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Performance and Pedagogy Blog

A blog about the performance and pedagogy of music.

Monday YouTube Fix: Jessye Norman

Andrew Hitz

With all due respect to my fellow tuba players, when I model my phrasing after someone I go straight to the source: singers. I had the privilege of seeing Jessye Norman perform along with Kathleen Battle for the first Leonard Bernstein Memorial Concert at Tanglewood in 1991.  Seiji Ozawa lead the Boston Symphony in a performance of Mahler 2 that is still to this day the most moving concert I've ever witnessed.  I remember being particularly struck by how angelic Jessye's voice was that evening.

This is from a live recording of her performing that very piece on January 8, 1984 with members of the National Symphony and Baltimore Symphony conducted by Leonard Bernstein.

It feels like it takes her forever to change from one note to the next in what amounts to an effortless flow of beautiful tone.  She is simply a stunning singer.  Unfortunately there is no video of the performance and the sound quality of this clip isn't the best but I still had to post this.

Enjoy!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OEY9DdU55JM]