> There was at one period a mania for singing come scritto is not meant in
> my opinion to mean that key changes are not possible.
>
> Any composer who valued his key relationships more than his singers would
> have cast carefully. Changes in key might have been seen more in reprises
> of the work.
>
> Orchestral musicians are not well trained in transposition these days, so
> if anyone wants to transpose anything outside the transpositions that
> orchestras have on hand would have to pay a copyist some serious bucks to
> write out orchestral parts in the preferred key. The singer would then have
> the transpositions in his possession.
>
> When a transposition is used. A few measures of bridge are composed on
> either end of the transposed piece, to allow the ensemble to move
> gracefully to other sections of the work done in the normal course of the
> work.
>
> By the way this is done in musical theater all the time. And of course
> there is now the same set of obstacles in the more lax training of
> musicians.
>
> A friend of mine had lower keys for female parts in Les Nuits D'Ete. She
> sounded lovely in the songs.
> Having read a bio of Berlioz, I know that he happily transposed for
> singers. He wanted his music performed, and well.
>
> Singers learn who they are, and how to create circumstances for them to be
> shown at their best advantage.
>
> It is not cheating to transpose but it has become damned expensive, sadly.
>
> RP
>
> Sent from my iPhone
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