My winter holiday gift to myself this year (yeah, I do, fuck off!) because I have generally been living high on the hog, cost $2.99. A CD of a singer I don't generally like but so many other people do I figure there must be something there worth reconsidering. [Hi NYC Opera Fanatic!] So I spent a chunk of xmas in Tower Records, with some guilt, because Tower is evil in that they make people work on such holidays and then add the insult of giving them double pay and, as a wise man once observed, two times shit is still shit. Tower is evil in other ways too, I'm sure, though we'll miss them when they're gone. Said a customer to a clerk, "so how much longer do you figure you guys will be here?" Said the clerk, "I'd give it about another year."
For my gal pal who was having me over for din I got Lucinda Williams' magnificent, tight, clean, adjective, adjective Ramblin', and for me, a marked-down-from-its-already-teeny-price Laserlight CD of Regine Crespin: Ses Plus Grand Roles. There's some really good (Faure's Penelope which I guarantee I never would have listened to otherwise) some pretty bad (Mozart, 'nuff said) and some remarkable indeed: Crespin and Corelli singing the Ballo duet. I have listened to it four or five times now. Actually 60/40 percent because of Corelli, but that's ok. Being 2/3 as ear-popping as Corelli at his best, and this is his capital b Best, like in Gli Ugonotti maybe, is a form of greatness.
The Marschallin scene, jarringly cut/spliced together with the end of the act, shows how enchantingly she could make a huge voice do little-voice tricks; her "silberne ros'n" is a clydesdale on a tightrope, suddenly more nimble than physics should allow. The second Cosi aria, in French, shows that there are limits to everything. I'm betting the Abscheulicher is good and butch, but I'm in touch with the folks at Guinness about a possible new record for "least times listened to Fidelio in lifetime," so I can't tell you.
If I had gotten my act together and asked someone about 1) psoting sound files and 2) the extent to which you can do this before someone writes you a nasty letter threatening legal action, there would be a bit more point to this other than encouragement for the Crespin-curious. Alas, I was busy sleeping 'til ridiculous hours and eating. Maybe I'll come 'round to this christmas thing after all.
Current soundtrack: Parsifal Act I Transformation Music, Bayreuth/Muck 1927.