Monday, 17 January 2011

Alto can mean fun



The beatific smile of Kathleen Ferrier as she records Father of Heaven

There is a most beautiful aria from Judas Maccabaeus, one of the lesser known oratorios by Handel. It is called Father of Heaven, and has a lightness and tranquility which has rather an un-oratorio quality - especially when this particular aria is for the Alto soloist! Often the Alto solos are on the heavy, and dare I say 'gloomy' side in the great Baroque Oratoria ! They are deliciously melodic and lyrical, but rather dark in quality.

It is such a surprise to hear one which has a feel of a slow Baroque dance, with lots of dotted, bouncy semi quaver runs which give the feeling of an endless toe tripping!


One of my ladies who just passed (magnificently I may say!) her Recital Certificate is singing it, and given that she loves sacred music, it combines every element of a 'soon to be' favourite in her repertoire. It is also not too low, so one does not feel as if one is growling around, darkly and with a sense of foreboding as in 'He was Despised', and were it composed a little higher it could almost be meant for a soprano!

'Joyous' can also be at a slowish tempo, and 'celebration' can also be felt without lots of final top A's B's or C's, and this aria is proof positive.

I forget how lovely arias are that I have not taught for a few years, and it is as if I rediscover them along with the first timer who is learning them. The power of music is so great, and I felt that renewed pleasure this afternoon with this dancing piece of Handel !

I did my Tax return yesterday online, so the cloud is lifted, the accounts are in super apple pie order, and the little patch in my brain which was over loading with maths and £ signs has finally been deleted!

Lets hope that is all that has been deleted !

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