Singing and Other Sins

Feb 21, 2017

  Sundays at 7pm on HPR-1

Why “Singing and other Sins”? There are several reasons for the name change. When I began Great Songs in 1988, song meant something that was sung. Now, it can mean almost anything: an opera track, speaking or a movement from a symphony. Something that can be downloaded. So that’s why the word “song” wasn’t relevant any longer (when I began programming again in 2011) for a program featuring art song, which is indeed singing.

 The “sins” portion comes about because we are part of a civilization for which singing is certainly viewed with suspicion. If you were to walk down the street singing, you would be judged insane, drunk or exhibitionist. In other words, singing in most first world countries (except Italy) is just not done. Classical singers are often mocked (“the fat woman”) and except for the Pavorottis of the world, derided. The word “other” in the radio program title refers to my present belief that I need to offer art song in the context of other music of the composer or period, thus providing context. Almost all art song composers were prolific in many genres and these non-art song examples of their work can allow the listener to enjoy art song more and appreciate the whole body of compositions in which a serious composer finds expression. It is a fun challenge for me to find non-art song that works between the repetitions of a song. This music shouldn’t be jarringly different but rather act as an intermezzo or interlude. By the way, I now repeat the song (often by a different voice type or interpretation) because most art songs are unfamiliar. By hearing them twice it gives the listener a better chance to enjoy them. For those familiar with the repertoire, the second hearing offers the chance to compare voices/interpretations/eras. Fitting all the words together of Singing and other Sins provides a bit of fun, something like the book title from a few years ago: “Men, Women, and Tenors.”