- Performer: Marian Anderson, Kosti Vehanen, Marcia Anderson
- Orchestra: Victor Sinfonietta
- Conductor: Robert Shaw
- Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach, George Frideric Handel, Traditional
- Audio CD (23 Aug. 2003)
- SPARS Code: DDD
- Number of Discs: 1
- Label: Prima Voce
- ASIN: B0000037L2
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 209,407 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Marian Anderson: Oratorios and Spirituals
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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
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
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.
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.
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.