Saturday, May 18, 2019
The late Lawrence Auster 1949 – 2013
Breuer chairs and I -- With a nod to bentwood chairs
A procedure and T.S. Eliot
Why a great Protestant hymn breaks my heart
Campbell & Hauser Two string virtuosi
Bach's toccata and fugue in d minor at Passau
The Tilt Train has been nobbled
A new favourite pianist -- Alice Sara Ott
"Trim Taut & Terrific" -- the Lightburn Zeta
More wonderful singing from Anna Netrebko
A marvellous rendition of Meine Lippen, die küssen so heiss by a young Anna Netrebko
Pergolesi and Sabina Puértolas
Dr Gordon Lavelle Mangan (1924 - ): A biographical note
Ingeborg Hallstein: Die Fledermaus (excerpt)
Another Ingeborg Hallstein clip: "Ich bin die Christel von der Post". Also the Nightingale song by Grothe
The marriage of Figaro
The Tsar and the Carpenter
Der Opernball by Heuberger
The Duchess of Chicago
Dollarprinzessin (Dollar Princess)
Fledermaus (The bat) at Moerbisch
Simplicius (The simpleton)
Graf von Luxemburg (Count of Luxemburg)
A wonderful Austrian singing lady: Ute Gfrerer
Der Vogelhaendler (The bird merchant)
Zirkusprinzessin (Circus Princess)
Der Rosenkavalier (The rose gentleman)
The New Testament canon
Bach and Psalm 23
Wiener Blut (Vienna spirit)
Das Land des Laechelns ('The land of smiles")
Altemeyer's conceptual confusion
Eine Nacht in Venedig (a night in Venice)
Csardasfuerstin (Gypsy princess)
Bettelstudent (Beggar student)
Zarewitsch (Heir to the throne of Russia)
Zigeunerbaron (Gypsy baron)
Jesus Christ Superstar
Lustige Witwe (merry widow)
Graefin Mariza (Countess Maritza)
Emerich (Imre) Kalman and Graefin Mariza
Fledermaus at Covent Garden
Paganini a psychopath?
Zigeunerliebe (gypsy love) and GWF Hegel
Weissen Roessl (White Horse inn)
"The pirates of Penzance" as satire
Salzkammergut and "Im weissen Roessl"
Swan Lake The 2009 performance by the Australian ballet
Giulio Cesare (Julius Caesar) at Glyndebourne
Disney: a Philip Glass opera
Falvetti and Il diluvio universale (Noah's flood)
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Note: For some unknown reason, blogspot sometimes muddles up the location of the various videos. They are all there but just a bit out of sequence. Seek and ye shall find! For the more recent posts, I have inserted the URL for the video somewhere into the text -- which will allow you to load the correct video manually
Wednesday, May 1, 2019
Moscow nights is a simple romantic song in which the singer relives the magic summer days of his youth when the world seemed fresh and love was in the air. I think most people are able to identify with it. I can. It reminds me of summer nights in 1968 when I was doing my M.A. at the University of Sydney and eating chicken Maryland at the Forest Lodge hotel -- in company with Michael Crowley, the wonderful Lesley Johnson and others
Moscow nights has been much sung and recorded in the West so I think I am right about its popular appeal. It is a great favourite of mine so I think I will not be controverted if I say that the best performance of it was the famous performance in Red Square with Netrebko and Hvorostovsky singing. Anna Netrebko is a supreme soprano and Dmitry Hvorostovsky is a famous Russian baritone from (of all places) the industrial city of Krasnoyarsk in Siberia.
Hvorostovsky (sadly now prematurely deceased) was a very handsome and manly man so presented his songs in a very strong, confident and dignified way while Netrebko is a rather shy person who is easily embarrassed -- which leads to her being able to throw herself into her parts. She does not have to present her own personality so can be wholly devoted to expressing in every way what she is singing. And she does that very well.
I have come across a version of the Red Square performance that has both English subtitles and fairly good sound.
The beginning of the performance is very Russian, with Hvorostovsky dragging a submissive Netrebko onto the stage but then pledging undying love to her. In her reactions you will see how easily embarrassed she is but will also see how much she enjoys Hvorostovsky and his declarations. Most Russian ladies would envy her as Hvorostovsky is a very attractive man. Feminists will hate the whole thing.
There is a version with better resolution and better sound here:
but it is wholly in Russian
And look at the audience. They are our people. They are just like us. They could be an American audience. We MUST not have a war with Russia -- despite what Congress would seem to want. I have friends of Russian origin. If there were a war between Russia and the West I think I would kill myself to get out of a crazy world.
And here's an interesting footnote. Even the brilliant young Alma Deutscher has got into the act: In June 2018, the English teenage composer Alma Deutscher adapted the song for piano to entertain Russian President Vladimir Putin during a State Visit to Austria, at the request of Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz. Given three days to arrange it, Deutscher started with a sad lament that transformed itself into a Viennese waltz. Kurz explained that the melding of the two musical styles illustrated well the bond of friendship between Austria and Russia.