June 3, 2010

Anna Moffo & Rachmaninoff's Vocalise

Listening to live classical radio can yield unexpected pleasures, and this morning's offering stopped me in my tracks. I turned the volume up with one hand, tea cup suspended mid-motion in the other, and held my breath in anticipation. The piece? Rachmaninoff's Vocalise as sung by Anna Moffo.


Anna Moffo as Violetta


I don't know what is more stunning, Rachmaninoff's composition, which came late in his life and strikes me as a 'summing up' of all things, or Moffo's singing of it. She takes the climatic ascending phrase in one breath and a beautiful piano, which is electrifying. This ability as well as her limpid trills makes for a high expression of bel canto. Interestingly, the conductor Stokowski -who conducted Moffo - was noted for his ability to bring out the best in those he worked with. He lets Moffo and the listener breath, which is more than the mechanics of taking in air. 

Time stops when listening to this piece. And isn't that what great singing is all about?

You can hear Moffo here.

3 comments:

  1. What a magnificent performance !

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  2. Makes me cry every single time...

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