It’s a spectacularly beautiful day in D.C.; feels more like the height of summer than the first day of fall, but I’m ready for my fall music.
First, listening a lot to to BR-Klassik these days, and recently they did an hour on the Bulgarian soprano Anna Tomowa-Sintow, a somewhat overlooked singer of the 80s and 90s. This cut of her singing Adriane’s glowing, if gloomy, aria “Es gibt ein Reich” from Strauss’ Adriane auf Naxos caught my ear. Not fall music perhaps on the face of it, but so much of what Strauss wrote seems steeped in shadow. Check out the harmonic modulation at the end and how she glides through it effortlessly.
Next, Lotte Lenya singing Weill’s “September Song.” Weill was lucky with his collaborators (although I guess he loathed Brecht with the force of a thousand suns). Here the graceful lyrics are by the playwright Maxwell Anderson, and the song comes from a mostly forgotten musical called Knickerbocker Holiday. Lenya’s dusky voice is the opposite of Tomowa-Sintow’s gleam, but at the same, her singing makes you think she’s sitting right across from you in a Berlin cafe, beguiling you through the cigarette smoke.
And now, just because it caught my interest on the Gramophone music site. Decca has just released “The Lost Songs of St. Kilda” an effort to preserve songs from a tiny island off Scotland, uninhabited since the 1930s, and 3 hours from Skye (that’s a ways out there!). They made a video of a trip to the island to bring the music back, complete with composer James MacMillan and his piano. Both composer and instrument survived the trip.
Gorgeous video and moving project.
More info at http://lostsongsofstkilda.com/