A Singer's Notes by Keith Kibler

A Singer’s Notes 76: Fellows Rule

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Rafael Frubeck de Burgos leading the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Photo by Hilary Scott.
Rafael Frubeck de Burgos leading the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Photo by Hilary Scott. 

Well do I remember my first few days as a Tanglewood Fellow. The pace of it. Already in the first concert there were brilliant things from the 2013 Tanglewood Music Center. Gabriel Campos Zamora’s clarinet playing in Kodály’s Dances of Galánta was breath-taking. He commanded the time; he commanded the space. I can only call Maestro Fruhbeck de Burgos conducting of the Beethoven 5th Symphony with the Fellows a blessed occasion. Neither age nor youth dominated, or mattered. To hear the razor-sharp response his electric gestures got, and to see it, was beyond exciting. When the string counterpoint bursts out in the Finale of the 5th, all the string lines rushing together, it was a primal energy, which is also a primal unity. Newness and oldness were one.

In the second concert of the summer season, Alexandre Bloch conducted, supported, sang along with Laura Strickling’s opulent voice so beautifully in Benjamin Britten’s Les Illuminations, text by Arthur Rimbaud. I would love to hear Mr. Bloch conduct in the opera house. He has a fluid energy which finds every nuance in the singer’s imagination and makes it seem almost more than it is. Stefan Asbury led a profound performance of Shostakovich’s Symphony no. 11 which dared to do the slow music slowly.

Best of all for me was Andrew Fuchs’ elemental Canticle No. 3, “Still Falls the Rain,” in a superb Sunday morning recital which included all of Benjamin Britten’s Canticles. In a concert which featured no less than four excellent tenors, Mr. Fuchs sang the saddest, toughest text of all, “Still Falls the Rain,” with complete identification. One did not notice that he was singing. It was a different and much greater and more beautiful kind of speaking This young singer had been coached by Dawn Upshaw, and I saw in him some of her vivid artistry. But identification with a piece on this level was his. He was it; it was he. I will drive a long way to hear this young singer again, because he showed me what singing is.

And this is only the beginning of the summer…..

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