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Subject: Re: "Eugene Onegin" question
From: donald kane <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:donald kane <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Wed, 17 Jan 2018 12:01:17 -0500
Content-Type:text/plain
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text/plain (119 lines)


The "Gigli Werther" I referred to the other day, was a mere tidbit from the
works of Massenet, and sung in Italian as "Ah non mi ridestar", but -
speaking of gooseflesh - I have to say that it is the tenor, in his mid
fifties, who arouses it, no matter how unstylishly; (recorded in 1946
during an extraordinarily productive Abbey Road session).

It is true that we need not deny ourselves anything these days;
all is "within arms reach" as Paul says, but unfortunately, the
older one gets the more  "Ars longa, vita brevis" seems to apply.
I reserve the privilege of declaring that I have found all jewels not
to be of equal value.

dtmk


On Wed, Jan 17, 2018 at 10:53 AM, G. Paul Padillo <[log in to unmask]>
wrote:

> While you may prefer Tchaikovsky – and many do – that in no way
> dismisses Massenet’s greatness.  Comparing them is, at least to my an
> exercise in futility.  Neither composer had the gifts, temperament or style
> of the other.  It’s not dissimilar to comparing Bach to Mozart and deciding
> one is better than the other – it’s purely a subjective thing.   I’d take
> Bach
> over Mozart every time, but the preference is purely mine, and I’m glad to
> be well acquainted with both.
>
> “Maid of Orleans” really is (in my estimation) one of Tchaikovsky’s
> greatest
> operatic scores and it’s sad that, owing mostly to a libretto that’s a bit
> unwieldy, it is so seldom heard.  There are many operas filled with
> magnificent music that suffer from fate of a poor libretto that still get
> revived, and I’m hoping “Maid” eventually makes it into that category.
> Just
> the mention of his Sixth Symphony gives me gooseflesh.
>
> For many Massenet is an acquired taste but he presents us with more
> musical meat and muscle than he’s often given credit for and I groan
> whenever I read how his operas are “too heavily perfumed.”  As a boy
> hearing “Werther” for the first time I declared him “The French Puccini,”
> and I still feel that way.  There are any number of works I’d like to see
> revived, and certain ones, like “Le jongleur de Notre-Dame” have been too
> noticeably missing from the Met or other company’s who specialize
> in “spectacle.”  I am thrilled The Met is finally getting around to
> mounting “Cendrillon” which tends to be a hit wherever she goes.  I still
> hold fond memories of the Frederica von Stade in Henry Bardon’s beautiful
> production for Washington later brought (by Beverly Sills) to the New York
> City Opera for Faith Esham.  The NYCO revival made it into Time Magazine
> as it was the first opera in the U.S. to feature “surtitles” or
> “supertitles”
> which now are everywhere.
>
> I’m happy to be alive in a time where, no matter how remote we may feel,
> we’re able enjoy everything from Hildegard von Bingen to Harrison
> Birtwistle, all within arms reach.
>
> p.
>
> * * * * *
>
> Mr. Kane wrote:
>
> “The time comes, after decades of enjoying music, when one is allowed to
> sit back and draw conclusions. I've heard my share of Massenet operas,
> and was often impressed by a scene here, an aria there:  Beverley Sills
> seductive Manon "live'; Gigli's melting Werther, and the sweeping duet
> from THAIS, with Kirsten and Merrill on disc; Joan Sutherland resuscitating
> a forgotten, unrevivable ESCLARMONDE; but it adds up to very little
> compared with the melodic wealth that poured from Tshaikowsky's pen, no
> matter what form he was drawn to. This can't be dismissed as an example of
> musical sweet tooth;  those tunes are meaningful..  Tschaikowsky painted,
> Massenet did
> coloring books.
>
> There was once a fully staged performance of MAID OF ORLEANS at the Met in
> Lincoln Center, from a visiting company; it was enthralling.  But the truth
> is this; few operatic or concert experiences have ever given me the deep,
> satisfaction of a performance
> matter what form he was drawn to. This can't be dismissed as an example of
> m
> of musical sweet tooth;  those tunes are meaningful..  Tschaikowsky pain
> painted, Massenet did
> coloring books.
>
> There was once a fully staged performance of MAID OF ORLEANS at the M
> Met in Lincoln Center, from a visiting company; it was enthralling.  But
> the t
> truth is this; few operatic or concert experiences have ever given me the d
> deep,
> satisfaction of a performance - at home or abroad - of the "Pathetique"
> Symphony.  No theatrics, no stage needed, just the purity of music that
> goes as far as music can go.”
>
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