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Posts tagged ‘Opera’

No fat lady in a horned helmet over here

The Arbourist’s partner, The Intransigent One, is a choral soprano who has received some vocal training. She has even taught herself arias. The Arbourist himself sings in a choir but mostly plays the piano. With that information in mind, I wonder they think of this video, another incarnation of the “Sh*t people say” meme:

It’s Sh*t Opera Singers Say, and is brought to you by mezzo–soprano Jennifer Rivera and Tenor William Ferguson.

Some trivia: The song sung when she puts on all those scarves is not a made up, but rather is a few measures of what is arguably the best–known opera excerpt sung by women, the Queen of the Night Aria from Mozart’s The Magic Flute, also known as Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen. The fact that she doesn’t reach F6 shows she’s no coloratura soprano.

Best and Worst Songs

Over at Dispatches from the Culture Wars there is a long comment thread about the Worst Song Ever Made.

Now, there is much music I don’t like. I don’t like country, and don’t really care for opera, which you would probably find surprising if you knew which songs in school band I liked the best. With a few exceptions, I really, really dislike rap and hip–hop.

The songs I listed at Dispatches, plus some additions (in no particular order and not an exhaustive list):

  • “Drift Away” by Uncle Kracker: This is cover, but I’ve never heard any other version, so I can’t comment on them. However, it would be hard to be worse than this version.
  • “Big Yellow Taxi”, especially the Counting Crows f. Vanessa Carlton version: I know I’ll probably be attacked for picking this one, but I won’t back down. Does a cover of an awful song qualify as being one of the worst covers or not?
  • “Who Will Save Your Soul” by Jewel: Isn’t it amazing that the author of one of the best love songs ever also wrote this appalling drivel?
  • “What’s Up?” by 4 Non Blondes: I used to really like this song. It made me think of someone climbing a mountain, with the climax of this song coming on as soon as they reach their destination. Since then, this song has gone downhill with me.
  • “I Want Your Sex” by George Michael: The title says enough about this.
  • “Dirrty” by Christina Aguilera: Pure, unadulterated gimmickry.

Besides the above, I really can’t stand Mariah Carey’s recent (post–Daydream) stuff. Her old school music is like a million, million times better than her newer songs. The old and the new Mariah Carey might as well be different people. I miss the old Mariah Carey.

At the Dispatches thread, “Foster Disbelief” mentioned “Ironic” by Alanis Morissette. Now, I have a copy of Jagged Little Pill, and while not the best song on the album (that award is a toss–up between “All I Really Want” and “Head Over Feet”), it is nowhere near the worst song. And to quibble, a song you expect to be ironic, but isn’t, clearly is the opposite of what you expect;)

As for the best popular music–type songs (some of my picks), those are after the jump.

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Music under the dense canopy of flowers

This is a good arrangement of the most famous duet in classical music. I really like it because it’s instrumental (and therefore non–sung, making it a billion times better than the sung version), because this number is one of my favourite pieces of classical music, and because I played the flute in school band.

If you cannot see the video, click here.

If you recognize the music, you’re in good company. “The Flower Duet”, also known as “Viens, Mallika” and “Sous le dôme épais“* has been used in gazillions of commercials to sell all sorts of different things.

And what’s with this number having all these titles, some of which look like French phrases?† Any what do I mean by being better because it is “non–sung”? To me, that raises an unsolvable issue with (some of the) classical music I like. I like lots of classical music, but I don’t like the singing that does with some parts of it. Basically, I don’t like the sound of the voices in that style of singing. In other words, I don’t like opera, cantatas, etc. The unsolvable problem is that several of my favourite pieces of classical music, happen to have singing in their “complete” versions. “The Flower Duet” comes from an opera and I like the music, so long as Lakmé and Mallika aren’t singing to it; I like playing the Queen of the Night’s vengeful call for murder on my flute, but not the Queen of the Night herself; “Sheep May Safely Graze” is Bach’s best work, so long as Pales isn’t singing in it; and so on. And sometimes it’s hard to find good–quality instrumental versions of such music, unless you play it yourself.

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