Day 360: Songs and Duets II

BrahmsCD54Instant ugh.

A change in performers today results in a CD that’s far less enjoyable.

The Performers:

Stephanie Iranyi mezzo-soprano

Michael Volle baritone

Helmut Deutsch piano

Any time I encounter a mezzo-soprano and a baritone together I know I’m in for a fingernails-on-the-chalkboard experience.

Sure enough.

The fun that I discovered on yesterday’s CD has been replaced with songs that sound, on balance, heavy, serious, weighty, important, and lugubrious. (With few exceptions, of course, such as Track 4: “Der Jager und sein Liebchen,” which tries hard to be upbeat but that mezzo-soprano vocal range just gives me a headache.)

I just can’t get into this music.

Day 358: Songs X

BrahmsCD52A year ago, if someone had told me I’d be listening to 10 CDs in a row of Classical music songs sung in German I’d have laughed in her face.

But here I am, listening to 10 CDs in a row of Classical music songs sung in German.

But I’m not laughing.

Frankly, if I wanted to listen to this many CDs in a row that feature songs, I’d have picked The Eagles (granted, they only released seven studio albums; but I’m including their live albums and compilations) or The Beatles or Yes or even Grand Funk Railroad. (Okay. Now I’m laughing. Thinking about Grand Funk Railroad juxtaposed against Brahms’ songs gave me a hearty huckle.)

At least, the brilliant folks at Brilliant Classics have seen fit to alternate the CDs between male and female vocalists, even between vocal ranges, from CD to CD. That helps.

Today’s CD features 29 songs performed by baritone Michael Nagy and pianist Helmut Deutsch.

Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of both, 29 songs – over an hour! – of roughly the same tone and tempo can be tiring. It almost seems like I’ve been listening to the same track on repeat.

Again, that is not a reflection on Brilliant Classics, Mr. Nagy, or Mr. Deutsch. The recording is superb. The performances are remarkable. But I don’t speak German, and I’m not a fan of Classical vocal music.

Your mileage may vary.

Day 352: Songs IV

BrahmsCD46In 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.”)


The Compositions:

Too many to name. There are 26 tracks on today’s CD, totaling over one hour of music.

The Performers:

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.

Day 350: Songs II

BrahmsCD44Let’s call today’s CD Son of Songs.

Because it’s more of what I heard last time, on Songs I.

Only this time it’s a female vocalist instead of a male vocalist.

Unfortunately, the female vocalist is an alto – my least favorite vocal range of all.

So every single one of these songs is like fingernails on a chalkboard to me.

The Compositions:

Too many to name. There are 25 tracks on this CD.

The Performers:

Ingeborg Danz alto
Roland Glassl viola
Helmut Deutsch piano

I’m sorry. But I just don’t know why these songs exist.