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out of sync

There is some truth in comparing opera singers to trumpets (the result of their training to sound as loud as possible). Also, most of the time, they hardly care about the meaning of the lyrics they´re singing.

(The picture here is with Jackie Tice, a Cherokee artist who sings in Cherokee, as they speak today.)

I remember talking with this Swedish singer who had sung a medieval piece in "French". She´s very good, has still an ongoing career. And I told her I had hardly understood the text of what she sang in "old French". She told me - in French actually - it was the way it was taught in the Early music scene, the result of studies from Japanese and German professors. I had already met the same kind of answer from some friends of mine in Augsburg, also into "Medieval" music:

it was all my fault, as a French person, I should learn to speak French as not-French people do.

So: not-French people singing in French in a way French people won´t understand, just because some not-French people decided it had to be so.

None of them even thought that today Canadians in Quebec still speak a French that everybody recognizes as the way French aristocrats used to speak in the XVIth century and that they could find there some orientation.

I might be more conservative than they are, but for me, independently of the times it was created, art stays communication. A piece in French or in any other language should be sung in a way that people of this language can understand, and not following some trendy ethereal aesthetics.

Keshavram Iengar, my Indian master, said it was a shame and almost an insult when modern singers would not care about the meaning of the words - and spiritually, a huge mistake because listeners would be misled, not understanding the real meaning of the rite, as traditional music IS a ritual act (and called karma).

As I listen to the radio once a week while driving, this week on the German BR-Klassik Radio I listened to some Antonín Dvořák romantic poop with 2 singers. I decided to be brave and support these awful vibratos to the end (kudos).

Couldn´t get a word - but then the (G-)host said "ow sorry, this was sung in Czech, of course, not German".

No, really, happily there are exceptions, but these vibratos are for me a sign of bad taste and a cheap way of cutting through people´s emotions very comparable to turning a knife into a wound. Curiously, these overdone vibratos started with the Renaissance, though nobody knows for sure.

Which reminds me of these two news: some years ago, in Bayreuth, they chose a stage director because he hated Wagner, just as in Salzburg they chose someone as a new Intendant because he hated Mozart.

I don´t know what you think, but to me, it seems our elites are a bit out of sync.

The Wind Cries Satie
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Gilles Zimmermann

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