In order of preference, my favorite vocal ranges are:
The vocalist on today’s CD is in the mezzo-soprano range.
Which means that I can enjoy this music even if I don’t enjoy this music.
Believe it or not, I just discovered a YouTube video clip titled How to Sing Mezzo Soprano. (Not that I intend to learn it, mind you. I’d need a YouTube clip titled “How to Sing When You Can’t Carry a Tune If Your Life Depended On It.”)
Too many to name. There are 26 tracks on today’s CD, totaling over one hour of music.
Stephanie Iranyi mezzo-soprano
Helmut Deutsch piano
Compared to the previous couple of CDs, this is a breath of fresh air.
But it’s still only a breath.
True fresh air would be Steve Perry, formerly of Journey. That’s a tenor I can enjoy.
Or dramatic soprano Floor Jansen of Nightwish.
I could listen to those people all day long.
These Brahms Songs CDs…
Not so much.
What a difference a voice makes!
Today’s CD (“Songs III”) features new performers all round:
Florian Prey baritone
Anna Haase mezzo-soprano
Norbert Groh piano
Baritone and mezzo-soprano are two of my least favorite vocal ranges.
I’m a tenor and soprano man.
That doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate the talents of a gifted baritone and mezzo-soprano. On the contrary, I can tell Florian Prey is an exceptional singer, powerful and controlled. Anna Haase is also quite pleasant. There’s just something about her vocal range that reminds me of church ladies singing in a choir, circa 1962. (Although I will admit Track 12 – “Gretels Warnung Op. 75” – is lively and fun.)
So I mean no disrespect to these performers. I can hear they’re gifted and accomplished. Their ranges are just not in my sweet spot.
The 16 tracks on Songs III all seem to sound the same. Plus, I notice that most of them at of the Wo0? designation, which means Beethoven considered them Without Opus (WoO) number. Whenever I see a Wo0 composition, I immediately think it’s lesser somehow.
NOTE: I’m in the home stretch listening to Beethoven’s music. There remains just eight CDs in the Beethoven Complete Edition published by Brilliant Classics. I’m looking forward to the next phase of my three-year journey. But I’m going to be sad to see Beethoven go.