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Everything posted by Vespasiano

  1. Happy Birthday to Vespasiano

    Thank you, Alann and JohnRgt! I especially enjoyed the glorious sounds of Mme. Tebaldi . . . always a welcome bit of magnificence!
  2. Happy Birthday to Vespasiano

    Thank-you so much, Betsy!! I plan to spend the day surrounded by as much BEAUTY as possible!!
  3. Remembering Stephen

    Although we never met in person and our communications were limited to on-line exchanges here at The Forum, nonetheless for me, Stephen Speicher was the embodiment of the word "benevolent". Jean Sibelius' brief but beautiful song, "Var det en dröm" (Was It a Dream), is one of my favorites both in terms of music and its text by Josef Julius Wecksell. This performance of it by the great Swedish tenor, Jussi Björling, is one of the most vocally opulent I've ever encountered. I think Stephen would have enjoyed it as well. To Stephen!
  4. Remembering Stephen

    Betsy: The Sibelius song was as much in the nature of a remembrance of Stephen as it is a thank-you to you!
  5. Remembering Stephen

    "Was it a dream that once, in a wonderful time, I was your heart's true love? I remember it as a song fallen silent, of which the strains still echo. "I remember a rose you tossed, a glance so shy and tender; I remember a sparkling tear when we parted. Was it all, all a dream? "A dream as brief as the life of a cowslip in a green meadow in springtime, whose beauty soon withers away before a crowd of new flowers. "But many a night I hear a voice through the flood of my bitter tears: hide this memory deep in your heart, it was your best dream!"
  6. Remembering Stephen

  7. Happy Birthday to Vespasiano

    Thanks so much, Betsy! I have been having a fantastic day and plan on carrying it through to next year and beyond!
  8. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

    A belated but heartfelt Merry Christmas to one and all on The Forum! May the New Year be joyous and productive.
  9. Happy Birthday to Nicolaus Nemeth

    A very happy, if belated, Birthday to you Nicolaus!!
  10. Happy Thanksgiving 2011

    And a very happy Thanksgiving to you, Betsy, and to everyone on The Forum!
  11. As a companion piece to the concert featuring opera greats Dame Joan Sutherland and Marilyn Horne, here is yet another historic evening from 1979 (January) in which Dame Joan is joined by yet another of her frequent colleagues, Luciano Pavarotti. Again, Sir Richard Bonynge conducts the New York Philharmonic. The general audience pandemonium these great singers (including the fabulous Miss Horne in the October concert and a number of other artists active at the time) were able to generate with their performances is something I remember vividly from my own opera- and concert-going experiences during those years, including this particular concert which I actually attended. They had about them a truly larger-than-life vocal and physical presence rooted in a comprehensive command of their instruments and sheer joy in singing that was pure "magic", even when certain musical "bobbles" may have occurred (as they do in this concert). Sadly, one rarely encounters this today. I hope you enjoy both of these two fantastic evenings! Dame Joan Sutherland and Luciano Pavarotti in Concert, 1979
  12. Here is a complete tape of a historic, October concert from 1979 featuring opera greats, Dame Joan Sutherland and Marilyn Horne, with Sir Richard Bonynge conducting the New York Philharmonic. Dame Joan, several years past her vocal prime in 1979, continued to astonish with the Bel Canto brilliance of her scales, trills, staccati, leaps and the kind of extended high notes (of enormous size, I might add!) that most sopranos of her age and voice type have abandoned if they had them at all. Perhaps things were a bit more difficult physically that evening than they had been 10 years earlier for Dame Joan; but the legendary soprano still could -- and did -- bring down the house in her own inimitable way. Some years younger than Dame Joan, Marilyn Horne was still enjoying her prime vocal years in 1979. Miss Horne's singing in this concert reflects every part of that observation, I think, from brilliant Bel Canto acrobatics that rival note-for-note Dame Joan's to the melting lyricism of Dalilah's music or a simple Steven Foster song (perhaps the highlight of evening!). What a great thing it is to have this record of some of Miss Horne's finest singing. As was the case where their now-legendary appearances together in opera, the various duets featuring Dame Joan and Miss Horne together represent a comprehensive integration of two distinct voices that has rarely been equalled on the concert stage let alone in the opera house. This was truly a concert to remember and on so many levels. Pour the wine, sit back and enjoy! Dame Joan Sutherland and Marilyn Horne in Concert (1979) NOTE: there is a significant "bobble" after Miss Horne's singing of the Samson and Dalilah aria ("Mon coeur s'ouvre à ta voix") that cuts a sizeable portion of Dame Joan's superb rendition of an aria from Lucia ("Regnava nel silenzio"). A real shame, but not a deal-breaker for the concert as a whole.
  13. Happy Birthday to Red

    A happy belated birthday to you, Red! And . . . congratulations, Uncle!
  14. Here is the assured and sweeping Symphony No. 1 in B Minor by one of my favorite composers, Sweden's Kurt Atterberg (1887-1974). The work was completed in 1909 when the composer was all of 22 and already the distinctively 20th Century Romanticism and marvelous orchestration that characterize Atterberg's mature style are abundantly clear. Enjoy! Kurt Atterberg: Symphony No. 1 in B Minor
  15. Happy Birthday to Betsy Speicher

    A happy, Happy Birthday to you Betsy! Here's a little something to get us kicking up our heels in celebration:
  16. Steve Jobs is gone. Age 56

  17. Steve Jobs is gone. Age 56

    I also saw the NeXT presenation here in New York and agree: it was brilliant. I also agree that Steve Jobs' death is a great loss indeed. Thank-you Mr. Jobs for your life and your life-enhancing work!
  18. Happy Birthday to jordanz

    Happy Birthday to you, JordanZ!! I do hope you enjoyed every minute.
  19. Happy Birthday to Dan Cross

    Happy Birthday, Dan! I hope you were able to do all the things you enjoy!
  20. Happy Birthday to free spirit

    A happy birthday to you, Free Spirit!
  21. Five songs for double chorus and orchestra on selected texts from Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass.
  22. Remembering . . . An All-American Program Aaron Copland: Suite from "Quiet City" Samuel Barber: Violin Concerto Norman Dello Joio: From Every Horizon George Gershwin: Piano Concerto in F Howard Hanson: Symphony No. 2 in D-flat Major ("Romantic")
  23. Ludwig van Beethoven: Eroica

    Glory from Beethoven . . . Leonard Bernstein conducts the Vienna Philharmonic.
  24. American composer, Howard Hanson (1896-1981), completed his setting of The Lament for Beowulf (the hero's funeral scene from the original epic) in 1925. A magnificent and deeply moving work, The Lament for Beowulf is one of the finest achievements in large-scale choral writing by an American composer. I include below the link, the 1898 William Morris and A.J. Wyatt translation of the the original text which Dr. Hanson utilized for his setting. Howard Hanson: The Lament for Beowulf (1925)
  25. From 1985, a superb performance of Johannes Brahms' 1868 masterpiece, Ein Deutsches Requiem, featuring American soprano, Kathleen Battle in ravishing form, Belgian Bass-Baritone, Jose van Dam, the voices of the Vienna Singverein and the Vienna Philharmonic under the direction of legendary Herbert von Karajan. It was, more than likely, the death of his own mother in 1865 that prompted Brahms to compose his German Requiem, although there is a possibility he was also motivated by the knowledge that his beloved friend and mentor, Robert Schumann, had always intended to compose such a work. Whatever the case, Ein Deutsches Requiem is a deeply moving and expansive work, one that effectively sealed Brahms' reputation as one of the giants of Western Art Music. Although Brahms' work is frequently viewed in comparison with Giuseppe Verdi's later Requiem, I find these two works to be entirely different both in terms of their respective styles as well as their purposes. Verdi's work, a dramatic, operatic setting of the standard Latin texts of the Roman Catholic Requiem Liturgy, is focused squarely on the dead. Brahms, on the other hand, chose to set various texts from the German Luther Bible (thus the title, a reference to language as opposed to ethnicity). Those texts, while reflecting a belief in an "afterlife", bear no particular reference to Christian dogma. In further contrast to Verdi, Brahms created a work of personal contemplation, reflection and consolation for the living. Here is a sample from this performance. One of the more well-known excerpts, Wie lieblich sind deine Wohnungen ("How Lovely Are Thy Dwelling Places") beautifully performed by the Vienna Singverein: And for the entire work: