Hi everyone, after starting my previous blog, I realized I should have a special one for opera and maybe throw in a bit of classical in there too. I've considered myself an "advanced beginner" for a long time, knowledge-wise about opera and I don't ever want to stop learning. This blog will be a shameless self-indulgent one, filled with my personal favorites: from song cycles to arias, to classical songs and may throw in a bit of lyrical variety. I
hope you enjoy my choices, if you enjoy opera and feel free to let me know if you have your own favorites. Thanks for indulging me! Take care and hugs to all, sincerely, Sylvie <3

 

 

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Comment by sylvie boisvert on December 28, 2016 at 3:11am

Hi everyone, this is truly a sad occasion to be posting here, especially for a “Star Wars” geek like me... I can hardly believe I’m posting this, but as a tribute to a big part of my adolescence which has, as TV reports have stated today, reached the stars, I would like to underline the sad passing of actress Carrie Fisher, who’s most notable screen role was of course, princess Leia Organa, from episode IV and following ones of the series. I read somewhere that she was 19 when George Lucas discovered and cast her in the Leia role. She had apparently made her screen debut in the movie “Shampoo” 2years prior.  She had appeared in recent years as herself on the sitcom “The big bang theory”, had just released her third memoir and will be last seen next year in episode VIII of the series, which had wrapped filming last July. In memory of this iconic  princess moving to legendary status, I’d like to send her off with the beautiful and elegant music of John Williams composed for her character, “Leia’s theme” from the original film that started it all:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HoMfL2MYIa8

Rest in peace dear Carrie and God bless your feisty and beautiful soul. We know you know, but it bares repeating that we love you. Thanks for reading and listening, sincerely, Sylvie <3

Comment by sylvie boisvert on December 12, 2016 at 3:54pm

Hi everyone, I’ll probably have tons of music to share with you in the next little while, because through a series of fortunate events, I’ve scheduled myself a music history class on the radio, which has been quite enlightening and enriching, thanks to one of my favorite CBC Radio  2 personalities, Mr Paolo Pietropaolo. I’ll frankly have to go through a list! In the meantime, another source of classical music, Radio-Classique, gave me this present as I woke up this morning:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u2WfNJFI6Fs

It’s a beautiful holiday song by the Three Tenors called “Dormi O Bambino” and I want to dedicate it to my “fratello de un' altra madre”. It’s on their  wonderful Christmas CD, which is one of my top 10 if not top 5 holiday CDs. I hope you enjoy. Thanks for reading and listening, sincerely, Sylvie <3

Comment by sylvie boisvert on November 28, 2016 at 4:17am

Hi everyone, I’m starting to believe that it’ll take me more than one lifetime to listen to all the music, composers and musicians I want to... so I’d better do this quick! lol But seriously, I’ve been trying to catch up to musical shows, on the radio of all places  and thanks to the fact that I’m actually taking the time to listen, I’ve just discovered a beautiful piece by an unknown to me composer. This, is a lovely piece called “Langsamer satz” (slow movement or slow piece) by and Austrian composer named Anton Webern. From what I understand, this composer was known for atonality and is a contemporary of Alban Berg, which is not exactly in my wheelhouse, but this piece isn’t atonal. The wonderful thing about it is that it was apparently inspired by love. :D I’ll paste the details provided by YouTube.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vdGDHGk_49w

- Composer: Anton Webern (3 December 1883 -- 15 September 1945)

- Performers: Emerson String Quartet

- Year of recording: 1992

“Langsamer Satz {Slow Movement} for string quartet, written in 1905.

One movement: Langsam, mit bewegtem Ausdruck

Webern composed this work for string quartet in June 1905, but it wasn't publicly performed until 27 May 1962, in Seattle (Washington, USA) by the University of Washington String Quartet. The Langsamer Satz (literally "Slow Movement") originated during a hiking trip in Lower Austria that Webern took with his cousin, Wilhelmine Mörtl, who later became his wife. It is love music, as Webern diarized ecstatically -- an outpouring by the 21-year-old composer, whose studies with Arnold Schoenberg had begun the previous autumn.

"To walk forever like this among the flowers, with my dearest one beside me, to feel oneself so entirely at one with the Universe, without care, free as the lark in the sky above -- Oh what splendor...when night fell (after the rain) the sky shed bitter tears but I wandered with her along a road," wrote Webern in language reminiscent of the poet Richard Dehmel, who had inspired Schoenberg's Verklärte Nacht -- a work not without influence on the present composition. "A coat protected the two of us. Our love rose to infinite heights and filled the Universe. Two souls were enraptured." The Langsamer Satz is tonal music, albeit chromatic, firmly ensconsed in a tradition stretching from Liszt through Wagner to Hugo Wolf, Richard Strauss, and Mahler. The last named had not as yet entranced Webern, but during the 1930s he led Vienna's Workingmen Symphony Orchestra in readings of Mahler's music allegedly as insightful as Bruno Walter's, and certainly more comprehensive.

Webern wrote tonal music for several more years after 1905 -- until, as Schoenberg's most intuitive pupil, he became "more Catholic than the Pope," to borrow an apposite aphorism (it nettled the Master when Webern anticipated his serial dicta, especially as regards rhythm). The Langsamer Satz is one of the longest of all Webern works (though this version by the Emerson String Quartet is rather fast), longer even than In Sommerwind that preceded it, or the Passacaglia, Op. 1, both orchestral, that followed. (With Webern's radical renunciation of tonality came a new minimalism.) It has a root key, C minor, and a traditional sonata-form structure.”

So that’s about it for today’s music history lesson. :D It’s truly beautiful, fittingly inspired by love so hope you enjoy. Thanks for reading and listening, sincerely, Sylvie <3

Comment by sylvie boisvert on August 22, 2016 at 5:57pm

Hi everyone, today I bring you a couple of beautiful pieces, courtesy of CBC Radio 2 weekend listening. Both pieces have strings and beauty in common, but are different in consistency. The first one, Antonin Dvoràk’s “romance” for violin & orchestra in F major,

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0dFHuCXqvx4

...is played with orchestra and is more airy, fluid and light. In contrast, Joseph Haydn’s String Quartet No 62 in C Major, Op 76 3,'Emperor'II Poco adagio Cantabile:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rBBAyIoQYwE

is as gorgeous, but has more of a static beauty, as if you were trying to describe every detail of a Van Gogh painting. The CBC site was thrifty with details on the Haydn piece and having heard it only once, I remembered it was beautiful though not the melody, so I'm not 100% sure this was the right one. However, searching YouTube, I think I should probably compile a Haydn adaggio CD! Anyway, I do hope you enjoy. Thanks for reading and listening, sincerely, Sylvie <3

Comment by sylvie boisvert on August 18, 2016 at 5:07pm

Hi everyone, today I’m sharing an old and I mean very old favorite. It’s one of those pieces you always recognize but can’t necessarily put your finger on the title. Frankly, it’s one of those pieces that come into your mind like a cool summer breeze and you can just appreciate when it caresses your right frontal lobe... ;D Just for the heck of it, I will share the title and the first source I remember hearing it  from: J.S. Bach's Cello Suite No.1,  Prelude by one of my favorite cellists, Mr Yo-Yo Ma

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PCicM6i59_I

Ah, nice and refreshing! I do hope you enjoy. Thanks  so much for reading and listening, sincerely, Sylvie <3

Comment by sylvie boisvert on July 12, 2016 at 3:32pm

Hi everyone, today I’m bringing a sunny and warm piece composed by a much lesser known Czeck composer and violinist named Josef Suk. The poor guy doesn’t even have his own Wikipedia page. He lived from 1874 to 1935, which has him at the tail end of the romantic era and beginning of the contemporary one. Julie Nesrala at CBC labeled him as “the other Czeck composer”, but he even comes after Janacek, as far as renoun goes. Well anyway, I’ll need to research his music a bit more, but the piece I’ve heard was his “Serenade”, apparently known as “Serenade for strings op 6” and here it is:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WtEQsOSVkbM

From what I’ve read so far on YouTube, the length of this piece can go from 25 to 30 minutes or so, but it truly is, a quiet and sunny uplifting piece and I do hope you take the time to listen. This is definitely going into my top 20 new favorites. Thanks for reading and listening, sincerely, Sylvie <3

Comment by sylvie boisvert on July 11, 2016 at 5:43pm

Hi everyone, today’s entry is courtesy of CBC Radio 2 and my relentless need to remember where I’ve heard a piece before. I knew I’d heard it by another instrument, although I did enjoy the guitar transcription. Here it is on the classical guitar,

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lNg9iMQDnIM

This piece is called “Minuet in G Major” and was originally thought to be by Johann Sebastian Bach, since it was part of the 1725 “Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach (JS’s 2nd wife), a compilation of music from the late 17th and early 18th century. It was one of several anonymous pieces. In the 1970’s, the Minuet in G major was finally identified as a piece from a harpsichord suite by Dresden organist Christian Petzold, along with its companion piece, the “Minuet in G minor”. Here are both pieces, the way they were meant to be on harpsichord:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hgl_X4__Kig

here is the separate “Minuet in G minor” on piano:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EAdTR5TlxAo

Wikipedia had this fun tidbit, that in pop culture, the melody was heard in “A lover’s concerto” by girl group The Toys in 1965:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGDZc9bdUZM

My recollection of it was the melody on the cello:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cp_6Wr2DfPU

However, the source of my recollection was a little more intricate and let’s say untraditional. :D From the 1984 movie “Electric Dreams”, here’s “The duel” by Giorgio Moroder

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QcADCoV8Bt8

I loved that movie! XD I can’t say I’m a big fan of electronic synthesized music, but Giorgio Moroder produced some great disco music back in the day and I love the “Flashdance” soundtrack also. As a little bonus to help suithe the savage  breast after this latest one, here is a nice G minor rendition on the harp:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1rcZwfTMYIc

That’s it for today, I do hope you’ve enjoyed some of this. Thanks for reading and listening, sincerely, Sylvie <3

Comment by sylvie boisvert on May 24, 2016 at 3:57pm

Hi everyone, today I bring you 2 very different pieces that only have their delicate nature as a common thread. The first one, I confess, isn’t technically classical, but is a piano instrumental that is/was a staple of the TV-watching public throughout the 70’s and early 80’s. It’s the melody you’d recognize, but Might not necessarily put your finger on it. Composed in 1972, it was the background music on Salada tea ads for many years, this is composer Hagood Hardy’s “The homecoming”:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bKu2j7BJZA0

It’s a nice little comforting piece that almost made me feel like having tea in a nice sunlit room in fancy china cups. :D It’s in my list of few select piano pieces I enjoy. Checking Wiki, I found Mr Hardy shared a birthday with our Michael and though he was born in Indiana, he was an adopted Canadian and in 1992, he even joined the Order Of Canada. Now the second one I’ve posted before, but it’s one of those classics that bares repeating, though this is a different link with a more basic interpretation. Here is Beethoven’s “Moonlight sonata”:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5-MT5zeY6CU

It’s one of those pieces that is minimalistic, but somehow, conveys wisdom in its solemnity. It’s simple and yet riveting enough that it compells you to just stop and be in the moment. This was the last piece I heard before turning the radio off yesterday. I was rushing off to tackle my multi-tasking day and it made me stop and turn up the radio as I enjoyed my morning coffee. I invite you to try it: you might like it. :D  That’s it for now, thanks for reading and listening, sincerely, Sylvie <3

Comment by sylvie boisvert on April 14, 2016 at 4:58pm

Hi everyone, I’m afraid I don’t get to listen to as much classical music these days and in my limited time, not much has caught my attention lately, but something did, a couple of weeks ago. This is a contemporary composer unknown to me, named Petros Shoujounian. He’s Armenian-Canadian, born in 1957 and immigrated to Canada in the 70’s. The Quatuor Molinari who recorded this piece, are apparently great champions of Canadian composers and have just released a full CD of Shoujounian’s 3-6 string quartets. The one that caught my attention is the third and here is the second movemen called “Arpa”:

                   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-8Y3XkgMz-4

It’s obviously the adaggio, which is the slow movement, slow enough  and yet, still moving you forward in the story of the music: really gorgeous. It seems the entire CD is available on YouTube thanks to Naxos, but I’m looking forward to holding out and listening in my living-room. That’s it for now, thanks for reading and listening, sincerely, Sylvie <3

Comment by sylvie boisvert on April 5, 2016 at 5:30pm

Hi everyone, I have something pretty exciting to share with you today. I came across this while browsing through Opéra De Montréal’s next season: the creation of “Another brick in the wall” opera! Roger Waters is apparently very impressed with what he’s heard and very excited about it. Here’s a 15 minute Q&A/press conference where he discusses it:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXytbS0Ty24

 They’ve kept the Roger Waters  libretto and the composer is Julien Bilodeau. Here is an excerpt:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eKVcl4KAD8c

I so wish I could go, or at the very least that they’d record this, because it will feature my favorite baritone Étienne Dupuis as Pink. As usual, I did a little research on the subject and I had no idea of the strong Canadian and even Montreal connection to the entire “The wall” project: the catalyst being an incident happening in Montreal and the album “The wall” being co-produced by Canadian producer Bob Ezrin. This has been a very educational morning, from the interview to the Wiki research, whichwill probably take me into another entry, a few weeks from now. I’ve just reserved the recording of Roger Waters’ first opera called “Ça ira (there is hope)” which features my favorite bass-baritoneBryn Terfel and our MB-connection, Ying Huang soprano from the “Christmas in Vienna” CD. I don’t know what to expect, but I’m excited about it. Well that’s it for now, thanks so much for reading and listening, sincerely, Sylvie <3

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