Monday, January 23, 2012

It's a Question of Interpretation

Today was one of my favorite days to lecture in my music appreciation class.  It's still very early in the semester and everyone is getting to know each other.  As we continued our preliminary examination of music, we found ourselves face to face with melody.

The reason I love this lecture is because I finally get to let my sense of humor come through momentarily. You see, a few years ago some singers introduced me to Florence Foster Jenkins' recording of the Queen of the Night aria from Mozart's The Magic Flute.  If you're not familiar with this historic recording, allow me to introduce it to you.

After playing this "wonderful" recording, I point out to the students that anyone can make a recording if they have enough money.  It's important as audience members that we separate an individual performance from the composer's intentions.  I am certain that Mozart rolls in his grave each time this recording is played!  I'm always happy to see the proverbial light bulb above most of the students' heads while I must simply shake my head at the few who simply do not get it!  Since I can't leave that sound in your ear, here's a much better recording of the aria by the amazing Rita Streich.