Episode 123. Lois Marshall

Episode 123. Lois Marshall (Great Canadian Singers)



Today is my first episode of the New Year, and the first in my three-part series this month on Great Canadian Singers. It is my contention that my first subject, Lois Marshall (1925-1997), is one of the greatest artists of the twentieth century. If you haven’t heard of her (which is entirely possible, given the vagaries of posthumous fame and reputation), you are in for an enormous treat. Possessed of a rare musical scrupulousness, an interpretive honestly, directness, and integrity, as well as a finely-honed dramatic sensibility, Lois Marshall, in a better world, would have graced the world’s operatic stages. Alas, she was stricken with polio as a child, and though she managed to gain the ability to walk, staged opera was a genre which she only rarely attempted. Yet she worked with the world’s greatest conductors, among them Toscanini, Stokowski, and Beecham, and was a recitalist celebrated the world over. This episode offers an extended yet partial glimpse of the range and variety of her artistry, and includes recordings of arias by both Purcell and Puccini (the title role of Turandot!), Bach and Beethoven, as well as a dazzling array of recital repertoire from Debussy to folk song arrangements. Fellow Canadians Maureen Forrester and Glenn Gould are also featured. In my opinion, this artist is ripe for rediscovery, and I hope that you will join me on this extraordinary journey into the life and career of Lois Marshall.


Richard Wagner: Geliebter, komm! (Tannhäuser). Grace Bumbry, Wolfgang Sawallisch, Orchester und Chor der Bayreuther Festspiele [live Bayreuth 23.07.61]

Traditional Scottish, arr. Malcolm Lawson: Loch Lomond. Lois Marshall, Weldon Kilburn [1959]

Robert Burns: A Red, Red, Rose. Lois Marshall [date unknown]

Henry Purcell, Anonymous librettist, adapted from William Shakespeare: Hark! The Ech’ing Air (The Fairy Queen). Lois Marshall, Eduardo Pedrazzoli, London Symphony Orchestra [1959]

Traditional Scottish, arr. Healey Willan, Robert Burns: Ae Fond Kiss. Lois Marshall, Weldon Kilburn [1959]

Ernest MacMillan

Johann Sebastian Bach: Wir beten zu den Tempel an (Jauchzet Gott in allen Lande, BWV 51). Lois Marshall, Ernest MacMillan, Toronto Symphony Orchestra [1954]

Robert Bloom

Johann Sebastian Bach: Liebster Jesu, mein Verlangen (Cantata, BWV 32). Lois Marshall, Robert Bloom, Brian Priestman, Bach Aria Group Orchestra [1972]

George Frideric Handel, John Arbuthnot, et.al. (after John Dryden’s translation of Ovid): As when the dove laments her love (Acis and Galatea). Lois Marshall, Eduardo Pedrazolli, London Symphony Orchestra [1959]

As Queen of the Night (but looking like Turandot!)

Giacomo Puccini, Giuseppe Adami, Renato Simoni: In questa reggia (Turandot). Lois Marshall, Eduardo Pedrazzoli, London Symphony Orchestra [1959]

Lois Marshall and Ernest MacMillan

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Caterino Mazzolà (after Pietro Metastasio): Parto, parto (La clemenza di Tito). Lois Marshall, Eduardo Pedrazolli, London Symphony Orchestra [1959]

Joseph Haydn, Gottfried van Swieten: With verdure clad (The Creation). Lois Marshall, Anthony Bernard, London Symphony Orchestra [1957]

Ludwig Van Beethoven, Pietro Metastasio: Ah, Perfido!, Op. 65. Lois Marshall, Eduard Grikurov, Leningrad Philharmonic Orchestra [1962]

After premiere of From the Diary of Anne Frank

Oskar Morawetz, Anne Frank: I have not thought about her for months (From the Diary of Anne Frank). Lois Marshall, Lawrence Leonard, Toronto Symphony Orchestra [1970]

Maureen Forrester

Traditional British, arr. Welford Russell. Flow Gently, Sweet Afton. Lois Marshall, Maureen Forrester, Yehudi Wyner [live 1974]

Lois Marshall and Weldon Kilburn

Traditional British, collected and arranged Cecil J. Sharp: Oh, No, John. Lois Marshall, Weldon Kilburn [1958]

Judy Loman

Traditional Irish, arr. Benjamin Britten, Thomas Moore: The Last Rose of Summer. Lois Marshall, Judy Loman [1976]

George van Renesse

Gustav Mahler, traditional folk text collected by Achim von Arnim, Clemens Brentano: Rheinenlegendchen (Des Knaben Wunderhorn). Lois Marshall, George van Renesse [live Netherlands 1956]

Claude Debussy, Pierre Louÿs: Le tombeau des naïades (Trois Chansons de Bilitis, L.97/3). Lois Marshall, Weldon Kilburn [1968]

Ottorino Respighi, Percy Bysshe Shelley, translated Roberto Ascoli: La nuda tomba (Il tramonto, P 101). Lois Marshall, Orford String Quartet [1971]

Traditional Spanish, arr. Manuel de Falla: Polo (Siete canciones populares españolas, No. 7). Lois Marshall, Weldon Kilburn [ca 1969]

The cover of Lois Marshall’s 1960 Frauenliebe, recorded in Russia

Robert Schumann, Adalbert von Chamisso: Süßer Freund, du blickest mich (Frauenliebe und -leben, Op. 42/6). Lois Marshall, Weldon Kilburn [1960]

Franz Schubert, Wilhelm Müller: Gefror’ne Tränen (Winterreise, D.911/3). Lois Marshall, Anton Kuerti [live Toronto 1976]

Johannes Brahms, 1 Corinthians 13, translated by Martin Luther: Wenn ich mit Menschen- und mit Engelszungen (Vier ernste Gesänge, Op. 121/4). Lois Marshall, George van Renesse [live Concertgebouw 1956]

Lois Marshall and Glenn Gould

Richard Strauss, Heinrich Heine: Beim Schlafengehen (Vier letzte Lieder, TrV 296/3). Lois Marshall, Glenn Gould [CBC telecast, 15 Oct 1962]

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