Tip of the hat to Karen Holvik

Pianists who accompany singers prefer the term collaborative pianist to the old term accompanist. In truth, there are many cases in which the piano part is actually of more importance than that of the “soloist.” One thinks of the works that Beethoven (though not modern programs) called Sonata for Piano and Violin, or compositions like the Hindemith Sonata for Tuba and Piano, where the tuba almost plays a bit part.

But singers are in a position to overshadow their necessary collaborator, even when — as in lieder — the piano part may actually be at least an equal protagonist. There are great singers like Marilyn Horne and Frederica von Stade who never cease, however, to praise the man “in the crook of whose piano I’ve stood all these years.” The deserving artist in question, Martin Katz, gives a telling interview here.

She Ruled. Still Does.

October 31, 2011

Do I need a special reason to pass on to you this fine interview by the perceptive and articulate Zachary Woolfe with the ever-incomparable Marilyn Horne? No.

Gramophone

So pronounced has been the response (in clicks and private e-mails; my readers seem to be shy about public comments) to the wax-cylinder recording of Robert White, that I thought I should correct any possible misimpression that his father’s repertory is the whole of his work as a performer — or even necessarily central to it.

How’s this for variety?

Hayden Wood: “A Brown Bird Singing,” with Stephen Hough, pianist

G.F. Handel: “While Kedron’s Brook,” with Ivor Bolton and the London Baroque Soloists

Irving Berlin: “Let Me Sing and I’m Happy,” with Dick Hyman, piano

Irving Berlin: “Cheek to Cheek,” with Marilyn Horne, mezzo-soprano and Dick Hyman, piano

Francis Poulenc: “Fancy,” with Samuel Sanders, piano

And, just to show why he was a child star, here he is with Fred Allen and Shirley Booth on live radio, in 1948:
Thomas P. Westendorf: “I’ll Take You Home Again, Kathleen”

Not that he ever leaves behind his basic vocal orientation. After all, John McCormick had already sufficiently demonstrated the usefulness and versatility of the Irish-tenor approach to performance. And the possible variety is certainly manifest in this small sampling of Robert White’s vast discography. Not represented here is, for example, his work with the pioneering Noah Greenberg in medieval drama, or his recent recordings with Joan Morris and William Bolcom.

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