When I began to research the musical legacy of this extraordinary family for my concert for Art Song Canberra, I was so taken by the fascinating histories of their lives I decided my recital would have to be more lecture-recital than normal, in order to fill my audience in on the amazing people behind the broad scope of songs presented. Some are fiery Spanish ditties, some sophisticated French chansons, some very dramatic (operatic even) and some are clearly vehicles for their writers’ virtuosity. (Which is why, when I put them all together and first tried to run the program I was like, “Oh dear god why have I done this to myself right now” *hehem*) Meanwhile the stories that bookend them range from the hilarious to the tragic (with some being both at once).
As earthy, imperfect, idealised, crazy and tragic as these people were, I had a lot of fun presenting pieces by them which are rarely performed (as well as better known songs), and adding my adulation to their legacy.*
*In an equally unusual side note, due to my touching on Viardot’s long-standing affair with the famous Russian writer Ivan Turgenev and a Turgenev expert having got wind of the concert, a flyer for our little concert now resides in the Turgenev Museum in Moscow!
Please follow this link for Len Power's very kind review in City News: