Favorite Music

My Favorite Music

As a bit of background, my life has always centered on music. I don’t remember ever having piano lessons, but I have always played the piano. My biggest joy, though, has been singing. I began taking signing lessons at the age of 13 from James Shearer who was like a surrogate grandfather to me. By the age of 16 I knew that I wanted to be an opera singer. Singing was all I wanted to do. In college I majored in music and a year after graduation I was hired by the San Francisco Opera Co. to sing in their chorus. Those were some of the happiest years of my life, although I never did enjoy auditions. Getting paid to do what I loved the most, and singing with the world’s best opera singers of the day was a thrill of a lifetime for me. I sang everywhere I could. Then in 1976 I moved to Oregon and taught music both at the local community college and in my home studio. I had always known I would teach music and follow in the footsteps of my teachers. I continued performing both in the local community theatres and in the schools in Coos County. Now that I am retired I no longer perform, but I enjoy playing and singing daily. Music still transports my soul and I hope to never stop singing.

Thanks to my “genius” husband, Mark, I now have a unique MusicMaster system to access most of my repertoire digitally at the piano, with a special pedal to turn pages automatically. I bless him every day for this marvelous invention. Mark wrote the software and built the computer, monitor, speakers, microphones, etc. I scan my music and am continually adding new songs to the database of over 1300 songs. Here are a couple photos of the system.
[Click on photos to enlarge]

French Art Songs

Besides opera, I love to sing French Art Songs. In college I minored in French and have always loved the language, music and paintings of the French Impressionists. This past year I expanded my repertoire to include a couple dozen new Faure songs. Here are a few examples of some of my favorites.

Les Roses d’lspahan by Gabriel Faure (sung by Elly Ameling)

Chanson Triste by Henri Duparc (sung by Barbara Hendricks)

Clair de Lune by Gabriel Faure (sung by Sandrine Piau)

Italian Art Song

No day is complete for me without singing of a few Italian songs. There’s something about the language when sung which feels to me like a “vocal massage” for the voice. I always warm up with a few of my favorites each day.

Star Vicino by Salvator Rosa (sung by Sumi Jo)

Ridente la Calma by Mozart (sung by Kathleen Battle)

Delizie contente, che l’alma beate by Francesco Cavalli (sung by Cecilia Bartoli)

German Art Songs

A few German favorites as well, although my voice never felt suited to the German lieder.

Morgan by Richard Strauss (sung by Renee Fleming)

Ruhe sanft, mein holdes Leben by Wolfgang Mozart (Sung by Beverly Sills)

Auf Flugeln des Gesanges by Felix Mendelssohn (Sung by Elisabeth Schwarzkopf)

English Art Songs

Although I have sung a lot of contemporary English songs, I have always preferred the Baroque repertoire of Handel and Purcell. Here are a couple of my favorites.

Let the Bright Seraphim (from Samson) by Handel (sung by Joan Sutherland)

Angels, ever bright and fair (from Theodora) by Handel (sung by Lorraine Hunt)

If Music Be the Food of Love by Henry Purcell (sung by Carolyn Sampson)