Suggestion: Nice piece of music for play and for training

Posted: 3/30/2008 9:40:40 AM
Thierry

From: Colmar, France

Joined: 12/31/2007

Henry Purcell wrote an opera called "King Arthur". There is a short aria in it, called "Cold Song". It seems to me that this could be an ideal piece for the Theremin as it offers the opportunity to demonstrate good pitch and articulation mastering.

I wasn't able to find the scores online for free download, neither a midi file, perhaps others here will have more luck.

There are a few videos on youtube:

Serious version sung by Matteo (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4d2oFag-Mfc),
Speedy version by Sebastien Fournier (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q47dBfa8ltM&feature=related)
and a
Fuzzy version sung by Klaus Nomi (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3hGpjsgquqw&feature=related)


Update: Found and bought the score online - as a password-protected pdf. Now I will still have to get a midi file with the accompaniment only...
Posted: 3/30/2008 3:18:00 PM
GordonC

From: Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, UK

Joined: 10/5/2005

Try searching on "cold genius" instead of "cold song".

There's a good theremin version on omhoge's website.

http://www.hoge-theremin.com/salon/hoge-theremin-salon.html
Posted: 3/30/2008 3:25:55 PM
Thierry

From: Colmar, France

Joined: 12/31/2007

Gordon, thank you for this link.
Posted: 3/31/2008 3:12:56 PM
omhoge

From: New York, NY

Joined: 2/13/2005

Purcell was one of (if not the) greatest setter of words in Great Britain and King Arthur has some of the best like Cold Genius and the chorus of cold people with chattering teeth.

Glad you're drawn to Cold Genius too, it's one of my favorites and fantastic for half step practice. It was what Klaus sang in his last public performance shortly before his death. I'm still working on the Cupid aria that adjoins it "Thou doting fool", but it's really fast and tricky so that's a slow go so far. Thanks Gordon.
Posted: 3/31/2008 4:53:20 PM
GordonC

From: Croxley Green, Hertfordshire, UK

Joined: 10/5/2005

[i]Purcell was one of (if not the) greatest setter of words in Great Britain and King Arthur has some of the best like Cold Genius[/i]

Agreed.

I think the libretto bears repeating.

[i]What power art thou, who from below
Hast made me rise unwillingly and slow
From beds of everlasting snow?
See'st thou not how stiff and wondrous old
Far unfit to bear the bitter cold,
I can scarcely move or draw my breath?
Let me, let me freeze again to death.[/i]
Posted: 3/31/2008 6:40:43 PM
omhoge

From: New York, NY

Joined: 2/13/2005


Yes it does.
I ask that every morning.

And Cold Genius is more cranky than any of us.
Purcell illustrates his painful reluctant ascent
perfectly with those small steps.
Then he hits you with the sighing 'let me'-s.
Really good writing.
Posted: 3/31/2008 7:09:46 PM
Thierry

From: Colmar, France

Joined: 12/31/2007

Tried to play that today but did not yet get satisfying results. At first, I'm too impatient with myself when I have already an exact idea of the final product in mind. Second, this portamento requires so much movement of the left arm that I (poor beginner as I am) could not yet get a satisfying pitch with the right arm in the same time. Or when I cared more of the pitch, the articulation became imprecise...

It's a challenge!
Posted: 5/10/2010 1:08:26 AM
lexiboo

Joined: 4/4/2010

I'm not sure how well this would translate to theremin, but I am a huge Klaus Nomi fan, so thanks for posting this!!!
Posted: 5/12/2010 3:33:45 PM
coalport

From: Canada

Joined: 8/1/2008

A marvelous piece of music. One of my favorite bits of Purcell along with the Laughing Chorus from DIDO AND AENEAS.

"Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ...."

In case anyone wants the lyrics.

The "Cold Song" is terribly difficult to sing. All those detached staccato quarter notes are almost impossible to keep in tune because the singer must "feel" each note individually and cannot relate it to the note that went before - even when it's the same note. Matteo gets sharper and sharper the higher he sings.

Do you suppose it would be possible to sing this aria in a modern popular vocal style and make it work? I wonder.

All the countertenors who perform it in Thierry's videos (above) sing the aria with vibrato but I don't believe old Henry would have approved of that. The violins seem to be playing some "icy" grace notes that, to my ears, interfere with the modern vibrato (singers in Purcell's time didn't use vibrato unless it was specifically written into the score).

Splendid piece of music and Gordon, I agree, Purcell was probably Britain's finest composer/librettist.

Posted: 5/12/2010 3:49:06 PM
coalport

From: Canada

Joined: 8/1/2008

Just downloaded the score for the "Cold Song" - accented eighth notes, not quarter notes......

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