Thursday, May 29, 2014

Josh Groban, Bocelli, Pavarotti, and the REAL World of an Accompanist

Isn't he adorable? I'm not accompanying him, by the way, but a girl can dream.

I played for two master's degree recitals in one day today. The flute recital was during the noon hour, and the violin recital was at 7:00 p.m. I'm not sure what in the world is going on with all of these late recitals. My mom thinks it may have something to do with two adjudication panel members having been significantly ill at the same time. Suitable replacements supposedly couldn't be found. Then the accompanist or accompanists had prior commitments. In any event, I certainly felt for the degree candidates. It would have been terribly nerve-wracking to me to have my recital be thrown up in the air in such a manner. I did my very best for them. The flutist played several selections I've played for my mom since I was in about seventh grade, and the violinist played two pieces I used in my own recital. I'm not sure why the criteria allows the same works to be used in masters' recitals as in bachelors' recitals. My friend the cellist, who turned pages for me, said that most of my selection were actually above the bachelor's degree category, though he may have been saying that to feed my ego.

I picked up a recital for this weekend as well. This one's just a senior recital (which unfortunately doesn't pay as well as a master's recital unless the soloist pulls a total diva act on me, which I've been told is unlikely in this case) and not a master's recital, and probably was rescheduled because of the same situation that caused the others to be postponed. This guy is supposed to be somewhere between a leggiero (or leggero) tenor and a lyric tenor. A leggiero tenor is the rough equivalent to a coloratura soprano, with a light yet somewhat athletic voice capable of flourish. A lyric tenor has a warmer, brighter, fuller voice. I'm curious as to how these two sets of characteristics can be combined in a single voice. The department chair offered the description, so I'm not inclined to scoff at it.  The guy is performing "Nessun Dorma."  I just hope he doesn't ruin it for me.  I'll either be crying as I play because it's such a thing of beauty or because it's such a pathetic effort. Regardless, I know the music, so the tears in my eyes will not impair my ability to play the song.

I mentioned in an earlier blog that voice majors tend to be given greater latitude in their selections for their recitals. One selection this guy is performing is "Gira Con Me Questa Notte," which is, in my opinion, David Foster's attempt to make Josh Groban sound like Bocelli.  In my opinion, Groban does not need to be made to sound like Bocelli, as he sounds great as himself, but still I like the aria. I'm interested in hearing the degree candidate's rendition. 

It's a tall order this guy whose name I don't even know has created for himself. I don't know that I would be so readily setting myself up for comparisons between myself and Pavarotti, Bocelli, or Josh Groban. Still, people like to hear what they know. Some degree candidates pull obscure works out of thin air. Even if the adjudication panel likes the artist's rendering of the work, the audience may not, and the panel's scores are influenced to a degree by audience response. They can usually  tell the difference between genuine appreciation of a work and the enthusiastic cheering of family and friends combined with the hiring a frat to sit in the auditorium and make noise after each selection.


  1. Hi Alexis
    My husband was a flute major as you would phrase it- we have different terminology in our corner of the world. For his honours recital he performed the Ibert concerto,the Bach Sonata in BMajor some Couperin and 4 pieces by Don Banks, a contemporary Australian composer. With wind quintet he gave Samuel Barber's Summer Music.

    All a long time ago but he still relishes it and speaks with great affection of his accompanist.

    Hope you are as appreciated!

    1. i think the Back sonata in B-flat is lovely, and I've really liked most of the Couperin I've heard or played. I'm very interested in researching the works of Don Banks.

      Thanks for the note.

  2. You have been very busy! Makes me wish I'd stuck with piano.

    1. The nice thing about it is that I can take the job if it's convenient and decline if it isn't.