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Badly Sung Composers

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Author Topic: Badly Sung Composers  (Read 216 times)
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« on: January 18, 2014, 05:20:50 pm »

Actually,the only Hull Youth So recordings I ever listen to are 'In Memoriam' and 'For Valour',and not even those much. I prefer Brian's later music these days! I just don't want to be horrible about them. I mean,what if one of them was reading these posts?!! Shocked Grin

What Cameo Classics and the Hull Youth SO was doing was,in many ways,truly commendable. If only they'd been as good as the LSSO!! Sad

One of the problems with amateur music making I feel,whether it's an orchestral or stage performance,is that while it may be enjoyable if you are actually there in the audience listening or watching,or if it's one of your family performing;listening to it on Lp or cd,in the 'cold light of day',might not be such an enjoyable experience! And even more so,if you were not even there!
On the other side of the coin you might have a performance that is so dire that it has no redeeming quality whatsoever! Not even any atmosphere or fun in the proceedings,not even the unexpected pleasures of a broken spring,a prop that doesn't work or a fainting soloist! The last thing you need is a recording to play at home!
To be fair,I can think of some truly awful professional performances. And even today,most Brian enthusiasts seem to prefer the old LSSO recordings to the professional ones that have been recently released on Dutton and Naxos! But the LSSO were exceptional weren't they?!!

The Ohio Light Opera are another example! Although,according to their website and Wikipedia they are a professional company!
While what they are doing in performing and recording rare operetta is laudable and maybe even enjoyable if you are actually 'there' watching them perform?! As something to listen to over and over again on cd,I'm not so sure!!! According to some reviews I have seen lately,the quality of their recordings does seem to have improved and I hope that is true! Unfortunately,the ones I've listened to have been a decidedly mixed experience! While they do have some good singers,some of them are b***** awful!! Curiously,the women generally seem allot better than the men! In fact,some of the female soloists in their recordings of Oscar Straus's 'The Chocolate Soldier' and Monckton's 'The Arcadians' were acually very good indeed! I also had no problem with their orchestra or the deliver of the dialogue. In fact,I actually rather liked the feeling of being at a live performance. In that respect,their recording of 'The Arcadians' definately scored. But,oh dear,some of the male performers!! And one of the worst cocker-nee accents since Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins!! And I'd been wanting to hear complete performances of these operettas for years!!
To be fair,if you are prepared to grit your teeth through the bits with the dodgier male singers,their 'Arcadians' has allot more fun in it than the better sung but rather humour free emi excerpts! And the female soloist in their 'Chocolate Soldier' has a lovely creamy sounding voice! In fact,to give her credit,she was so good I kept wondering what she was doing with that lot?!!

What I can't understand is the choice of singers. Some good,one or two not bad at all and allot of male singers who are plain b**** awful! Even the barely concealed American accents didn't really bother me. Well,they are American,after all!! I just don't understand why anyone would let some of these soloists soil what might have otherwise have been perfectly enjoyable recordings!
The Arcadians is a particularly wonderful operetta. I would actually go so far as to rate it very highly! I like the inclusion of the dialogue in the Ohio recording because it's an entertaining plot and there was a sense of fun which you don't get in allot of operetta recordings.
I have to say,I have not been impressed by some recent operetta recordings. I fear that the 'golden age' of operetta recording is over and that when we do finally get a complete recording it will either be a dodgy live recording (aka the recent Naxos Leo Fall) or well sung,but devoid of fun!! And I do prefer to have some dialogue,otherwise it just becomes a sequence of songs and choruses and nothing more! This can always be abridged and thanks to modern technolgy,separately tracked for those who don't like it.
As to 'The Chocolate Soldier' (Der Tapfere Soldat). This is the sort of thing that emi electrola could have pulled off with an all star cast years ago. Okay,they may have might have mucked about with the score a little,but at least they would have captured the escapism and glamour that is so essential to this genre of entertainment!

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