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Viola da gamba, Isenheim Altarpiece, Colmar (Alsace)

Yesterday, I posted a Baroque interpretation of “Plaisir d’amour” and a modern rendition, sung by Marian Anderson.  Conductor Arturo Toscanini said of Marian Anderson that she had a voice “heard once in a hundred years” (Marian Anderson).

A century is a very long time, but Marian Anderson’s performance of “Plaisir d’amour” brought me greater pleasure than the more authentic Baroque version.  I liked the slower pace, but particularly charming was Marian Anderson’s ability to sing the highest notes with minimum obvious recourse to the various techniques used by most mezzo-sopranos or sopranos.

This comment is in praise of Marian Anderson.  I am in no way criticizing Poème Harmonique artists who are thorough professionals and perform to perfection.   But how can one demand of the very best of sopranos to match a voice “heard once in a hundred years.”

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photo credit: under viola da gamba, Wikipedia
Micheline Walker©
September 21st, 2012
composer: Jean de Sainte-Colombe (1640 – 1700)
piece: Suite for solo viola da gamba
performer: John Dornenburg (viola da gamba)
a viola da gamba resembles a cello