Wednesday, 22 May 2013

More from Durham and Gateshead

So what other performances moved me during my North East sojourn ?! Quite a number actually. A young soprano, S sang to me with such honesty I was very touched. She gave me such an open tone and a directness it had real integrity. I love honesty in performance almost above everything. Beautiful sounds are wonderful, they ring around the room and one's head, but the gorgeous tone quality in the world is meaningless without a soul behind it. I once remember Dame Janet saying that she did not feel that she had a particularly beautiful instrument, but she did fee that she had something to say, and I for one, am eternally grateful, she certainly 'spoke' to me through her performances. Well young S spoke to me.

Another youngster sang the Britten Corpus Christi Carol, a lovely, spare melodic line which lives on it's hypnotic and repetitive phrases. She had the sort of 'hanging' quality which was entirely perfect for this song, and after a little pushing encouragement she told the story with depth and warmth. A small tweak to her opening Ah vowel freed up the long sustained notes and she was 'up and away' and worked so very hard.

There was a superb 20 minutes with one of the youngsters of just 16 at the Sage. A small and rather fearful performance of a Granados song was transformed into a sizeable and telling performance by asking her to tell the story as if she was a kindergarten teacher telling it to a class of naughty 5 year olds ! This distraction technique works almost every time without fail. She completely forgot about singing as such, and allowed her whole body and mind be transported into an imaginary situation, and suddenly her voice works as God meant it too ! Naturally ! There were sounds popping out all over the place, which were rich, round and resonant. Well done C !

More to come...............

Watch this space!

The music school at Durham University, and below the fantastical Sage, Gateshead. From the sublime to the amazing.......


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