Friday, January 18, 2013

Kathleen Ferrier

The voice of Kathleen Ferrier was a force of nature. She died in 1953 of breast cancer. One of her last recordings in 1952 with Sir Adrian Boult and the London Philharmonic Orchestra included a performance of the air "Father of Heaven" from Handel's Judas Maccabeus. This is one of the greatest contralto performances in the history of recorded music. I won't footnote that statement, but if you like go listen for yourself.

I wanted to include an MP3 in this post, but this time around I will leave it to you to find a copy. There are several copies on Spotify and Amazon. Click here for an Amazon link. 

Just thinking about this performance makes me cry, without fail. It is so uncommonly beautiful. She was sick but kept strong long enough to leave us with her incomparable gift.


P.S.: Two other gems in the mezzo-soprano and soprano departments respectively...

1. Janet Baker singing the “Urlicht” song from Mahler’s 2nd in the Simon Rattle recording.
2. Gundula Janowitz singing “Mit Staunen sieht das Wunderwerk" from Haydn’s Creation with Karajan conducting.

By the way, if you have any favorites you'd like to share, add a comment and I'll give it a listen!


Angus said...

Like Siouxsie and the Banshees rocking the cover of "Helter Skelter" back in the 80s. Totally classic! :-)

Angus said...

Now seriously...