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Marian Anderson: Oratorios and Spirituals

Johann Sebastian Bach , George Frideric Handel , Traditional , Robert Shaw , Victor Sinfonietta , et al. Audio CD

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1. Cantata No. 81: Jesus schlaft, was soll ich hoffen
2. Cantata No. 112: Zum reiner wasser
3. St. Matthew Passion: Erbarme dich, mein gott
4. Cantata No. 12: Kreuz und krone
5. Messiah: He Shall Feed His Flock
6. St. John Passion: Es Ist Vollbracht (English)
7. Christmas Oratorio: Bereite dich, zion
8. City Called Heaven
9. Lord, I Can't Stay Away
10. Heaven, Heaven
11. Trampin
12. Oh What A Beautiful City
13. Were You There?
14. Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Child
15. I Don't Feel No-Ways Tired
16. Deep River
17. Go Down Moses
18. My Soul's Been Anchored In The Lord

Product Description

Bach : Airs extraits des cantates BWV 81, 112, 12, de l'Oratorio de Noël, des Passions St Matthieu & St Jean - Haendel : Air du Messie "He shall feed his flock" - Negro Spirituals / Marian Anderson, contral. - RCA Symphony Orchestra, dir. Robert Shaw

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Honest Transfer of Great Material from 78s 23 Mar 2001
By Eugene G. Barnes - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
There are eleven spirituals on this CD, but it opens with a stunning traversal of seven sacred selections from the Baroque era, six selections of Bach and one of Handel. Ms. Anderson's sweetness, sincerity and artistry are complemented nicely by a young Robert Shaw conducting the RCA Symphony Orchestra (you can clearly hear the later Shaw of the Bach B Minor Mass in places, and the selection from the St. Matthew Passion is a haunting reminder that Shaw was never able to commit a complete Matthew to disc for posterity, though it was his favorite work and its recording a goal in his life - but I stray). What the Baroque selections lack in the latest in musicological authenticity they more than make up for in heartfelt simplicity and directness. It's Baroque music for the ages, and it may move you to tears.
The eleven spirituals, on the other hand, are accompanied only by an unidentified pianist, one who is certainly quite accomplished and gives Ms. Anderson a superb level of support. The question will need to be asked, I suppose, "Is there perhaps more inspiration present in the singing of the spirituals than in the Baroque selections?" Not at all; the artistry in both is equal. Indeed, modern audiences, used to hyped-up versions of these spirituals, may be slightly disappointed at the plainness of these renditions. I wasn't; I was enchanted.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars CELEBRATE Marian Anderson's powerful, liberated voice with JOY! 25 Mar 2006
By mcHaiku - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
On April 9, 1939, the voice of Marian Anderson shook my whole being unforgettably. She began her concert by singing our nation's hymn, "Our Country 'Tis of Thee, Sweet Land of Liberty,"

a prayer for all to give voice to.

Two events that took place on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., had a profound effect on my life. In a minister's family any political discussion was usually 'careful'. But when the Daughters of the American Revolution ruled that Marian Anderson could not give a concert in their Constitution Hall my parents spoke passionately about Anderson's rebuff, and then praised First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt to the skies for her immediate response which was to invite Marian Anderson to sing at the Lincoln Memorial.

What happened had charged the air with electricity. The hush was palpable. To listen we were limited to the radio, but we would see the newsreel before many days.

All this is an introduction to this CD which shows the power and range of Marian Anderson's talents. Among these offerings are several from cantatas, and some 'spirituals' - - and I mention the familiar because they make me feel as though I am truly in her presence once more: The 23rd Psalm; "He shall feed his flock like a shepherd"; "Sometimes I feel like a motherless child"; "Deep River"; and "My soul's been anchored in the Lord."

The latter could be said to describe both Marian Anderson and Martin Luther King. I have felt the unshakeable presence of each, Marian with her glorious contralto, Martin with his baritone. Noone could miss the reality of justice & faith overcoming hate & ignorance. Reviewer mcHAIKU can still feel the impact, and their influences on my life have been part of me for decades.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In a class of her own 21 July 2007
By Sasha - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Dignified,lovable and instantly recognisable Marian Anderson is much beloved first afro-american singer to achieve world-wide recognition,together with Paul Robeson she represents almost biblical royal couple from whom later generations sprung and followed.True,she certainly had to fight with unjustice,prejudice and obstacles (curiously enough,she was instantly recognised as artist of highest calibre in Europe while they troubled her back home) but all those events are far now,as I am writting this in Summer 2007 and what is the most important is her musical legacy.Contrary to liner notes on this CD where they suggest her singing might be old fashioned by todays standards,I found her singing simply stunning,serious,deeply moving and sincere.In fact,of all "Prima Voce" compilations,this is the one I believe has not aged or became museum relic,this is a pure masterpiece that can be cherished forever and time cannot erase or diminish art like this.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars My favorite singer 26 Sep 2005
By Matthews Family - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
This is a great CD. Despite the obvious technical limitations at the time of original recording, the sound quality on this CD is really good. I love Marian Anderson (as a contralto myself,I strive to be like her)and I think this CD does her justice. It's great to hear the range of her vocal talent. The combination of opera and spirituals is wonderful. The songs also vary in vocal range. I was happy to hear a collection of songs that showcased the strength of her voice at its lower and upper ends. Overall, I'd say this was an excellent CD.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Timeless performances 8 Dec 2005
By Bill Parker - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Marian Anderson suffered from several circumstances, but always endured them, it appeared, with grace and dignity. She suffered from being black at a time when black persons were not taken seriously as classical artists, and she was simply not allowed to sing in many venues. She was forbidden the stage of the Metropolitan Opera until past her prime (1955). After she became an icon of the civil rights movement, her reputation as a singer became overshadowed. Miss Anderson's treatment by her own countrymen for much of her life was an abomination, but it had nothing to do with music. Modest as she was about all aspects of her life, I don't think she would want her artistry relegated to a footnote in social history!

This is a fine collection of Marian Anderson's singing in oratorio and spirituals. None of her wonderful opera arias or lieder are here, and those call for a separate volume. Miss Anderson stood out from many great singers in her fine understanding of the subtle differences among all of these genres. She used different tone colors and types of vocal production for each of them, as appropriate, a nicety seldom enough observed today. In other words, she was no "belter." We have singers nowadays making millions for yelling at the top of their lungs, and sometimes making multi-millions for trying to out-yell their colleagues in giant arena events closely simulating cattle-call competitions. Perhaps one needs to meditate quietly for an hour or so before attempting to share the more inward and spiritual artistry of Marian Anderson.

From the first selection here (out of over 72 minutes of music included), "Jesus schläft, was soll ich hoffen" from Bach's Cantata No. 81, one can only marvel at the tonal beauty, depth of feeling, immediacy of communication, and technical accomplishment of the great contralto. In this aria, the long-held word "schläft" is not just thrilling as a piece of vocalism, but does just what Bach meant it to: express the gentle, timeless, cosmic-yet in this case ominous-slumber of the Savior. Seldom, outside of Miss Anderson's singing, have these Bach arias so risen above the "sewing-machine" school of performance. Her style is freer and warmer in the spirituals, which no one but Paul Robeson sang as impressively. There are eleven of them here, though not her most famous, "He's got the whole world in his hands." That too must be acquired elsewhere, as is easily done. There are no cheap shots in this anthology, just great performances of great music with no playing to the grandstands.
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