THIS is what it's all about!!

Daniel Walden's picture
Submitted by Daniel Walden on Wed, 2007-06-13 19:38

I can't do this beautiful television moment justice.

Just watch.


( categories: )

BBC reading Toohey

Peter Cresswell's picture

If I had to hand Ellsworth Toohey's speech to Peter Keating explaining how best to destroy genius -- by enshrining mediocrity instead -- I'd post it. You'd think some people were taking the advice to heart.

The real winner was mediocrity

Kenny's picture

Mediocrity. Britain does have talent but it cannot be found on dumbed-down television. There are many genuinely talented musicians and singers who graduate from our music colleges every year. Many do not have the opportunity to pursue a professional career. Others are reduced to teaching if they are lucky. It is truly heartbreaking.

The problem is that the market for classical music and opera, especially CDs, is in decline. The BBC is doing everything possible to undermine the arts. For example, The BBC Cardiff Singer of the World is now consigned to BBC4 rather than BBC2.

Another is problem is that the BBC promotes sub-standard British singers such as Lesley Garrett (past it), Russell Watson and Katherine Jenkins. Genuine British talent - Dame Felicity Lott, Sir Thomas Allen, Simon Keenlyside, Christopher Maltman etc are largely ignored by British television.

I fear that Proms will be the next victim of the BBC's "inclusive" agenda.

He was a shoe-in...

Jameson's picture

Glenn

Lindsay Perigo's picture

I'm taking your advice.

And the winner...

Jameson's picture

... in the final of Britain's Got Talent is...!!

Lindsay - best you don't put yourself through this again (though it might worth watching to see the impressive calibre of competition he was up against!) Smiling

Daniel

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Most of my mentors used the threefold division I've used here, probably because it covers the vast majority of opera, lieder and serious singers generally, but leggiero is certainly a legit category. As for the categories the various famous ones fall into ... well, fans fight world wars over these matters very often. Domingo is sometimes classified as "dramatic" for instance; I'd agree with you that he was a (squawking) spinto. Others, including Lanza and Pav, are often classified as lirico-spinto rather than one or the other. I wasn't concerned yesterday with that level of detail—just wanted to explain to Joe how it worked. The examples I gave of each category were my own assessments; I was aware that others might disagree, though the arguments are over borders—no one would argue for instance that Corelli was lirico or Wunderlich dramatico.

More regarding Heldentenors (and other tenors)

Daniel Walden's picture

In all seriousness, a Heldentenor is a very heavy tenor with an extremely powerful voice specializing in the lead roles of Wagner's operas. The Heldentenor voice is characterized by a much more nasal sound than a normal dramatic tenor; I've heard it speculated by several master teachers that Placido Domingo would have been the finest Heldentenor of this era if he had chosen that path early in his career. As it is, he made a rather poor spinto.

Also, isn't leggiero commonly used for the lightest tenor voice instead of lirico? My understanding is that the leggiero specializes in Mozart and bel canto repertoire; they have extraordinary agility and beautiful high notes sometimes ranging up to an E-flat, but they lack the sort of balls-to-the-wall power that the lower voices are all able to summon to some degree. The lirico is a somewhat heavier and more powerful voice, ideally suited for a romantic lead. They're the ones whose arias make the ladies (and us homos) positively swoon. Search for "Che Gelida Manina" or "Donna Non Vidi Mai" to see what I mean there. Giuseppe di Stefano was ideal for lirico roles.

And I'd thought Pavarotti was always classified as simply a freakishly loud lirico, as his voice still sounds somewhat thin on stuff like Nessun Dorma or Vesti La Giubba. Am I wrong?

Heldentenors

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Freaks, who specialise in that awful ... wot's his name? Smiling

A sub-category of "dramatic" best described as "hooting." Facility in hoiking also useful. Hooting and hoiking Heldentenors. There you have it. Smiling

Useful

Peter Cresswell's picture

Great description. Very useful.

You appear to have skipped the field of Heldentenors. Smiling

Cheers, Peter Cresswell

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Thanks

JoeM's picture

Thanks, Linz. I was unaware of the different levels you describe. I kinda assumed that if one could hit the high notes comfortably, the versatility would follow.

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Nature and nurture

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Giuseppe— a voice's range and texture is essentially dictated by nature. Both can be modified by nurture, but it's not a good idea to try too hard. We're dealing on this thread with the tenor voice, which is the highest, tessitura-wise, of the male voices unless you count counter-tenor and castrati (tenors-in-drag if you like). "Tenor" is sub-categorised thus: lyric tenor, which is a light-textured voice such as Potts'. Heavier in texture is spinto which is strictly speaking the category Lanza fits into (Pavarotti also). Heaviest of all is dramatic tenor, of whom the most outstanding examples would be Mario del Monaco and Franco Corelli. Again, it's not a good idea to push or pull yourself too far out of your natural category. Potts, for instance (hard to discuss him seriously, but here goes) should not try to sound like Lanza—he should focus on being the best lyric tenor he can be. An example of a truly sublime lyric tenor is Fritz Wunderlich, to whom I linked earlier. And a dramatic boomer like Corelli would sound idiotic trying to do a light lyric role like Almaviva in Barber of Seville.

In a sense spinto tenors have the best of both worlds in that they can lighten or darken a tad and go outside their milieu.* Nessun Dorma is really in the dramatic category, yet spinto tenors can carry it off comfortably if they're any good—it's Pavarotti's signature aria, after all. If Potts tried to do this role habitually he'd ruin what voice he has. If Wunderlich had tried habitually to belt out songs like Granada with the gusto you hear in the link, he too would have ruined his—as it was he barely scratched out that last High C. But click on the Mozart to the right and you hear lyric tenor singing that is utterly exemplary.

In other words, there's no shame in being a lyric tenor; the only shame is in being a bad one. "Light" doesn't have to mean "thin."

Linz

* Lanza was in the habit of singing light lyric arias as if they were dramatic ones—e.g. Una Furtiva Lagrima with Jose Iturbi on the piano in the BBC doco, the sequence overlaid with pics of him working out! He'd get slated by the critics—utter blasphemy ... and hellishly thrilling! Smiling

Oops...

JoeM's picture

I just, as of this moment or so, realized that I thought the singer originally in question was from the show AMERICA'S GOT TALENT, which featured an opera singer similar to this guy, last Tuesday, a day before this thread started. I was confused by the references to Simon Cowell, but since the two shows share the Piers guy, I don't feel as out of the loop. My comments about reality tv still stand...

Actually, now that I listened to the British guy, I have a technical question for Linz or anyone who might know, but specifically Linz, since this is his peeve (and because I think you've mentioned you do voice coaching?): about voice tone, I hear what you mean about his timbre, compared to Lanza's it's very thin. My question is, how much of that is learned, and how much of it is simply limited by the physical limitations between individuals? Can a guy like this possibly even get that Lanza tone with training, or is he stuck with what he has? (If that's the case, how does one "work with what one has" in a field like opera? Obviously he's too good to be a punk singer...
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Spaceplayer Sight and Sound

Linz, thanks - I'll listen

Duncan Bayne's picture

Linz, thanks - I'll listen to both back to back tonight, with a good pair of headphones (not the tinny things I have available at the moment) and see if I can pick up the issues you've highlighted.

 

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Cardiff Singer of The World

Kenny's picture

I have just watched the final of the BBC's "Cardiff Singer of the World" competition. The standard, like the previous rounds earlier in the week, was excellent. What a contrast to the mobile phone "singer"!!

There are literally tens of thousands of better singers who have graduated from music colleges around the world. The real tragedy is that their talent is not recognised and rewarded by the phillistines who make up 99.9% of the population. Our "inclusive" television talent shows inflict howling horrors on us instead.

New Thread

JoeM's picture

Since the focus of this thread has changed so much, I've started a new one on the risks of esthetic recommendations, with the hopes of getting to the heart of why it's so volatile, and maybe learning how to focus our own reasons and expectations for doing so.

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Chris: "I think it's more

JoeM's picture

Chris: "I think it's more like movie music as it might be and ought to be."

Well, that's the sticky widget, innit? We all have our own view of what it ought to be, and there's no "one way" to do it.

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Spaceplayer Sight and Sound

Joe M

Chris Cathcart's picture

Yeah, everyone who's heard "1900's Theme" makes the comparison of the piano part to Gershwin. I kinda wouldn't know, myself . . . and I did already make mention that the piano part is flawed -- even more obviously so when you hear the full-length original-soundtrack version. It could do without the piano part, and still make the same point with the triumphant ending. The triumphant ending is huge. The piano part is mainly there to make reference to the quirky stylings of the pianist in the film.

But, hey, if those pieces didn't move you (actually, you're the only one that I know of that heard them and wasn't moved, and for me I've heard them perhaps 100 times apiece and they never get old!), then I don't think I could come up with any that I think would. I'll just have to leave that to you from now on. Smiling

But I do have to object to the characterization about "cliche." It kinda sounds like a lot of other movie music you've ever heard, right? Actually, no, I don't think so. I think it's more like movie music as it might be and ought to be, and -- some other Morricone and a couple John Barry scores aside -- it's music the likes of which you almost never actually hear in films. Movie music is rarely this Romantic. (Maybe old-timers will go for the golden-era classics and the scores used in love scenes there. Apart from the scene, the music would hardly do anything for me at all -- and most movie music is made specifically for the screen and doesn't serve much purpose beyond that context. Morricone's music, meanwhile, can get wholly separate treatments like in the Yo-Yo Ma disc and still have a rich life to them.)

Side-note: Apparently this clip honoring the foreign language award winners was shown at the Oscars '07 in which there was another entire 10-minute section for honoring and presenting Morricone with his lifetime-achievement Oscar. I had only previously been aware of that 10-minute section, but not this! I wonder if the audience was made aware that his music was used in this clip as well. I think the awards show could have done without Celine Dion shrieking out vocals to the "Once Upon a Time in America" theme . . .

My bad

atlascott's picture

I was mistaken.  It was some opera singer turned pop-ish singer who IS a woman, whose first name is Andrea.  Italian last name.  I have tried to Google her to id her, but didnt find her.

I dont know that I have heard anything by Mr. Andrea.  Maybe I will.

Try being nice, Kenny, or forgiving.  You might find some virtue in it.

Scott DeSalvo

Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum viditur!

It's an old epistemological debate...

tfar's picture

This has been an interesting thread. It offers all sorts of relevant implications for when we analyse the justification for recognising the importance of public perception in many areas of daily life.

We all know that if you tell the same lie often enough and loudly enough that you can fool most of the people most of the time, e.g. Al Gore and Global Warming.

In the context of music it reminded me of an experiment conducted earlier this year by the Washington Post. They raised the question;

IF A GREAT MUSICIAN PLAYS GREAT MUSIC BUT NO ONE HEARS . . . WAS HE REALLY ANY GOOD?

Read it for yourself:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/...

The poor quality video does not do justice to the performer who is often criticised for excessive movement when playing. Somewhat extreme in my opinion, a bit like complaining about the performance of a light bulb because it's too noisy.

I personally thought Potts was good in the context of that show, and then I heard Mario! Potts must have been reasonably good live because Simon Cowell has heard so much crap that he is not easily moved to applaud. We should not be too critical of Potts because context matters. He will rise or fall based on his future performances.

Jesus, Julian

Ross Elliot's picture

"Recognise this dapper young man?"

I mean, he's *this* close to heterosexuality!!

Mario's back

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Mario's Nessun Dorma is back. Still the best in my book—beautifully shaped phrases, superb breath control, KASS ending without taking an age to gird his loins a la Bjoerling. KABOOM! Nailed!

Dapper Young Man of Yore

Recognise this dapper young

Julian Pistorius's picture

Recognise this dapper young man? Smiling

Perigo and Linda Anning - South Pacific, Wellington Operatic Society - 1985
Lindsay Perigo and Linda Anning - South Pacific, Wellington Operatic Society - 1985

Signorina Bocelli

Ross Elliot's picture

C'mon, Kenny, Bocelli does wear *a lot* of mascara. Honest mistake.

But, hell, even in Wellington, you don't see *that* much facial hair on a woman.

Cool

Bill

JoeM's picture

Bill, on cover bands: I agree. And what is an orchestra but a giant cover band?

"I say you're right. When it comes to this sort of thing, I, for one, am interested in that inner thing that drives someone to stand up in front of others and crack his soul open, and that is not "emulation". That's for children and cowards.
Do what you are , man. That's what you're here for."

Well, I half agree here (I say half, but you're probably speaking off the cuff, I don't want to assume that this is the full story), that as far as personal motivation goes, yeah, do what you are. I'd just round it out by saying "what are you doing?" or saying, actually. It's one thing to do it because it's "you," it's another to get someone to actually listen and appreciate it. And we have a lot of people out there supposedly "doing there thing." You've all heard the "It's not what you say, it's the way that you say it" routine, but is that REALLY true? Smacks of "all style" and no "substance" talk. CONTENT IS KING! Ok, style is important too, I think the real problem is any indication of a dichotomy between the two.

Your "ongoing battle" is an interesting one, in this regard. So many people don't believe that they are creative, and so many people are awed by improvisation, yet they don't realize that every time they speak (unless they have a full time scriptwriter) THEY ARE CREATING. Every time they imagine what might happen if the bills don't get paid...every time they imagine strangling the idiot driver ahead of them. Every time they think of winning the lottery...I think part of it is what is said to be creative, the image of creating something ex nihilo, thank you Plato. I wonder, if there was a more acceptance of the idea of art as "recreation" in a mimetic way, would people be less afraid to accept their own potential? It would certainly "destigmatize" the cover band scene...

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Where The Action Is

Billy Beck's picture

"The whole point of art is self expression, not emulation. Something Hendrix said stuck with me, that he enjoyed listening to other musicians, even ones of lesser talent, because he found something to learn from their individual take on things."

Man... forever, I have had this running fight with a couple of my best friends. One of them is nearly a head-case, when I drive myself to that conclusion about it. His talent is just blinding -- he's a bass player, and he was already a killer when he was sixteen years old -- and, when he was young, he worked up skills that he was later able to just stash under the bed for years on end and then pull 'em out and blow the roof off, just about on a whim. He went through a scathing episode with record companies in the 80's (he was in a band that should have been America's answer to AC/DC) and just quit. Walked right into a nanotechnology gig at Cornell University, right off the street without a degree or anything. He's one of those guys who just does anything he puts his mind to.

The thing is, he's never really believed in himself, and it's an astounding mystery very evident when it comes to his music. He once actually told me that he has "no imagination", which is wholesale nonsense when one listens to the parts he puts together.

The "fight" that I'm talking about started back in the late 70's: whether to cop parts directly off records or to lay one's own soul into the broad stroke of the arrangement and launch that into the world without caring what anyone thought.

We're playing together in a little hobby band, now, a four-piece rock ensemble. He's come a long way. He just sort of rolls with it when the rest of us take up something like Frank Zappa with only two guitars, bass, and drums. Of course, there is no way to do that without basically ignoring the original instrumentation, and framing the thing with what we have at hand. The drummer and I have gotten used to just forging ahead, knowing that this guy is going to come dragging along and do a great job at his job in the band. And what we get is original Garry. But if we pitched the thing to him in those terms right off the bat, it would never go anywhere.

Lots of people disdain cover bands, but I say there is all kinds of room for unique individual expression at playing other peoples' music, and people who have the self-resource to do that can turn out very good, if not great, work.

I say you're right. When it comes to this sort of thing, I, for one, am interested in that inner thing that drives someone to stand up in front of others and crack his soul open, and that is not "emulation". That's for children and cowards.

Do what you are , man. That's what you're here for.

Scott deSalvo thinks that Andrea Bocelli is a woman!!!

Kenny's picture

He wrote "A friend bought me an Andrea Bocelli CD. I listened to it once, and then again. Then I traded it in at a CD swap store. I though she was a marginally talented singer and did not enjoy her CD in the least."

From Wikipedia "Andrea Bocelli (born 22 September 1958) is an Italian singer, writer, and music producer. He is both an operatic tenor and a classical crossover singer. To date, he has recorded four complete operas — La Bohème, Il Trovatore, Werther and Tosca — in addition to various classical and pop albums. Bocelli has congenital glaucoma and is blind."

Scott obviously did not listen to the CD or read the booklet with the CD. Perhaps he is a relative of Victor Pross!

Sympathetic

JoeM's picture

Bill, as a musician myself, I'm sympathetic to your standpoint, I'd hate to think that I should hang it up because I'm not as good as my idols. The whole point of art is self expression, not emulation. Something Hendrix said stuck with me, that he enjoyed listening to other musicians, even ones of lesser talent, because he found something to learn from their individual take on things. At the same time, I'd hate to go the extreme the way the punks did. Not being able to play like Emerson Lake and Palmer doesn't require one to purposely stick with three chords every song.

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Tried it...

JoeM's picture

Chris:
"Try this. The last minute (starting at ~3:00) contains the last 60 seconds of "1900's Theme."
Well, heck, try it from about 1:25 on, as it quotes from the really good part of "The Legend of the Pianist" as well."

The music playing over the film clips? Eh, it was ok, but it invoked a sense of cliche in me, and I wasn't convinced by the piano at the end (was the the Pianist quote? I don't know the reference, so I apologize, but it came off as a cop at Gershwin...). It's ok, it's pretty, but I didn't find the melody memorable. Didn't stick in my ear. Does the job of evoking a certain era in relation to the movies shown, anyway.

Listening to the Legend of the Pianist now, halfway through it...this is interesting because of the instrumentation. Sounds exotic. I wouldn't say the melody is memorable, but the tonal coloration makes it easier to stay interested. It's less cliche sounding while still conveying the same feelings as the other piece. Ok, halfway through, I'm hearing the quotation in the first piece, now it sound cliche again. It's that problem that Rand described about Romantic fiction, it's own success works against it by being easily imitated. (I don't know if this guy was a pioneer or a follower, to be fair to him, but the first name I think of when I hear this is Gershwin...).

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Fuggetaboudit-er

Billy Beck's picture

No sweat. Nothin' to it. I know how it goes.

While I'm at this: I would argue for a very close distinction when it comes to "culpability" and marketing something like what we're talking about.

I've been in show business for thirty years, and seen a lot. TV people are among the worst ethical gimps I ever saw. One just about takes one's life in one's hand at dealing with them in any way. I'd bet that that is something that Potts probably didn't know much about. It's possible that he did, and didn't care, but even the best of them can get skinned alive by TV producers and never see it coming.

Sorry

Boaz the Boor's picture

Billy, I should have added a smiley on that last comment. No umbrage-taking here, from my end.

Fuggetaboudit

Billy Beck's picture

"If you think less of me for my unabashed elitist posture, of course, that's your choice."

Christ on a banana-peel, man: I don't even know you. And when it comes to "elitism": I'm the only motherfucker who counts. Just ask anyone who knows me.

That's why it's really no big deal. I don't care what anyone thinks of my populism on this thing.

Onward, through The Endarkenment.

So... we're going to indict

Boaz the Boor's picture

So... we're going to indict the guy for taking the opportunity? Is that it? How 'bout that "they" thing? I'd say that, so far as that goes, the problem is with the show producers, and not Potts.

I admire the courage it takes to do what he did, experienced or not. And there are superior musicians who won't give their best showing with that kind of pressure, or who might do worse. You're right that experience won't necessarily shed the performance anxiety, and my evaluation of him takes that into account. I think he has a lot of talent, and I think he has a good voice (two different things). Nevertheless, it's disingenuous to present it the way they did (whether he's held partly culpable for that or not), and it DOES reveal how stunningly ignorant our culture is and how stunningly poor in taste that show and that panel is. He's a good opera singer (Linz will think I'm a boor for saying that, of course, and I embrace the title) among many who doesn't deserve the superlative accolades.

If you think less of me for my unabashed elitist posture, of course, that's your choice.

"Rock Out With Yer Cock Out"

Billy Beck's picture

"...which is why I said that it would have been an amazing performance from someone inexperienced, the way they framed Potts in the show. They set it up like he was some random guy who wanted to achieve a life-long dream and finally stepped up to do it."

So... we're going to indict the guy for taking the opportunity? Is that it? How 'bout that "they" thing? I'd say that, so far as that goes, the problem is with the show producers, and not Potts.

When it comes to "experience":

In my remark on that aspect of it, I chose the word "can" with great precision. Some people are just born with what it takes to knock angels right out of the sky every time they open their mouths. Some people aren't, but are able to put it together by bleeding for it through endless years of hard work. I know the guy has some experience, but I think it's a good question whether it adds up to rock-steady knees when he knows that millions of people are looking at him with a camera.

Me? I'm grading him on his aspiration: what he's reaching for, whether or not he's able to take it fully in hand.

And I think I might be interested to see some of you guys go try that.

(The subject header comes from me ol' mate Jim Chapman, most recently Aerosmith's lighting director, and his advice on Going For It when opportunity knocks.)

And . . .

Chris Cathcart's picture

These turned up in a Google video search, full-length original-soundtrack renditions of the pieces on some kind of YouTube-like website (don't know if this stuff will remain up for long):

1900's Theme

The Legend of the Pianist

I ask principally because

Boaz the Boor's picture

I ask principally because most people have no serious idea what it's really like to do that. It can take a great deal of experience with the real-time imperatives of live performance in order to do it with complete confidence and total command of talent and skill (which are different things).

That's a good point, which is why I said that it would have been an amazing performance from someone inexperienced, the way they framed Potts in the show. They set it up like he was some random guy who wanted to achieve a life-long dream and finally stepped up to do it.

And yes, I'm a musician.

Linz!

Chris Cathcart's picture

Try this. The last minute (starting at ~3:00) contains the last 60 seconds of "1900's Theme."

Well, heck, try it from about 1:25 on, as it quotes from the really good part of "The Legend of the Pianist" as well.

Back to the topic ... what it's REALLY all about is ...

Robert Nasir's picture

O proud left foot, that ventures quick within
Then soon upon a backward journey lithe.
Anon, once more the gesture, then begin:
Command sinistral pedestal to writhe.
Commence thou then the fervid Hokey-Poke,
A mad gyration, hips in wanton swirl.
To spin! A wilde release from Heavens yoke.
Blessed dervish! Surely canst go, girl.
The Hoke, the poke -- banish now thy doubt
Verily, I say, 'tis what it's all about.
    -- by "William Shakespeare"

Except that I note the fans

Chris Cathcart's picture

Except that I note the fans of Sibelius 2 considered Potts' voice decent.

One thing I'm not well-versed on is opera, much less opera singing voices.

Figures! Musical judgement is worth jack shit in my book. To think I ordered a CD based on the recommendation of one of them. Oh well, guess I can always give it away as a prize, to someone who doesn't know any better.

Being that Rautavaara is not Tchai, Rach, Beethoven, Tchai, or Chopin, you won't like him.

You're missing out with the "1900's Theme," though. You're just going to have to trust me on that one, just this last once. Maybe JoeM can try a 30-second clip (heck, nearly a full third of the piece!) and report back on whether it sounds promising enough to pursue.

PS—Just listening to the rapturous applause for Anne-Sophie Mutter's Tchaik. Now that audience was literate!!

Ah, expanding your horizons some more! If it isn't Van Cliburn's Tchaik or Horowitz's Tchaik, it's Anne-Sophie Mutter's Tchaik. If you're a big fan of the first movement of Tchaik's violin concerto, I recommend the Jurassic Park soundtrack. Really, go out and buy the CD post haste!

[In reverse-psychology mode, Linz scurries right on over and shoots his wad on Jurassic Park.]

(Holy shit, the 30-second iTunes clip of "1900's Theme" is pretty good! Kinda damn hard not to be, being approx. the middle third of it.)

She?

Laure Chipman's picture

I thought Andrea was a guy.

A friend bought me an ANdrea

atlascott's picture

A friend bought me an ANdrea Bocelli CD.  I listened to it once, and then again. THen I traded it in at a CD swap store.  I though she was a margianlly talented singer and did not enjoy her CD in the least.

Scott DeSalvo

Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum viditur!

Performances

Daniel Walden's picture

Funnily enough, I was chorus trash in South Pacific earlier this year Smiling

Before that, I sang Marius in Les Miserables at my old high school. Hated the role, but I wasn't going to say no to a part in Les Miz!

LP: "If y'ain't got it, ya shouldn't sing."

Robert Nasir's picture

LP: "If y'ain't got it, ya shouldn't sing."

Wow.

Just, wow.

I have - kapa haka oddly

Duncan Bayne's picture

I have - kapa haka oddly enough, while at High School.

I performed a haka with one other person (another geeky white boy like myself) infront of over a thousand people at a kapa haka competition in fact (for a variety of reasons the rest of the Freyberg High School kapa haka group were no-shows on that day).

That was something of an experience :-) 

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Buy and wear InfidelGear - 100% of all InfidelGear profit goes to SOLO!

Qualifications

Billy Beck's picture

"Why?"

I ask principally because most people have no serious idea what it's really like to do that. It can take a great deal of experience with the real-time imperatives of live performance in order to do it with complete confidence and total command of talent and skill (which are different things).

I have ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

... played the lead in South Pacific for Wellington Operatic Society. Done several concerts over a period of years. Why?

Here's A Question

Billy Beck's picture

How many people remarking on this have ever sung or played in front of a live audience?

Different strokes ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

There are of course "different singers for different markets." For those unfortunates who will never get real voices, there are the Bocellis and Russell Watsons of this world, Galt help them.

I've just come from a social function where I was talking to baritone Tim Hawley, an opera veteran with a real KASS voice in his day. I relayed to him all the goings-on on this thread. He didn't know of Paul Potts, but told me a relative had given him a Bocelli CD for Xmas, which he promptly snapped in two. My sister likes Bocelli and plays him a lot. Inexplicable to me—she's heard the best but settles for that?? Potts, of course, is way worse than Bocelli. 'Nuff said. Smiling

Except that I note the fans of Sibelius 2 considered Potts' voice decent. Figures! Musical judgement is worth jack shit in my book. To think I ordered a CD based on the recommendation of one of them. Oh well, guess I can always give it away as a prize, to someone who doesn't know any better. Smiling

Still, when all's said and done, each to his own—chacun a son gout. Some like the paintings of Machiavelli, after all ...

Linz (convulsing)

PS—Just listening to the rapturous applause for Anne-Sophie Mutter's Tchaik. Now that audience was literate!!

Oops

Bill Visconti's picture

Brain fart. Make that Michelangelo.

Proud Member Of The "Bomb-Them-Into-Oblivion" School Of Foreign Policy

Singers for fans of non-singing?

Peter Cresswell's picture

"...there should be different singers for different markets..."

You think there should be singers for the set of people who don't really like singing? 'Singers' like Russell Watson, maybe?

Just like there should be painters for that set of people who prefer their painters to dabble in Real Politik than in paint pots. ;^)

PC

Boaz....

Hayden Wood's picture

Maybe Mr Visconti was talking analogies.  Machiavelli was a political realist, and we're romantic realists.

"You guys are killing my

Hayden Wood's picture

"You guys are killing my cultural self-confidence. I like Andrea Bocelli! I really am a Pleb."

You're on your own Bill, I can't stand pop opera, no redeeming qualities whatsoever Smiling

Worst Reality offender

Landon Erp's picture

Joe's post about Reality talent shows and fake drama reminded me of the worst offender of all.

Last Comic Standing. A stand-up comedy competition. I kind of liked the first season because everyone on the show was actually an amateur and not an established star (if they won it actually meant something other than getting "another" stand-up special) though I was dissappointed when the first season's winner Dat Phan (whose act consisted of an impression of his immigrant mother) won on the pity vote.

It's been a train wreck since, from season 2 on they allowed established comics on so the "drama factor" goes out the window, and on top of that weaker comics are allowed into the competition due to being "better tv."

It's the worst symptom of the problem.

---Landon

Inking is sexy.

http://www.angelfire.com/comics/wickedlakes

Oops

Boaz the Boor's picture

Machiavelli painted, too? Gotta love those versatile Italians.

Eye

You Guys Are Killing Me

Bill Visconti's picture

"Seeking to emulate Andrea Bocelli is one of them."

You guys are killing my cultural self-confidence. I like Andrea Bocelli! I really am a Pleb.

Seriously though, I think there should be different singers for different markets (to use the term). Not everyone will come to cultivate the exquisite ear for opera that you gents have. For you there will always be the true masters. But for more mass consumption I see no problem with a Bocelli (or even a Potts if he should get to that level and I really hope he does get some noteriety and fortune out of this) receiving the fame and attention he does. He has a nice enough voice for the untrained.

There is the kind of painting that looks good on the wall of your office and then there is Machiavelli. Machiavelli will always be Machiavelli and those who know art (or would in a rational culture) would never hold it against the painters of good office-wall art that they were not Machiavelli.

Proud Member Of The "Bomb-Them-Into-Oblivion" School Of Foreign Policy

Stories about Birgit

Peter Cresswell's picture

Corelli is said to have once bitten Nilsson in the neck in the midst of a dispute over a "held notes." Nilsson cancelled later performances, saying she had come down with rabies.

Reflecting on her career, she revealed, "Isolde made me famous. Turandot made me rich." Asked what a singer most needed to play Isolde, she said, "Comfortable shoes."

PC

Some crimes are unforgivable.

Daniel Walden's picture

Seeking to emulate Andrea Bocelli is one of them.

From hero to zero ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

Paul Potts has officially been consigned to the gutter in my book.

So soon?

You fickle hussy, you! Smiling

Would if I could ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

"We're sorry. We have detected that you are outside of the United States. This service is currently only available to residents within the United States."

98 seconds of your time

Chris Cathcart's picture

Linz, all,
I've provided a link for this before, but Linz invoked a Halleyian sense of life in reference to Beethoven's 'Emperor' Concerto, and I would like to reprise that issue in relation to "1900's Theme," track #1 to the Legend of 1900 soundtrack. I would say that the piano part is flawed (sounds rather obviously dubbed over the orchestral part in the recording/mixing, to name a problem), but that's inessential to the basic thrust.

Heck, if this recommendation doesn't work, then figure I just don't have credibility as to sense of life or listening abilities, and feel free to ignore recommendations I may offer in the future. That's right, I'm staking my romantiphile reputation on 98 seconds. Smiling

(If my recommendation for track #1 is to your liking, kindly proceed onto track #2 and enjoy.)

And using objective standards

atlascott's picture

...he is probably the best singer in the competition.

I listened to it again, and Ill tell you, alot of it is in the setup.  He talks about not having confidence, he is this gumpy, averge joe looking guy with bad teeth.

Then he fucking belts it out, YEAH! And he is standing out there by himself, hands at his side, and we know he is nervous and just throwing himself out there.  He may not be the best opera singer ever, or even close, but I admire the dumpy fucker!  YEAH!

Scott DeSalvo

Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum viditur!

Update (sorry for the double post)

Daniel Walden's picture

Paul Potts has officially been consigned to the gutter in my book. Apparently he sang "Time to Say Goodbye" for his second performance. For those not in the know, "Time to Say Goodbye" was written for and made famous by Andrea Bocelli, the Number One Hack in the Universe. Thinks he's cut out to sing opera when he can't even be heard without a mic that practically brushes his tonsils. The song, like the singer, is an insipid, boring crime against music. Words cannot convey my disgust at this point.

Ah, Corelli!

Daniel Walden's picture

Voice the size of a fucking mountain. The only, I repeat, THE ONLY tenor of his day who could match soprano Birgit Nilsson for sheer power. Seeing them together in Turandot is like sipping the nectar of the gods.

Ah yes, Daniel ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

... that's a better Jussi, for sure. From the complete recording, I presume. Now, here's a handy hint for the as-yet-uninitiated: listen in particular to the metallic ping in Jussi's voice. The Italians call it squillo. It's the core of resonance that gives a voice the power to carry over an orchestra, and its balls. If y'ain't got it, ya shouldn't sing. Here's another guy who had it in spades, Franco Corelli.

Scott:"You arent supposed

JoeM's picture

Scott:
"You arent supposed to sing unless you sing as well as an elite? We should frown because a half-talented singer got a standing ovation for a surprising though amateurish performance? I agree with Chris--Nessun dorma is beautful, unless someone like it is sung by--oh, I dont know--EVERYONE ON THIS LIST, INCLUDING THE CRITICIZERS. So don't buy the bullshit about Potts having no talent at all--I cannot hit the notes he does, I do not have the voice quality he has, and I suspect none of us on this list does, either. By definition, Potts has a fairly rare talent. That the talent is not on the order of a Lanza or Pavarotti, eh, who cares?"

Scott, I was thinking this today, while reading a book about the subject, the passage was about a song dealing with "Middletown Dreams," Death of a Salesman, and personal fulfillment:

"To become a star isn't going to make him an artist. Being known just means you're more conspicuous, and after a while that thrill palls...". There's also a point that commercial success depends not so much the artistic merits as much as the agenda of the audience and other parties, who, like Roark's clients, want buildings that remind them of their childhood, audiences who want confirmation of their own worldview a la Wynand's mob, or people who are simply out to make a buck on soundalikes for a ready made audience. Very little "art."

...and I have to agree with you in principle; art is not for the elite alone. Only problem, though, is the context of the performance: it wasn't art for the sake of art that was being presented, it wasn't even a casual amatuer performace for friends. It was a contest where the purpose is to be judged on how good they are. Personally, I think art should never be done as a contest (could you imagine Roark entering one?), that's not the point of recreating reality according to one's values. It invites too many second handed factors and tangential agendas that just bury the value. But the guy chose to participate in it. It's not as if he's been banned from self-expression.

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Spaceplayer Sight and Sound

Judge...and prepared to be judged?

JoeM's picture

Linz:
"How great it would have been to see those judges, those smug guardians of trash, truly demolished in their tawdry, ignorant scepticism, in their own trash-pen. In describing Paul's voice as "absolutely fantastic" and "incredible" they did expose their ignorance, for sure—to those who know of it already."

Consider the fact that Sharon Osbourne didn't care for the opera singer, that the music bored her. Consider the fact that Sharon Osbourne is married to and manages Ozzy Osbourne.

And David Hasselhoff? I know he's big in Germany, but...well, there ya go.

No clue about the other guy.

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Spaceplayer Sight and Sound

Scott...

Ross Elliot's picture

"It as a beautful song sung well enough by an ugly enough guy with enough pasion to bring a tear to my eye. Pavarotti's version is better than Potts' (and Lanza's), but he has little passion in singing that song. He breathes better, has a fuller voce, better tone--but did not bring a tear to me eye. That is a criticism that my inner stupid, untrained proletarian will never get past--Callas can mug for the camera but when she isnt really investing the song with ALL of her attention and passion, Id rather hear a less giftted voice. Same with Pavarotti. Though I have to say, Lanza virtually ALWAYS sand with his whole heart, which makes him worthy of my respect, if occasionally I do not care for a particular rendition.

That's the point. Potts was a diamond in the rough, and it's only the degree of relativity that's up for debate. To say he's bereft of *any* talent and passion is moronic. In fact, it's the very spirit of musical adventure and fire-in-the-belly, deep desire that gave birth to rock & roll. They may not always hit their marks correctly or sing with anything approaching perfect intonation, but I'll take three chords and the truth over a dry, soporific technician any day. There's no sacrifice of values going on here as long as Potts' performance is seen in context: a reality television show that is normally cast with performing seals and stoked with fake controversy.

Breads and Circuses

JoeM's picture

No problem, fair is fair. Actually, rock fans, let's fess up and call the kettle black. How many times have you groaned upon hearing a substandard version of "Freebird?" by some crappy bar band? Ever see Wayne's World? "No 'Stairway to Heaven!"

"Now, if this rendition had been offered in a small-town community hall, it might well have merited the magic qualities ascribed to it here. But this is a nationally televised TV show where presumably the wannabes are screened beforehand, intended to showcase the best that Britain has to offer."

See my point about the nature of reality shows today. It's breads and circuses now, with some lion feeding to boot. As ech as it was, Star Search took itself seriously, at least. Now, there is little hiding of the nature of these shows, like American Idol, it's not about finding the best, it's about controversy, fake drama that is supposed to be "reality," and humiliating losers. They don't screen for the best, they screen for the characters who will get ratings. Decent people are sent home in favor of the wierdos that get their 15 minutes of fame.

Even game shows have switched the game...example, MTV's REAL WORLD/ROAD RULE challenge, where the teams spend 5 minutes in a challenge and the rest of the show fighting and sleeping with each other. I'm waiting to see what happens to the new PRICE IS RIGHT now that Bob Barker is leaving....

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Spaceplayer Sight and Sound

OK...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

I must say it's been huge fun winding you lot up. Demented hens aren't nearly as funny. But I haven't just been winding you up. This is a seriously inadequate performance, not just by elitist standards but by average standards (and since when has elitism been a crime? Anyone here read the SOLO Credo—the bit about "total passion for the total height"?).

The voice is completely unexceptional, and thin and bleaty. The Italian is poor (for details, print out the text in the Lanza thread, follow it as sung by an Italian or someone whose Italian is decent, and observe the difference—be ready for the fact that this is a truncated version). He cracks on the high notes, most notably the second syllable of the final "Vincero!" Now, if this rendition had been offered in a small-town community hall, it might well have merited the magic qualities ascribed to it here. But this is a nationally televised TV show where presumably the wannabes are screened beforehand, intended to showcase the best that Britain has to offer. It could have been magical, straight out of Ayn Rand: "What are you here for, Paul?" "To sing opera"—if only the guy could sing opera!! I was psyching myself up for just such magic, rooting for him to slay the morons with something genuinely great, but I knew from the opening notes it wasn't going to happen. We have a nanny-goat tenor here, Simon O'Neill, who's way better than Paul, if I want nanny-goat with my tenors.

How great it would have been to see those judges, those smug guardians of trash, truly demolished in their tawdry, ignorant scepticism, in their own trash-pen. In describing Paul's voice as "absolutely fantastic" and "incredible" they did expose their ignorance, for sure—to those who know of it already.

Any illusion that the guy is any good is created by the music itself and the accompaniment—those magnificent chords thundering out to their inexorable, irresistible climax. Yes, Puccini is great. Paul is sub-mediocre.

Of all sad words of tongue or pen
The saddest are these—it might have been.

Linz

PS—Thanks, Giuseppe, for pointing out what should have been obvious: my opinion was solicited. Folk know I don't mince words. Shouldn't have gotten their panties in such a knot, though it has been very funny.

PPS—Hayden: "PhiLinz"? Nice try. "Linzyllis" would be better! Smiling

PPS—I love you all anyway!

Another Nessun Dorma for comparison

Daniel Walden's picture

Linz linked to one by Jussi Bjorling earlier; it was good, but it didn't compare to this baby! Jussi is in top form here, singing with amazing technique and kick-you-in-the-balls passion!

Hayden, I don't disagree

JoeM's picture

Hayden, I don't disagree with you in principle re the exposure and its potential good; I just have a hard time believing that it's that bad. Then again, I've worked in a record store with a loyal classical following, have seen rock fans buy classical music, have seen punk rock employees listening to it, have worked in a theater where younger people have a mix of tastes, etc. I've seen the Philadelphia orchestra with my ex, who is not a musician or artistically inclined as a rule, etc. Granted, this is in Philadelphia, where we have a rich tradition, but I can remember being exposed to classical music in grade school and seeing football players in the choir. I've heard rap music sample Albioni and Bach, everyone's heard at least a fifth of Beethoven, AMADEUS was a hit (the movie and the song Sticking out tongue), etc. I don't know if seeing a performance is going to make the crucial difference. Heh, think of the cliche of the husband dragged to the opera and falling asleep. (Or, think of the fact that classical music is/was played in high crime areas to scare AWAY criminals!). Or the rioters at THE RITE OF SPRING.

Actually, Hayden (btw, what a coincidental name! Smiling ), I think there is something to what you're saying, though maybe not in the same way you intended. There is the phenomena of people hearing a performance of a so-called "beautiful" work, beautiful meaning "pleasant" or without discord. Notice it's the ballad, the aria, and so forth that gets the audience gooey (which is why I brought up RITE OF SPRING, as contrast.) The simpler arias and art songs are not so dissimilar to contemporary ballads in chordal and melodic structure. Could you imagine an audience of Jerry Springer quality "getting" a really challenging performance (not a challenge of athleticism, mind you; many people gush over the challenge of "flight of the Bumblebee. Nor do I mean "hitting the high notes." if ever there was an abused bit of wanking.) I mean something challenging to their cognitive level? (See Rand's description in ROMANTIC MANIFESTO.) Many people will gravitate to what they know already, and everything else may as well be "greek."

And, (to anticipate Linz's argument of his preference to fight for content over innovation,
(though I believe they go hand in hand) goes hand in hand), not only challenging to the cognitive level, but to the emotional level, meaning, not just the gooey ballads, but the angry pieces, the ones that depict struggle, drama, sadness, defiance, challenge, and triumph. It's the happy pieces that are usually the simplest (someone once made the point that a minor key music will invoke contemplation in a bar, followed by "put on something upbeat. Upbeat: more rhythm, less complexity, more simplicity. The idea is that the more minor, the more complex, and intelligence is attracted to minor key music.) The masses are fed major rhythmic key music to keep them happy, it's believed. Complexity is an individual matter.

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Spaceplayer Sight and Sound

Actually, I'm not tone deaf

Duncan Bayne's picture

Actually, I'm not tone deaf - we did a series of tests at school where we attempted to differentiate between different notes, and I did rather well at it.  I'm afraid my inability to judge musical performances is more due to a lack of training than anything else.

 

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Buy and wear InfidelGear - 100% of all InfidelGear profit goes to SOLO!

Joe.

Hayden Wood's picture

"Hayden, it's not as if the mass of viewers have never heard opera or classical in some form or another, what with the use of it in Loony Tunes, Tom and Jerry, and what have you...it's more a matter of preference; there have even been rock musicians who have classical or operatic training who simply like other styles."

True Joe, but they have probably never seen it performed. 

I think that is a large part of why the Potts scenario has extra effect.  Prior to this the only way they hear classical music is on the radio or in the background of cartoons, which is fine, but to actually see someone up there belting it out the best he can is a lot more moving.  And it did move quite a few people both there and in the Youtube comments, they'll go away thinking "What's Nessun Dorma?"  "What's a Puccini?" and so on, all for The Good.

I do not think anyone is talking past another

atlascott's picture

Linz made it clear that in his opinion, the performance was utter rubbish under any circumstances, with no redeeming quality of any kind, as do his supporters on this thread, including Kenny, who thinks his performance will hurt opera by filling shelves with Potts instead of more talented and technically corect artists.

It just so happens that I think that attitude is full of shit.

You arent supposed to sing unless you sing as well as an elite?  We should frown because a half-talented singer got a standing ovation for a surprising though amateurish performance?  I agree with Chris--Nessun dorma is beautful, unless someone like it is sung by--oh, I dont know--EVERYONE ON THIS LIST, INCLUDING THE CRITICIZERS.  So don't buy the bullshit about Potts having no talent at all--I cannot hit the notes he does, I do not have the voice quality he has, and I suspect none of us on this list does, either.  By definition, Potts has a fairly rare talent.  That the talent is not on the order of a Lanza or Pavarotti, eh, who cares?

I agree with the folks who say that this might increase interest in opera (very good) and that it is nice to see pop culture get SOME dose of real culture, even if it is like a chimp trying to read Shakespeare.

It as a beautful song sung well enough by an ugly enough guy with enough pasion to bring a tear to my eye.  Pavarotti's version is better than Potts' (and Lanza's), but he has little passion in singing that song.  He breathes better, has a fuller voce, better tone--but did not bring a tear to me eye.  That is a criticism that my inner stupid, untrained proletarian will never get past--Callas can mug for the camera but when she isnt really investing the song with ALL of her attention and passion, Id rather hear a less giftted voice.  Same with Pavarotti.  Though I have to say, Lanza virtually ALWAYS sand with his whole heart, which makes him worthy of my respect, if occasionally I do not care for a particular rendition.

I agree that is a bit of a buzz kill to read that Potts has had extensive training.  If this is the best he can do (and I suspect it probably is, because even my untrained ear did not like his awkward phrasing, thin-ish tonal quality at the begining, etc.) he will be out of the show in the first round.

Scott DeSalvo

Quidquid latine dictum sit, altum viditur!

This ain't Plato's Cave now...

JoeM's picture

Hayden; "I look at it from the context of the typical audience of the show, who have listened to catbanging headerwauling all their lives and then see something like this. Isn't it great that many would have been moved to find out more about classical music? Surely there's a big silver lining here."

Hayden, it's not as if the mass of viewers have never heard opera or classical in some form or another, what with the use of it in Loony Tunes, Tom and Jerry, and what have you...it's more a matter of preference; there have even been rock musicians who have classical or operatic training who simply like other styles. (And judging from the type of show that it is, it's safe to say that reality shows like this are nowadays less about the performance on stage and more about the perfomance of the judges; witness Sharon Osbourne's staged walkoff, Jerry Springer's shirtles-let's just stop right there. It's Jerry Springer.)

The problem with your scenario...if it really was a situation where the people simply haven't been exposed, it's unlikely they would simply take to it so eagerly, it has to be processed, so to speak. On the old Solo, James Kilbourne wrote a fantasy about "metamusic," where a concert was given of a new piece so magical and beautiful that the audience was in its thrall, world peace broke out, or some such situation...it was all very "pied piper-ish," but unlikely to ever happen, simply for the fact that if it truly was a new form of music, it's unlikely that everyone would perceive it the same, at least not all at once. It treats music as something simply to be absorbed passively, when in reality there's a gestalt to it (think of the visual illusion of a picture that could be a vase or two vases in profile...).

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Spaceplayer Sight and Sound

You're on to it Billy

Hayden Wood's picture

That's the whole point.  I think PhiLinz and the rest of humanity are talking past each other on this one. 
PhiLinz is saying, and most seem to agree, that the guy was not very good by the standards of the best singers.  I'm tone deaf like Duncan, and am looking forward to hearing why this bloke was so shite.

I look at it from the context of the typical audience of the show, who have listened to catbanging headerwauling all their lives and then see something like this.  Isn't it great that many would have been moved to find out more about classical music?  Surely there's a big silver lining here.

"Ask him no questions, Linz'll tell you know lies..."

JoeM's picture

Agree or not with Linz, but just remember, this time at least, his opinion was actively solicited on this guy, so to get on his case about his opinion is in bad taste (ESPECIALLY if you've been around long enough to know the answer in advance! Eye

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Spaceplayer Sight and Sound

Bill

Daniel Walden's picture

Oh yes he can sing. I highly, HIGHLY recommend the recording that he and Maria Callas did of La Boheme; they sound wonderful together, Anna Moffo is unbeatable as Musetta, and the final two acts will have you going through tissues by the box. Those two both had a rare gift for characterization and drama, and their chemistry was absolutely electric. Their studio of Tosca and their live of La Traviata are also priceless gems.

PopCult

Billy Beck's picture

"Also, it was uplifting to see the reaction he recieved from the *popular culture*!!"

Yes. Go look at the comments on that video. There are illiterate louts who want to hear opera now.

That's got to be a good thing.

Linz & Daniel

Bill Visconti's picture

Thanks so much for the tremendous music you linked to. Damn that Giuseppe can sing!

Yes, compared to the masters, Mr. Potts is an amateur or less. But in the context of this show (which is a Brittish version of American Idol which must not be forgotten is, along with Survivor, the symbol of the decline of Western Civilization) his performance was notable and I would add uplifting.

Also, it was uplifting to see the reaction he recieved from the *popular culture*!! Forget the opera world for a moment. We are talking about the barren wasteland that is the popular culture and this man (for all his flaws) touched people with opera! That can't be scorned at Linz. I know he is not Pavarotti, but that is not the point. Forget the fact that the audience wouldn't know a tenor from a thumbtack (I barely know the difference). What the audience applauded was beauty (even if they have a flawed understanding of it). I think that has to be appreciated.

Oh, and by the way, I hate to pick on you Linz, but... ...you are so easy to support President Bush even though he is a flawed man. Why not extend that same attitude to Potts? (I don't know if that last one will fly but I'm sending it up the flag pole...)

Proud Member Of The "Bomb-Them-Into-Oblivion" School Of Foreign Policy

Mahler

Chris Cathcart's picture

I'm a fan of approximately 1/8 of his symphonic output -- 4, maybe 5 movements. The famous Adagietto from the Fifth, for instance, is the extravagant, overwrought, high-strung, fablous and thrilling Romanticism that he was capable of. I wish his entire symphonies were like that. But try out the quite pastoral-sounding first movement of his First, the Ruhevoli from his Fourth, and the last movement of his Ninth.

Others of his symphonies have their moments, but too short-lived. There's a faboulous ecstatic portion, lasting about 3 minutes, about 2/3 of the way through his 2nd, but surrounded on both sides by clashy, bangy cacophany. It truly is frustrating to sit through all that just to get to the good parts.

Looks were deceiving

Laure Chipman's picture

The main thing about the clip of Potts is that it was surprising, because the audience probably wasn't expecting any halfway decent noises out of him - he looked like such a putz!  His rendition was OK for an amateur but nothing to write home about.

Here is MY favorite Nessun Dorma, in its entirety, for your listening pleasure: Jerry LoMonaco

Just to set the record straight,

Daniel Walden's picture

I didn't ever argue that Potts made beautiful music. I found him acceptable in the context that he was singing in, and it made beautiful television.

And for my two cents on Mahler, I find that his music has too much of the stormy Wagnerian personality for my tastes. Beethoven is stormy as well, but I find that he uses it more judiciously.

Especially the second

Chris Cathcart's picture

Especially the second movement. Often the most glorious moments of concerti are contained in the second movements, where ecstatic noise gives way to the most achingly beautiful, softly spoken rhapsodies. Beethoven's Emperor for example, where the first and third movements are Richard Halley-like, but the second absolutely defies description in its sublimity. Same with the Rach #2. But there's a moment in the second movement of the latter, about twelve minutes in, just a minute or so before the end, where piano and orchestra must hit the downbeat together and KASSly or the magic is lost. Alexis Weissenberg and the Berlin Philharmonic make the best magic of all of this moment in my collection: any advance on them?

Whoa, whaddya ya know, you DO listen to Rach 2! And even Beethoven 5, my goodness! Expand a little bit and go for Beethoven 4 while you're at it. Next step would be the works of Chopin, and then more Tchaikovsky, and then back to Rach for the Paganini Rhapsody, and then more Chopin. Don't forget Tchaikovsky while you're at it! And when you're really ready to take a dive into the unknown, there's Brahms. And, oh how exciting, maybe even Dvorak! I wouldn't recommend going much further than these guys, because it's all downhill basically after Beethoven, Chopin, Tchaikovsky, Rachmaninoff, and Tchaikovsky.

You do make a point about the adagio in Beethoven 5. That's the piece that really got the motor going for me, like two years ago, which led to seeking out and hearing 100 other works at least as sublime. Sibelius 2, for example.

Lindsay: "Any idiot could

Billy Beck's picture

Lindsay: "Any idiot could get up and 'pull it off' this badly."

Nonsense. I know lots of idiots who couldn't even get started on something like that.

(Listening to van Cliburn's

Chris Cathcart's picture

(Listening to van Cliburn's Tchaik #1: divinity!!)

Seems that this is about all you ever listen to. Eye

C'mon, branch out for a change! Maybe a little Rach 2?

PS—This discussion has

Chris Cathcart's picture

PS—This discussion has been extremely enlightening. It has revealed to me that there's no one here—absolutely no one— whose musical judgement I should take seriously! [smiley] Seriously!! [smiley] It makes me laugh, but it dismays me too. [smiley] [smiley] smiley smiley smiley

First off, when it comes to a sublime work like Sibelius 2, Linz is an utter philistine. Doubtful he could chew must less swallow much less digest any of Mahler's work before spitting it out, even the objectively sublime parts.

Second, whether this be an inferior performance or not, there are some of us who are really only let down by a shitty performance as long as the original composition is great. For many pieces, if a performance is merely passable, it doesn't affect my enjoyment of the work -- as long as it's a great work to begin with.

Third, if it's Lanza's version vs. Pavarotti's version, I personally go for Pavarotti's voice, as I found it fuller. But that's just a difference, doesn't necessarily make it better. Regardless, I love to hear both performances because, after all, it's "Nessun Dorma!"

People & Aesthetics

Daniel Walden's picture

Frankly, people get so touchy about aesthetic judgments because who's creating your art is a damn sight more important than who's making your policies. It's simply the way we're built. If you've got great art being made, a poor government is just a temporary inconvenience. It simply doesn't register as important. By contrast, a good government with a stale artistic scene would be a nigh-unbearable hell. It's our properly selfish nature that does it: we (rightly) worry about whether we personally have the emotional fuel to go on before we turn to the rest of the world.

Sounds good - I'm running on

Duncan Bayne's picture

Sounds good - I'm running on four hours sleep at the moment, and trying to debug a broken connection with my ISP.  I'm gonna give it another 10 minutes, then hit the hay myself.

 

---
Buy and wear InfidelGear - 100% of all InfidelGear profit goes to SOLO!

Dunc ...

Lindsay Perigo's picture

If you have the time, Lindsay, I'd be quite interested to know what it is about this performance that makes it bad, rather than just not in the same league as the top guns.

It'll be my pleasure. But not this instant. Here in NZ it's 1 am & we old farts must get our beauty sleep. I'll answer you tomorrow, with relish. OK?? Smiling

Okay - my take on the

Duncan Bayne's picture

My take on the performance was:

  •  It's fantastic to see this kind of performance in a contest like Britain's Got Talent.  I've seen many such shows on TV, and they're almost entirely full of crap - crap that even if perfectly executed would still be crap.
  • Performing like that takes balls.  Not just the performance, but doing something that's so far 'out of the box' in the context of a televised talent show.

  • It wasn't as good as the likes of Lanza, Pavarotti and Harper (whose renditions I have in my MP3 collection; I like Nessun Dorma)

Personally, while I say it wasn't as good, I wouldn't characterise it as bad.  Although, from what Lindsay is saying, that might well be a consequence of a lack of training on my part (I took music for one year in High School, and spent most of that struggling to come to grips with the oboe).

If you have the time, Lindsay, I'd be quite interested to know what it is about this performance that makes it bad, rather than just not in the same league as the top guns

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