Episode 61. Margaret Price: The Voice of Consolation

Episode 61. Margaret Price I: The Voice of Consolation (Music for a World in Crisis V)

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Our world seems to be falling apart, both in the personal and in the global sense. I sustained an enormous personal loss this week when my dear friend Fred Berndt, the great German stage director, died suddenly on Friday. But we are all feeling an enormous sense of despair, of hopelessness, even of rage. Even before Fred’s death, I recognized that this episode needed to offer a message of hope to those who are finding it difficult to negotiate the world right now. The voice that has spoken to me most in my sadness is the Welsh soprano Margaret Price (1941-2011), whose distinctively cool yet engaged timbre, scrupulous musicianship, and communicative gifts prove unfailingly capable of conveying comfort and consolation to those who are distressed or grieving. I offer a survey of the career of this exemplary singer, a personal favorite of mine, in a wide range of repertoire including opera, oratorio, and art song. Composers include her specialties Mozart and Verdi, as well as Brahms, Strauss, Schumann, Schubert, Weber, Elgar, and the undervalued British composer Phyllis Tate. Collaborators include Otto Klemperer, Claudio Abbado, John Pritchard, Alain Lombard, Adrian Boult, and her mentor, the pianist and conductor James Lockhart, among many others. I hope that Margaret Price and her voice of consolation bring you much solace.

RECORDINGS HEARD IN THIS EPISODE

Johannes Brahms: Ihr habt nun Traurigkeit (Ein deutsches Requiem, Op. 45). Margaret Price; André Previn, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Ambrosian Singers

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Porgi, amor (Le nozze di Figaro). Margaret Price; Riccardo Muti, Wiener Philharmoniker

Ryland Davies and Margaret Price as Belmonte and Konstanze

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Ach ich liebte, war so glücklich (Die Entführung aus dem Serail). Margaret Price; John Pritchard, London Philharmonic Orchestra

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Soave sia il vento (Così fan tutte). Margaret Price, Yvonne Minton, Hans Sotin; Otto Klemperer, New Philharmonia Orchestra

Giuseppe Verdi: Non pianger, mia compagna (Don Carlo). Margaret Price; Claudio Abbado, Orchestra e Coro del Teatro alla Scala [La Scala 07 January 1978]

Renato Bruson

Giuseppe Verdi: Nell’ora soave… Plebe, patrizi (Simon Boccanegra). Margaret Price, Renato Bruson, Giorgio Lamberti, Cesare Siepi, Frederick Burchinal, Kevin Langan; Lamberto Gardelli, San Francisco Opera Orchestra and Chorus [San Francisco Opera 26 September 1980]

Giuseppe Verdi: Ave Maria (Otello). Margaret Price; Alain Lombard, Orchestre National de Bordeaux Aquitaine

Carl Maria von Weber: Und ob die Wolke sie verhülle (Der Freischütz). Margaret Price; Heinz Wallberg, Münchener Rundfunkorchester

Edward Elgar: Rejoice, ye partakers of His suffering (The Kingdom). Margaret Price; Adrian Boult, London Philharmonic Orchestra

James Lockhart and Margaret Price

Johannes Brahms: Immer leiser wird mein Schlummer, Op. 105/2. Margaret Price; James Lockhart

Enrique Granados: Elegia eterna. Margaret Price; James Lockhart

James Lockhart and Margaret Price

Phyllis Tate: Hush Song (No. 3 of Three Gaelic Ballads). Margaret Price; James Lockhart

Robert Schumann: Mondnacht (Liederkreis, Op. 39/5). Margaret Price; James Lockhart

Franz Schubert; Du bist die Ruh, D.776. Margaret Price; Geoffrey Parsons [Wigmore Hall 8 December 1987]

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