No Song is Safe From Us

No Song Is Safe From Us - The NYFOS Blog
 |  Tuesday Rupp

It feels to me that 2017 has been a year of division and anxiety. There is a list of hurts as far as the eye can see across our beautiful nation, so many conflicting identities seemingly held together in name only. Living into this tension is draining, and I rely on the camaraderie of music. Sometimes I look for songs that serve as fuel, propelling me to do all the good I can with what I have. But sometimes I just want—just need—a little solace, a way to acknowledge the world as it is and still offer hope for a better tomorrow.




 |  Steven Blier

The last time I saw Hello, Dolly! I was twelve years old, and Carol Channing played Dolly. On the way out of the theater—no, it must have been later, at Sam Goody’s where its $4.95 price tag would have come down a whole dollar—my mother bought the original cast album for us. Well, for me. I was the obsessive music-listener in the house. I soon knew all the songs by heart.




 |  Steven Blier

I first met John Corigliano 41 years ago over dinner at a restaurant in Greenwich Village. I was a rather shy young guy and I was out with some very confident people, all of whom friends of some standing. all of them about fifteen years my senior. I’m not sure I made much of an impression that night.




 |  Steven Blier

These days I find that I don’t venture out much to hear the standard operas at the Met. For one thing, I’ve been familiar with them since my pre-teen years, and their music is now so familiar to me that they have become like mantras or prayers, part of my ongoing inner soundtrack.




 |  Steven Blier

This week I thought I’d share some of the music that has filled my recent weeks. It is the Christmas season and we’re about to put up our traditional tree, a present we received at the end of the last century from Jim’s brother and sister. They had each been assigned to one of us in their family’s Christmas lottery, and decided to pool their resources and go in on a gift together.




 |  Jacob Scharfman

I was originally enticed by Eartha Kitt’s quirks and unmistakable timbre, but the more I read and listen, the more I recognize her immense intelligence and depth of interpretation. She was an accomplished polyglot and formidable actress, and though categorized as a “pop” artist in her day, her erudition and singularity render her unrecognizable from most of today’s pop singers.




 |  Jacob Scharfman

This gem of classic Italian jazz came to me from a dear conductor friend in Rome. (He specializes in baroque repertoire, but no matter.) I’ve had trouble finding sheet music for it, or any information at all really, but its lulling, languid mood never fails to enchant. Jula de Palma is an Italian singer whose early career was closely associated with Lelio Luttazzi, a performer and composer of many stripes who made a decades-long career in Italian radio and television.




 |  Jacob Scharfman

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Jazmine Sullivan stands among my favorite singers alive. Her raw vocal dynamism and flawless technique are matched by an incisive lyricism. Her songwriting feels both old and new—jazz, motown, R&B, and hip-hop meld with electronic production, often in the context of unconventional structure.




 |  Jacob Scharfman

I first heard Anita Rachvelishvili with my grandmother in a Met simulcast of Carmen. (I share a love of opera with both my grandmothers, for which I’m eternally grateful.) A year later, I was a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed first-year masters student at Juilliard, stumbling around YouTube in search of repertoire, and I found Rachvelishvili’s powerful rendition of this Rachmaninov warhorse, “Ne poy, krasavitsa, pri mne.”