Francesco Paolo Tosti: Ideale (The Ideal)

26 03 2009
Come back, dear ideal one, to smile on me again for a moment

"Come back, dear ideal, to smile on me again"

Francesco Paolo Tosti was something of an in-between composer. His works lived between the world of the classical and the popular, causing critics to judge his works harshly, precisely because of his songs’ popular appeal. Today, that distinction has faded, and all one hears is Tosti’s ability to write glorious melodies and set texts beautifully.

This piece is one of the tenor “national anthems” with so many recordings that it is difficult to make a selection. I hesitate to include one particular recording as the model, but feel it is worth noting; Alessandro Moreschi is the only male castrato soprano to have made recordings, and if you’ve never heard him– well, judge for yourself.

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Pauline Viardot-Garcia: Madrid

20 03 2009

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"My Andalusian princess... a true demon, an angel"

Singer, pianist, and composer Pauline Viardot was born into musical royalty. Both parents and her older sister were famous singers — her father, Manuel Garcia, was the first tenor to sing a high C in full voice. Though born and raised in Paris, she obviously cherished her family’s ties to Spain, which she captures in this energetic and flirtatious piece with its flamenco-inspired rhythms and harmonies.