Very nonclassical (or just plain fun)

A brief excerpt from the recording I talked about in my last post. Here’s Giuseppe Valdengo, sounding relaxed and collooquial — nonoperatic, in fact — in a short excerpt from his big aria in The Barber of Seville, “Largo al factotum.” From a live performance at the Met in 1950.

To listen, just click. (For a short time, he’s hard to hear. This was a live performance; he must have faced away from whatever mics they were using.)

And I must say…listening to Valdengo again makes me think better of him than I did when I wrote my last post. Likewise the orchestra, which sounds very scrappy. In a not very good sense, if you listen very closely. (Meaning that they’re not always together.) 

But also scrappy in a good way — they’re in the ring with Vadengo, giving a lot of what he’s giving. I think, in what I wrote in my last post, I was judging them too much by how they played the overture. 

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  1. Alex says

    I think your first instinct to indict the recording for its technical errors explains a lot of why many musicians today, especially those who are widely heard and recorded, are more afraid to take musical risks than those of generations past.

    Being unimaginative is not nearly as quick a career death sentence as scrappy playing, especially if it is noted by an important reviewer or presenter.

    One of the benefits of the decline of late twentieth century classical music institutions is that risks need to be taken in order for anyone to listen, and the traditional gatekeepers have less power.

    The result may be less money and crises for larger institutions, but also exponentially more variety and creativity…