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Susan Graham|Virgins, Vixens & Viragos

Virgins, Vixens & Viragos

Susan Graham & Malcolm Martineau

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As the title suggests, the album Virgins, Vixens, & Viragos by American mezzo soprano Susan Graham is meant to cover songs and operatic selections (accompanied with piano) having a wide emotional range. It's not always clear which is which in this collection of female figures running from Purcell to Poulenc, and Graham. Graham's strengths -- intelligence and novel choice of repertory -- are fully in evidence here. The album is worth the purchase price for the six Mignon songs (tracks 3-8) alone. These are settings of texts by Goethe, originally from the novel Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre (Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship), and it's hard for a non-German audience to appreciate how familiar they were to German-speaking listeners of a century ago. Graham's set of six songs ranging from Schubert to the early 20th century (one by Tchaikovsky in German, another by Henri Duparc in French) gives a feeling of how the original hearers of these songs might have approached them as new versions of very familiar texts. The rest of the program has attractive finds as well: some pleasant Poulenc songs, a nice integration of Broadway tunes into a predominantly European sequence, and a fine rarity of a Shakespearean aria in the form of a selection from Joseph Horovitz's Lady Macbeth. All this said, though she's vocally in fine form, Graham isn't (and, to be fair, has never been) a singer with whom the word "fun" comes readily to mind. Although the majority of the material here is not in that language, Graham remains a singer of the French school first and foremost, cultivating a controlled elegance rather than a gutsy set of virgins, vixens, and, the one that would seem to need the fun most, viragos (look it up). The bottom line is that Graham fans are likely to eat this up, and it's an offbeat vocal recital for anybody.
© TiVo

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Virgins, Vixens & Viragos

Susan Graham

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1
The Blessed Virgin's Expostulation
00:07:16

Susan Graham, MainArtist - Henry Purcell, Composer - Malcolm Martineau, MainArtist

(C) 2012 PM Classics Ltd (P) 2012 PM Classics Ltd

2
La Mort d'Ophélie
00:07:02

Hector Berlioz, Composer - Susan Graham, MainArtist - Malcolm Martineau, MainArtist

(C) 2012 PM Classics Ltd (P) 2012 PM Classics Ltd

3
"Goethe's Wilhelm Meister" - Lied der Mignon: Heiß mich nicht reden
00:03:44

Franz Schubert, Composer - Susan Graham, MainArtist - Malcolm Martineau, MainArtist

(C) 2012 PM Classics Ltd (P) 2012 PM Classics Ltd

4
"Goethe's Wilhelm Meister" - So laßt mich scheinen
00:02:21

Robert Schumann, Composer - Susan Graham, MainArtist - Malcolm Martineau, MainArtist

(C) 2012 PM Classics Ltd (P) 2012 PM Classics Ltd

5
"Goethe's Wilhelm Meister": Mignon's Lied
00:06:12

Franz Liszt, Composer - Susan Graham, MainArtist - Malcolm Martineau, MainArtist

(C) 2012 PM Classics Ltd (P) 2012 PM Classics Ltd

6
Romance de Mignon
00:03:59

Henri Duparc, Composer - Susan Graham, MainArtist - Malcolm Martineau, MainArtist

(C) 2012 PM Classics Ltd (P) 2012 PM Classics Ltd

7
"Goethe's Wilhelm Meister": Nur wer die Sehnsucht kennt
00:03:02

Susan Graham, MainArtist - Malcolm Martineau, MainArtist - Pyotr Illyich Tchaikovsky, Composer

(C) 2012 PM Classics Ltd (P) 2012 PM Classics Ltd

8
"Goethe's Wilhelm Meister": Kennst du das Land
00:05:44

Hugo Wolf, Composer - Susan Graham, MainArtist - Malcolm Martineau, MainArtist

(C) 2012 PM Classics Ltd (P) 2012 PM Classics Ltd

9
Lady Macbeth
00:07:20

Susan Graham, MainArtist - Malcolm Martineau, MainArtist - Joseph Horovitz, Composer

(C) 2012 PM Classics Ltd (P) 2012 PM Classics Ltd

10
Fiançailles pour rire
00:01:29

Francis Poulenc, Composer - Susan Graham, MainArtist - Malcolm Martineau, MainArtist

(C) 2012 PM Classics Ltd (P) 2012 PM Classics Ltd

11
Fiançailles pour rire
00:02:20

Francis Poulenc, Composer - Susan Graham, MainArtist - Malcolm Martineau, MainArtist

(C) 2012 PM Classics Ltd (P) 2012 PM Classics Ltd

12
Fiançailles pour rire
00:01:48

Francis Poulenc, Composer - Susan Graham, MainArtist - Malcolm Martineau, MainArtist

(C) 2012 PM Classics Ltd (P) 2012 PM Classics Ltd

13
Fiançailles pour rire
00:03:08

Francis Poulenc, Composer - Susan Graham, MainArtist - Malcolm Martineau, MainArtist

(C) 2012 PM Classics Ltd (P) 2012 PM Classics Ltd

14
Fiançailles pour rire
00:02:05

Francis Poulenc, Composer - Susan Graham, MainArtist - Malcolm Martineau, MainArtist

(C) 2012 PM Classics Ltd (P) 2012 PM Classics Ltd

15
Fiançailles pour rire
00:02:43

Francis Poulenc, Composer - Susan Graham, MainArtist - Malcolm Martineau, MainArtist

(C) 2012 PM Classics Ltd (P) 2012 PM Classics Ltd

16
The Physician
00:04:23

Cole Porter, Composer - Susan Graham, MainArtist - Malcolm Martineau, MainArtist

(C) 2012 PM Classics Ltd (P) 2012 PM Classics Ltd

17
Ages Ago
00:03:27

Vernon Duke, Composer - Susan Graham, MainArtist - Malcolm Martineau, MainArtist

(C) 2012 PM Classics Ltd (P) 2012 PM Classics Ltd

18
Les chemins de l'amour
00:03:36

Francis Poulenc, Composer - Susan Graham, MainArtist - Malcolm Martineau, MainArtist

(C) 2012 PM Classics Ltd (P) 2012 PM Classics Ltd

19
The Boy from Tacarembo la Tumbe del Fuego Santa Malipas Zatatecas la Junta del Sol y Cruz
00:02:50

Stephen Sondheim, Composer - Susan Graham, MainArtist - Malcolm Martineau, MainArtist

(C) 2012 PM Classics Ltd (P) 2012 PM Classics Ltd

Album Description

As the title suggests, the album Virgins, Vixens, & Viragos by American mezzo soprano Susan Graham is meant to cover songs and operatic selections (accompanied with piano) having a wide emotional range. It's not always clear which is which in this collection of female figures running from Purcell to Poulenc, and Graham. Graham's strengths -- intelligence and novel choice of repertory -- are fully in evidence here. The album is worth the purchase price for the six Mignon songs (tracks 3-8) alone. These are settings of texts by Goethe, originally from the novel Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre (Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship), and it's hard for a non-German audience to appreciate how familiar they were to German-speaking listeners of a century ago. Graham's set of six songs ranging from Schubert to the early 20th century (one by Tchaikovsky in German, another by Henri Duparc in French) gives a feeling of how the original hearers of these songs might have approached them as new versions of very familiar texts. The rest of the program has attractive finds as well: some pleasant Poulenc songs, a nice integration of Broadway tunes into a predominantly European sequence, and a fine rarity of a Shakespearean aria in the form of a selection from Joseph Horovitz's Lady Macbeth. All this said, though she's vocally in fine form, Graham isn't (and, to be fair, has never been) a singer with whom the word "fun" comes readily to mind. Although the majority of the material here is not in that language, Graham remains a singer of the French school first and foremost, cultivating a controlled elegance rather than a gutsy set of virgins, vixens, and, the one that would seem to need the fun most, viragos (look it up). The bottom line is that Graham fans are likely to eat this up, and it's an offbeat vocal recital for anybody.
© TiVo

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