Great Singing

The Mahler songs that have been troubling me (Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen / Songs of a Wayfarer) are starting to come together. Last night I took to YouTube to find a recording of the orchestral arrangement, so I could get some ideas about coloring and dynamics. For example, knowing that certain notes are played by a trumpet in the orchestral arrangement, I would play them with differently than if the same notes were played by a flute.

Proving that wonders of the Internet never cease, I found some great recordings of the legendary Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau from 1951.

Fischer-Dieskau is a singer that John Oliver always refers to when he talks about great singing and “singing words.” His diction and commitment to the words are so extraordinary that after listening to the recordings twice through (and emailing them to the singer I’m working with), I found that I had completely ignored the orchestra, which was my whole purpose to begin with.

Before class today, I mentioned to the piano professor that the piano reduction was difficult and I had given up trying to play all the notes on the page. He said, “Oh yes, you have to drop notes, but you have to be selective about which ones you drop.” That makes me feel better!

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