Friday, March 5, 2010


did a trip down to london-town, based around two concerts that i wanted to see/hear: matthais goerne at wigmore hall and sophie daneman with ian bostridge at the amazing middle temple hall. in each case, the venue was as remarkable as the musicians; together, they made for an outstanding sonic experience.

matthais goerne performed a program of exclusively schubert leider. before the show, i attended an erudite lecture about a few of the songs to be performed, which deepened my appreciation later in the evening. i believe i experienced the acoustic phenomenon called the 'singer's formant' at this concert. my perception of pitch was totally scrambled---whereas it's usually pretty alert and accurate---for he consistently sounded low and high at the same time [overtones], lending tremendous warmth to his baritone. goerne seemed to arrange his set so that the loud and low passages were to be sung towards the end---to powerful, almost jarring, effect!! what an emotionally true performer!

second show: sophie daneman and ian interesting mix of french and german solo songs and duets. ian bostridge started solo with a set of 6 schubert leider. i only noticed how gothic [as in tall, thin and saturnine...eyeliner and black nailpolish wouldn't look out of place on him...though he'd most likely disagree] and delicate his demeanor was until sophie daneman took to the stage for her 6 mendelssohn songs. she was light to his darkness, extroversion to his introversion, earth to his air, smiles to his furrowed brow. i began to appreciate the contours of their deliberate musical pairing. it added contrast and drama. for the last two songs of the first half, ian and sophie teamed up for duets.

during intermission, the audience was treated to free [and very good] wine, water and juice. i felt like i was a welcome guest at the sprawling residence of a very wealthy host.

the second half followed a similar contour as the first, but was french instead of german. it is here that i regret the mutual antipathy between my culture and the french which keeps much of french language and culture shrouded in mist and mystery. i wish i could understand the set poetry first hand [ear]. sonically and aesthetically the french songs were the highlight for me, especially the ones composed by gabriel faure and especially his 'clair de lune', sung angelically by mr. bostridge.

have to say that julius drake, the accompanist and curator of the concert deserves mention for how seamless and supportive he was. his playing and presence reminded me of a description of the best acting as the acting you don't notice.

sorry---didn't mean for this to be a critical musical review ;-)


  1. gorgeous writing!

    Faure's clair de lune is one of my favorite songs. I'll take you through it when you're here. Mmmmmm. . . . triste et beau

  2. thanks, anna!

    can't wait to take you up on clair de lune [loon] ;-)