Episode 196. Grace Bumbry In Memoriam

Episode 196. Grace Bumbry In Memoriam



This past week the world of opera was plunged in mourning at the news of the death of the unique, the irreplaceable Grace Bumbry (04 January 1937 – 07 May 2023), an artist equal parts daredevil and refined, whose artistry enchanted us for more than sixty years. In recent months many of us anxiously awaited news of her health after she suffered a stroke last October, from which she miraculously if temporarily rebounded. Though the news of her death was therefore not unexpected, it is both momentous and sombre in that it signals the end of an era. In October I produced a pair of episodes in her honor, the second of which, published exclusively on Patreon, celebrated her prowess as a Lieder singer. As such, she carried on the tradition and bore the mantel of the great Lotte Lehmann, her teacher and mentor; Bumbry said of her: “Lotte Lehmann will always remain for me the most important person in my entire musical life.” The episode features examples of Bumbry’s Lieder singing over the course of more than forty years, with a particular focus on her rare 1976 EMI release with pianist Geoffrey Parsons of Songs by Schumann and Schubert, which is heard in its entirety. Though I am bereft at her passing, I celebrate her mastery of a subtle and refined art form which formed the cornerstone of her artistry.


Grace Bumbry is the featured artist in all tracks.

Johannes Brahms, Hans Schmidt: Sapphische Ode, Op. 94/4. Erik Werba [1962]

Antonín Dvořák, Adolf Heyduk: Darf des Falken Schwingen (Zigeunerlieder, Op. 55/7). Beaumont Glass [live Amsterdan 04 July 1965]

Johannes Brahms, traditional Hungarian text, translated and adapted Hugo Conrat [né Hugo Cohn]): Kommt dir manchmal in den Sinn (Zigeunerlieder, Op 103/7). Sebastian Peschko [1964]

Lotte Lehmann and Grace Bumbry

Johannes Brahms, Georg Friedrich Daumer: Wir wandelten, Op. 96/2. Beaumont Glass [Salzburg 28 July 1965]

Robert Schumann, Hermann Kletke: Der Sandmann (Liederalbum für die Jugend, Op. 79/12). Leonard Hokanson [1967]

The following fourteen tracks all feature Grace Bumbry and Geoffrey Parsons, and are from her 1976 recording, “Grace Bumbry singt Lieder von Schubert and Schumann.”

Robert Schumann, Friedrich Rückert: Widmung (Myrthen, Op. 25/1)

Robert Schumann, Julius Mosen: Der Nußbaum (Myrthen, Op. 25/3)

Robert Schumann, Joseph von Eichendorff: Waldesgespräch (Liederkreis, Op. 39/3)

Robert Schumann, Joseph von Eichendorff: Mondnacht (Liederkreis, Op. 39/5)

Robert Schumann, Joseph von Eichendorff: Frühlingsnacht (Liederkreis, Op. 39/12)

Robert Schumann, Heinrich Heine: Der arme Peter, Op. 53/3 [I. Der Hans und die Grethe; II. In meiner Brust; III. Der arme Peter wankt vorbei]

Robert Schumann, Christian L’Egru: Aufträge, Op. 77/5

Franz Schubert, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: Gretchen am Spinnrade, D.118

Franz Schubert, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: Rastlose Liebe, D.138

Franz Schubert, Jakob Niklaus von Craigher: Die junge Nonne, D.828

Franz Schubert, Johann Georg Jacobi: Litanei, D.343.

Franz Schubert, Matthias Claudius: Der Tod und das Mädchen, D.531

Franz Schubert, Christian F.D. Schubart: Die Forelle, D.550

Franz Schubert, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: Der Musensohn, D.764

Hugo Wolf, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: Anakreons Grab. Beaumont Glass [ca. 2003]

Franz Schubert, Johann Gabriel Seidl: Die Taubenpost, D.957/14. Helmut Deutsch [live Paris 05 May 2001]

Traditional Spiritual, arr. Harry T. Burleigh: Deep River. Beaumont Glass [live Amsterdam 04 July 1965]

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