Beyond the Beautiful Pearl

Bernard D. Sherman

in Inside Early Music

Published in print October 2003 | ISBN: 9780195169454
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199865017 | DOI:
Beyond the Beautiful Pearl

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More than anything else in music, the art of singing can turn reasonable people into red-faced absolutists. That by itself guarantees that the most controversial area of Baroque performance today is singing. It probably explains why outsiders often have problems with early music singing. And after the opulent beauty of the singing of Renata Tebaldi, they often object to such elements as limited vibrato—although it is a mistake to assume that Baroque singers never use any vibrato. However, the early music community itself argues over Baroque singing. Reconstructing historical singing styles has proved more challenging than reconstructing instrumental styles. In the field of singing, far more than in the world of the harpsichord or the gamba, modern mainstream style weighs heavily upon us. This chapter presents an interview with Julianne Baird on Baroque singing, her admiration for Maria Callas and Mirella Freni, opera singing, the rising power of the composer and reverence for the score, vocal writing, articulation in Baroque singing, portamento, the use of non-vibrato by opera singers, and vibrato and rubato in Italian Baroque singing.

Keywords: Julianne Baird; Baroque singing; vibrato; opera; early music; articulation; portamento; rubato

Chapter.  8825 words. 

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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