Friday, February 4, 2011

Havanaise (Viardot) Cecilia Bartoli

Pauline Viardot,1821-1910, daughter of Manuel Garcia, the famous tenor and vocal pedagogue, was a major figure in her time. She was fluent in four languages by the age four, and she was an extremely gifted piano prodigy. She became a celebrated mezzo soprano and was well known for her extensive range, excellent technique and her expressive stage presence. She taught at the Paris Conservatory from 1871-1875.

Bartoli features some of her songs on her album, Chant D'Amour. This is one of the pieces on that album. It may not stand up to Schubert, Debussy or Brahms, but the melodic writing is beautiful and the piece offers the singer an opportunity for great expression,sensuality and agility. The style is a mixture of Spanish and French idioms, which are drawn from Viardot's Spanish/French background.

I'm not including a translation here because listening to the performance is all one needs to do. Bartoli is absolutely enthralling.

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