No Song is Safe From Us

No Song Is Safe From Us - The NYFOS Blog
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Wow, there are a lot of things on youtube when you search for Shakespeare! Lots of chaff and some interesting wheat, like this dreamy recording from 1977 of Three Shakespeare Songs (“Full Fathom Five”, “The Cloud-capp’d Towers”, and “Over Hill Over Dale”) by Ralph Vaughan Williams, sung by the vocal ensemble Swingle II.




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Today’s Shakespeare song moves a bit further from his actual words, with an adaptation of this famous scene from Hamlet. Hector Berlioz sets Ernest-Wilfrid Legouvé’s text depicting the death of Ophelia, here performed by Anne Sofie von Otter with Cord Garben at the piano.




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Of course, English-speakers were not the only ones inspired to set Shakespeare’s words. Composers around the world worked with his lyrics in their native tongues, and we’ll be featuring some ‘Lyrics by Shakespeare’ in Russian and French in our August concert. Today, however, let’s try German.




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May’s Artist of the Month is the dynamic composer, pianist and vocalist Clarice Assad. Join her on Friday, May 4, when she curates and hosts a NYFOS Next evening focused on Brazilian song.




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It’s almost Friday, but today is TBT – ‘throw back Thursday’. At first, I didn’t want to use my own recording but listening to the other few recordings on youtube of this song, I just wasn’t satisfied with the slightly slower tempo, and was forced to use my version.




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I have always been drawn to intimate musical communion, the concentrated communion of listeners and sounds. Likewise the heat generated by words and music heard in tandem—a lifelong obsession. Rhymes obsess me. Verbal elegance is a kind of religion for me. And obviously the piano-and-voice combination gives me a way to participate in this almost holy transmission of music and words to a listening audience.




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Artist of the Month features Broadway veteran Mary Testa. She is a two-time Tony Award nominee, for performances in revivals of Leonard Bernstein’s On the Town (1998) and 42nd Street (2001). Ms. Testa will appear in NYFOS’s upcoming gala 30! on March 26 at Carnegie Hall.