Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Diva fever

Mr Gnome alerts his friends to the fact that this is definitely not everyone's
tasse de the.

The glorious lushness of the songs of Richard Strauss is not universally appreciated. But for many listeners, these works become a bit of an addiction.

This very short song 'Zueignung' is a perfect example. In three verses, the lyric conveys an almost ecstatic sense of gratitude for the life-transforming power of love, each verse ending with 'Habe dank' ('Be thanked.')

Here the great soprano Jessye Norman gives it her not inconsiderable all in a performance that combines total vocal assurance with, well, a thrilling experience of joyful release and benediction.

If you get it, you get it. If you don't, you'll see and hear a big woman make a lot of noise while waving her arms around.

And for anyone who has heard Norman perform on the concert platform, it will be a reminder of the power of this remarkable artist, who, with imperious ease, re-defined the concept of Diva in her glory days of the Eighties and Nineties.

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