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Subject: Re: Our Customs in Lieder Recitals
From: Mike Richter <[log in to unmask]>
Date:Tue, 12 Mar 1996 17:29:15 PST

text/plain (26 lines)

Okay, I'm a purist - but let me offer some thoughts on Jane's thoughtful and
constructive post.

I believe I suggested before that there are natural expressions of body and
face that come across from even the most formal artists. The smile at the end
of Erlkoenig is typical; a look of concern is almost inevitable as the
hallucinations appear. But she who draws her hand toward her to observe the
ring on her finger is dramatizing visually what is entirely contained in text
and music. The music would be ill-served by such treatment, which seems to be
an analogue of the performance Ms. Upshaw gave.

The point made about how one performs Kindertotenlieder is clearly apt. Any
sort of physical representation of "Ich hab' ein gluehend Messer" would be as
great a distortion of the song as singing it without expression. I trust that
the artists would find an appropriate balance; guidelines can be found by
watching the great artists of today and of the past in recital and on film or

A side point: In earlier times, the singer would carry the text on stage in a
little book. Fortunately, that practice has disappeared (?), but picture the
restraint that having the book would impose. Clearly, one could not animate
the story without creating a parody.

Mike Richter
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