Monday, June 22, 2009

Opus 101

I really want to write my rant about the Twilight obsession that the majority of the populace seems to be going through, but it makes me too cross to write about and I can't be cross tonight because I'm page-turning for one of my bestest friends in the whole wide world and if I screw up the page-turns while he's playing that godforsaken cello sonata on the piano, I'm dead.

So I'm going to tell you about something I'm loving at the moment instead.

I'm currently listening to Susan Graham, an exquisite mezzo-soprano, singing a CD just bursting at the seams with songs composed by Ned Rorem. I can't recommend this CD enough.

I am an avid fan of Ned Rorem. He has such a good eye for poetry, and selects such inspiring works to set. I am forever falling in love with poem after poem after singing it in one of Rorem's settings. Secondly, he appears to have an acute understanding of the voice and how to articulate said beautiful poetry. I mostly hate musicology, so I won't try to sound all wanky, but his methods of vocal setting are just exquisite. Exquisite! I love all of his songs, and am eager to try more and more and more!

And what can I say about Susan Graham? My God. She is more my idol than any other singer on this planet. I mean, I love Jessye Norman with my heart and soul, and nothing will ever convince me not to love and idolise her, but Susan Graham's voice is the one voice on earth that I most identify with. I love her tone, her warmth, the richness of her sound. She is so real, so gorgeously honest. She is not the same kind of soprano as me; I honestly do believe that I will turn out to be a lyric soprano of sorts, whilst Susan is defined properly as some sort of mezzo-soprano. I'm not really sure, I'm not too savvy with all the different terms for sopranos. I don't really care, either. Having been the subject of so many arguments about "Is she a mezzo-soprano?" "Is she a soprano?" for years, I couldn't care less about defining one by their voice type. I mean, shit. Get over it. Yes, yes, it's important to be aware of one's voice type, and gently educate it and grow and learn, yada yada yada, sing the right roles for opera without damaging one's voice, et cetera, but honestly - when it all comes down to it - just sing.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes. Susan Graham is a creature of loveliness. She is so rewarding to listen to. Wonderful enunciation, gorgeously warm tone, fabulous spin and momentum, and such an air of intelligence that you can't help but be drawn in. What a star. I love her. Lots of love.

So my point is that you should get ahold of Susan Graham's "Songs of Ned Rorem". Malcolm Martineau plays the piano for her, and he is, of course, beyond comparison... I had the opportunity to meet him last year, and I found him to be an entirely very intelligent, intuitive pianist with more brains and passion that all the singers in the world put together.

I do have another CD of Ned Rorem's works on which Ned Rorem actually plays, but I just cannot abide the singer. Carole Farley, I believe her name is. I do not mean to disrespect her, but her methods of performing art song are just so far removed from my own that I find her very difficult to listen to...

I should be off now! 'Twas a pleasure listening to Susan Graham and sharing her with you.


  1. If you like Ned Rorem's music and Susan Graham's singing, check out the website On the "Listen" page there is a live recording from Carnegie Hall of Susan Graham singing Rorem songs, recorded last month.

  2. I would be interested in your twilight rant when you get to it. I haven't read the books, but saw the movie... hype way over the top is all I can say.