Sunday, July 17, 2011

Voice of Light and Darkness

It is our tradition here at Paideia to wish Happy Birthday to the great classical female vocalists of our age. So, let's offer up best wishes to soprano Dawn Upshaw for her 51st Birthday.

Upshaw has a rich, soulful voice. It would stand out in performance of any work of the standard rep. However, we've been blessed by her championing of 20th century and contemporary pieces. Eschewing the temptation to cover the familiar, Upshaw has become the defining voice for numerous modern works. Championing these new compositions hasn't been the sharpest career decision for the pocketbook, but it has certainly earned the respect and admiration of classical music enthusiasts.

Let's get to the music.

Dawn Upshaw's defining performance is Gorecki's Symphony of Sorrowful Songs.

The works of Olivier Messiaen are notoriously tough performances, but Dawn get them right.

However, my personal favorite is Golijov's Sephardic romance, "Ariadna en su Laberinto". Upshaw's voice captures the haunting and yearning quality of the music.

And then there's Emily Dickinson:

So, for giving voice to these gems of modern composition, we give thanks to Dawn Upshaw and wish her a fantastic birthday.

Here's Dawn Upshaw's Wikipedia page.


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