8 July 2012

Kathleen Ferrier: A voice that  embraced the nation

I have many recordings by Kathleen Ferrier (22 April 1912 – 8 October 1953) , who was definitely my singing role-model when I was studying. It is so sad that she had to die when she was at the vocal zenith of her remarkable career. I sang Father of Heav’n for my ATCL exam.

Father of Heav’n (Judas Maccabbeus) Handel

Kathleen Ferrier – 1947

Kathleen Ferrier and tenor Peter Pears at the Edinburgh Festival.

19 May 2012

Death of baritone Dietrich Fischer Dieskau

I was saddened to learn of the death of Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (28 May 1925 – 18 May 2012) yesterday. Not only did he have a great voice, but he was blessed with profound musical intelligence and insight into the lieder he performed so well. May he rest in peace.

Derek Hammond-Stroud - Telegraph

Derek Hammond-Stroud  (10 January 1926 – 14 May 2012) with some of the participants in his Art of Songcourse at Canford Summer School, Dorset (1967.). I am standing behind him with the band in my hair.

Canford School, Wimborne, Dorset, where the Canford Summer School was held.

I was very sorry to hear of the death of baritone Derek Hammond-Stroud in the obituary column of the Telegraph today. Apparently he died on 14 May and the obituary has only appeared now. In 1967 I attended The Art of Song course at Canford and Derek Hammond-Stroud was our course leader. He had a beautiful voice and I remember him singing The Earl King (Schubert) to the participants in his course. May he rest in peace.

29 September 2011

I was most interested to read in the Australian based Limelight magazine that Placido Domingo had signed an exclusive record contract with Sony at the age of 70.  I made the following comment on the matter:

Placido Domingo signs an exclusive record contract.

My Comment:

This is excellent news. I hope that Placido Domingo will have a chance to record as much of the baritone operatic repertoire as possible while his voice is still in good shape. It is rare for a tenor to change to baritone at this late stage of his career, but Domingo always had a baritonal quality in his tenor voice, so I am delighted that he is able to carry on his stellar singing career at a time when most singers have retired.



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Good Reads Book Reviews

The Moon And SixpenceThe Moon And Sixpence by W. Somerset Maugham
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Apparently Strickland was based on the artist Paul Gauguin, but if this was the case, there is a very loose connection between the two for this in not a novel a clef. The book held my interest while the narrator had personal contact with Strickland and his wife. Almost from the beginning of the novel, before Charles Strickland had appeared, I thought him a thoroughly reprehensible character.

Admittedly his wife was not an imaginative woman and used her established position in society to cultivate the society of writers and artists although she appeared to be devoid of any artistic talent herself. She obviously regarded her "dull" husband as nothing more than a meal-ticket and she had never encouraged his artistic inclinations. It is only after he leaves her to her own devices that she manages to pull herself together, fend for herself and look after her children without being dependent on a man any longer.

The portrait of a completely self-centred, inarticulate Strickland, who does not care about the opinion of others was well-drawn but after the narrator is no longer in personal contact with Strickland and the rest of the story of Strickland's life is related to him by a third person the story is less satisfactory. I have to admit that I did not finish the last fifty pages of the book. Although I like Maugham's work, this was not my favourite Maugham novel.

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