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Subject: Lieder - A dying art?
From: Bob Rideout <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 12 Mar 1996 10:57:31 -0500
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Hello everybody -

Lieder is my first love and I turn far more often to my "song" CDs
than to opera.  A big bravo to JAC and brava to Nuala for their
excellent posts on what may be wrong with some of our attitudes rather
than what may be wrong with lieder.  I posted recently about a
recital given here in New York by the much maligned Vladimir Chernov
and I was pretty high in my opinion of both his performance as a
singer and his very informal manner.  I could see that some members
of the audience were very much put off by his comments between some
of the songs, and seemed quite uncomfortable with his moving around
and especially his arm and hand gestures.  I found it all quite
refreshing.  At one point, (Sorry, I told it before, but it bears
repeating) he announced that he and God had had a talk about the
wisdom of his performing "Die Allmacht" and that he was going to take
God's advice, which was not to sing it.  I could see people bristling
at that kind of "familiarity".  I thought "this is good".  At least
the man is alive.

The truth is that this art form in live performance has been dying
since the late forties.  Every college and university in this country
(exaggeration) used to have a concert series in which big names would
appear on a regular basis.  This all changed in the fifties; for what-
ever reason, the market dried up. TV? LP?  The Hunter College series
here in New York lasted much longer, but finally even the Big Apple
could not sustain such a season.  And that was at a time when singers
could still sing :-) ;-)

Maybe the innovators and iconoclasts are onto something and will help
to create new audiences for the "art song". Change for change sake is
never a good thing, but evolution based on good instincts is usually
a fine thing.  Perhaps some of us have to catch up.

Cheers!  Bobolink

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