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General Category => Composition Topic of the Month => Topic started by: sandalwood on February 02, 2019, 02:42:29 PM

Title: February, 2019: Your Favorite Pieces for Accompanied Solo Human Voice
Post by: sandalwood on February 02, 2019, 02:42:29 PM
When, not long ago, Mark shared the program of a summer concert by his orchestra, it became evident that Strauss'  Four Last Songs had a large fan base among the forum members. Will you let us know a few more of your favorite pieces/passages that feature the human voice as soloist? Any elaboration on why you favor them, welcome. Is there a specific period/era/school that you think turned out the best works?
Title: Re: February, 2019: Your Favorite Pieces for Accompanied Solo Human Voice
Post by: Michel.R.E on February 02, 2019, 05:21:02 PM
I'll have to think on this one. Most of my favourite vocal works are either choral or operatic, not so much "lied with orchestra".
Title: Re: February, 2019: Your Favorite Pieces for Accompanied Solo Human Voice
Post by: amdg on February 02, 2019, 07:20:09 PM
As an aside to the Strauss Lieder:  many years ago when I was a student at Michigan State University, I attended a concert one evening.  The artist was Leontyne Price, and part of her program included the Strauss "Four Last Songs."  I couldn't believe what I was hearing, as I had never heard these before.  I was simply transfixed. 

This was the only time I ever thought of going backstage to meet a performer, but I felt I had to that evening.  After the concert there were several people who had gone backstage; and after a short time, Miss Price came out and signed programs.  As I waited in line I heard her tell someone ahead of me that she was working very hard on the Strauss music.  So when I approached her I complimented her performance of the songs.  Nothing more to it than that, but that night's concert and Miss Price's performance of the Strauss Lieder has always stayed with me.

Brian
Title: Re: February, 2019: Your Favorite Pieces for Accompanied Solo Human Voice
Post by: sandalwood on February 02, 2019, 07:33:17 PM
Saying "pieces/passages", I meant to include all sorts of opera, cantata, etc arias, songs and all. Anything counts from lute accompanied Renaissance songs to Schubert lieder to Bel Canto opera arias to an alto passage in a Mahler symphony or a passage from Pierrot Lunaire. Accompanied solo voice is the only qualification.

Title: Re: February, 2019: Your Favorite Pieces for Accompanied Solo Human Voice
Post by: flint on February 02, 2019, 11:39:30 PM
The older I get the less I want to hear the human voice... the last pieces I wrote for voice were back in college.

Now if vocal music comes on any of the classical channels I listen to, I just turn it to something else. I think the only exceptions for me right now are "Uranus" from The Planets and "Sirènes" from Debussy's Nocturnes.
Title: Re: February, 2019: Your Favorite Pieces for Accompanied Solo Human Voice
Post by: Michel.R.E on February 03, 2019, 12:20:52 AM
I guess this will also sort of show how wide the range of my musical preferences lies.
Purcel: "Dido's Lament" from "Dido and Aeneus" (the whole opera is gorgeous)
Bach: B minor Mass, any part of it.
Mozart: "Le Nozze de Figaro", again, pretty much any part
Mozart: "Zauberflaute", ditto

There's not much in the 19th century that I can really say I like, at least, not until the end of the 19th century, where you'll find the following...
Rimsky-Korsakov: almost all his operas
Borodin: "Knyas Igar"
Mussorgsky: "Boris Godounov", ALL of this magnificent opera (though I prefer Rimsky-Korsakov's version of it. He re-orchestrated it, and made some cuts here and there, which make it stand better). If you do NOT know this opera, it is a monument and you NEED to know it. If nothing at all, at least listen to the coronation scene, in the Rimsky-Korsakov version. It is absolutely TERRIFYING.
Puccini: every. single. note. My personal favourites are the final aria of Suor Angelica, and Liu's two arias in the final act of Turandot (technically, Turandot is a 20th century work, having been composed very shortly before the composer's death)

Then we come to the 20th century...
Hindemith: "Mathis der Maler" (gorgeous opera. a bit austere, but still beautiful)
Hindemith (again): "A Requiem for Those We Love" (ALL of this magnificent and ingenious score)
Ravel: "L'Enfant et les sortilèges", in particular the Fire aria, the child's solo (le Cœur de la rose), and the beautiful fugue that finishes off the opera.
Debussy: "Pelléas et Melisande".... ok, this is a special case. The opera itself is duller than dishwater. You really HOPE the characters would hurry up and die, already. But dammit, the music is gorgeous.

A bit closer to our time...
Goldenthal: "Fire, Water, Paper, A Vietnam Oratorio". I'm partial to the 2nd movement "Scherzo".

And maybe a tad outside the "box" of classical music, though if you study it closely you realize it isn't really that "non classical"
Sondheim: "Into the Woods" (the film version is quite well done, intelligent cuts, pretty good performances by non-singers)
Sondheim: "Sweeney Todd" (do NOT make the unforgivable error of watching the film.. it is absolutely HORRIBLE)
Sondheim: "Sunday in the Park with George" an absolute  masterpiece (which won the Pulitzer prize for music), and it speaks directly to the heart of "what is art, what is an artist, what does an artist strive for".
Sondheim: "Passion". A weird story, but oh such beautiful music.
Sondheim: "Pacific Overtures". There's nothing to be said about this wonderful piece, other than that it is wonderful.

And cheesy me, sorry, I LOVE Disney's "Frozen". I know, I'm such a 12yr old girl at heart.
Title: Re: February, 2019: Your Favorite Pieces for Accompanied Solo Human Voice
Post by: Jerry Engelbach on February 03, 2019, 03:41:39 AM
Whew. Too many to list.
 
But Mahler's Songs of a Wayfarer started running through my head. I haven't heard it in a long time, and this thread is pushing me to listen to it again.
 
Cheers,
Jer
 

Title: Re: February, 2019: Your Favorite Pieces for Accompanied Solo Human Voice
Post by: gogreen on February 03, 2019, 05:32:51 AM
Quote
Sondheim: "Pacific Overtures". There's nothing to be said about this wonderful piece, other than that it is wonderful.
Yes! I saw "Pacific Overtures" on Broadway in New York City with the original cast four times in the 1970s. Love it!
Title: Re: February, 2019: Your Favorite Pieces for Accompanied Solo Human Voice
Post by: mjf1947 on February 03, 2019, 06:37:07 AM
Delibes: Lakmé - Duo des fleurs

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C1ZL5AxmK_A

Sublime.....................

Mark
Title: Re: February, 2019: Your Favorite Pieces for Accompanied Solo Human Voice
Post by: sandalwood on February 04, 2019, 11:20:23 AM
Too many beautiful works, some already mentioned by fellow members. Below are just a few further examples. As you'll see I mostly have simple tastes and don't mind still loving some old hats :):

Debussy: Il Pleure dans Mon Coeur
Ravel: 3 Poèmes de Stéphane Mallarmé; Shéhérazade
Lili Boulanger: songs; solo tenor passages in Vieille Prière Bouddhique. Impressionist, ethereal.
Villa-Lobos: Bachianas Brasilieras, 5. Still beautiful.
Rachmaninoff: Vocalise. ditto.
Prokofiev: Op 27 (last four of the song cycle). Modern and lyrical.
Barber: Sure on This Shining Night.  Stunning despite the language.
Szymanowski: songs and other works, Songs of an Infatuated Muezzin, in particular.  He combines Western Asian/Mediterranean and Impressionist influences
Handel:  Lascia ch'io pianga; "Ah! Mio cor!"  from Alcina.
Bach: "Seele, deine Spezereien"  Soprano Aria from BWV 249; "Konnen Tranen meiner Wangen"  Alto Aria from BWV 244.
Vivaldi: Sovente il sole from Andromeda Liberata; Filiae Maestae Jerusalem from RV 638  Introduzione.
Pergolesi:  Stabat Mater (Dolorosa) (duet like the beautiful Lakme).
Mozart: Laudate Dominum from K 339. Everybody can't, Kühmeier recommended
Title: Re: February, 2019: Your Favorite Pieces for Accompanied Solo Human Voice
Post by: Michel.R.E on February 04, 2019, 01:13:14 PM
YES!
This aria brings me to tears every. single. time.
And here it is, beautifully sung by Philippe Jaroussky:
"Lascia ch'io pianga" (https://youtu.be/KxnBjAaJWCc)

And here's that excerpt from the underrated masterpiece, "Dido and Aeneas":
Dido's Lament and death (https://youtu.be/ou8A0g_jYyA)
Title: Re: February, 2019: Your Favorite Pieces for Accompanied Solo Human Voice
Post by: sandalwood on February 04, 2019, 02:30:43 PM
And here's that excerpt from the underrated masterpiece, "Dido and Aeneas":
Dido's Lament and death (https://youtu.be/ou8A0g_jYyA)

Who said it is underrated :) I adore it!

Heart-wrenching in the extreme, guaranteed tears every time.
Title: Re: February, 2019: Your Favorite Pieces for Accompanied Solo Human Voice
Post by: sandalwood on February 04, 2019, 03:13:53 PM
...and yes, a good singer/performance makes a world of difference. So, here are the better recordings I have come across with the Baroque works. Jaroussky is always a good choice, where available.:

Handel:  Lascia ch'io pianga https://youtu.be/KxnBjAaJWCc
"Ah! Mio cor!"  from Alcina https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iCSts2M0Yvo

Bach: "Seele, deine Spezereien"  Soprano Aria from BWV 249  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vjZSyrgxNXM
"Konnen Tranen meiner Wangen"  Alto Aria from BWV 244  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xG9-W0cJQqw

Vivaldi: Sovente il sole from Andromeda Liberata https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uft8omfaato
Filiae Maestae Jerusalem from RV 638  Introduzione https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kkJC8p48g6g

Pergolesi:  Stabat Mater (Dolorosa) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h9ZET0kU9qs
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mNt13Vw-K6Q (not Jaroussky but very good, imo).

I add this one because there are some horrible recordings on the tube

Prokofiev: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4A8xkOqGCoo 
Title: Re: February, 2019: Your Favorite Pieces for Accompanied Solo Human Voice
Post by: Patrick O'Keefe on February 05, 2019, 11:40:40 AM
My favorite work for accompanied voice is (and has been for the past 50 years, so it's not likely to be dethroned) is Mahler's "Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen".  Very much in the same mold as Strauss' Four Last Songs.  Or rather, it built the mold for Strauss' Four Last Songs.  Finding an online recording that does justice to both the orchestra and voice was difficult, this one is pretty good
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WCUr5ydMuGA
Title: Re: February, 2019: Your Favorite Pieces for Accompanied Solo Human Voice
Post by: sandalwood on February 05, 2019, 01:38:14 PM
That's a great piece, Pat! I tend to think of it as Mahler (his person, too) in a nutshell.

Kozena (a big favorite) should have been born an auburn, me thinks :).