Saturday 31 March 2012

James Gilchrist - tenor

Trying to simulate a backdrop of terracotta tiles on which to depict scenery for my model railway.

Yesterday's attempt over-emphasised the outlines of the tiles themselves which would have interfered too much with anything drawn thereon.

A reminder:

So, I softened the surrounds of each tile.

Then, with a heavy 7B pencil, I drew a station building onto one of the tiles - using a fine black pen to highlight some of the features.

Quite like the drawing but not sure about the colour that I've painted the baseboard - it's supposed to be a derivative of the colour of the tiles. Will probably change it at some point.

Will continue to add drawings over next few days.


Die Schöne Müllerin:
Yesterday, I dragged my wife to a lunchtime performance of Die Schöne Müllerin by tenor James Gilchrist and pianist Anna Tilbrook. (A change to the advertised performers.) It was held on the top floor of an old building in Edinburgh called St Cecilia's Hall.

More a large room than a hall - perfectly oval in shape with a similarly shaped central skylight and chandeliers all over the place.

The Performers

The song-cycle lasts for an hour and superficially tells a very silly story - this telling of silly stories is one of my objections to lieder.

However, James Gilchist's performance has made me take a completely different view of the whole genre. One has to "see through" the lyrics to the emotional and moral message of the piece.

I was almost in tears by the finish.  Die Schöne Müllerin, is of course, a heart-breaking story of unrequited love. Being sung in German, one was insulated from the tweeness of the words. But it was Gilchrist's physical performance - the way he acted out the emotional journey of the hero starting with joie de vivre and the not a care in the world attitude of youth; through the excitement of falling in love: to the realisation that the love is not returned; and the despair of worldly failure - that transformed the piece.

Gilchrist acted this all out in front of us. We were all transfixed for over an hour.

Not only was I shaken by his performance but I felt that I had been directly connected to the German Romanticism of 200 years ago. It was like attending a living history lesson and being put in touch with one's intellectual roots.

I can't wait to attend my next lieder recital. I've attended a few concerts recently where a solo singer has captivated me (albeit, in orchestral settings with choral accompaniment). I now realise that a singer communicates with the audience in a much more powerful way than an instrumentalist.

This conversion to lieder is restricted to its live performance, of course.

My wife was almost as enthusiastic as I was, by the way. She particularly liked Gilchrist's "light" (her word) German accent.

PS Anna Tilbrook was pretty good too!
PPS James Gilchrist was a doctor until 1996.

Here is a  photo from my phone.

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