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 Opera, operetta, bel canto, folk singers, café chantant and their connections

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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Opera, operetta, bel canto, folk singers, café chantant and their connections   Wed 14 Nov 2012, 00:29

Inspired by the thread about the classical music I was thinking about my family from father's side. Seven brothers, who on any occasion as they told to me, start as a group singing some unrelated songs as in a café chantant. Songs, which could be Flemish texts on the tune of an excerpt of opera, operaretta, well known contemperaneous popular song. It were the thirties, the between the wars period, and many time it were also political songs as Socialist ones or Right wing ones. From some I recall some words as on the 1930 crisis on the tune of Valencia: "'t is te danken aan de banken dat de frank zo lege stoat" (we have to thank the banks for the low currency of the franc (currency of Belgium in that time).

Although I remember from my father's songs as about the words of some Socialist songs and some Right wing songs and also the popular market songs, I didn't find anything on internet. Unbelievable, after two nights of research nothing from between the wars about the popular Flemish songs...I will have to go I think to the library to find anything substantial...

Perhaps of all that my heart go still to the great operas and operettas. I am still thrilled by the great voices as from a Caruso (have his voice on record) and all the later Italians...I love the good singing especially by men...but some weomen with "strong" voices can also seduce me...

I would call it "bel canto" but the term has, it seems, many concepts...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bel_canto

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mk06RvH96NU

The operas of the 19th century are perhaps in our ears a bit melodramatic, but nevertheless they all sing about the great events of life...in my humble opinion...and the music and the great voices still stand...

http://www.operasiempre.es/2008/11/e-lucevan-le-stelle-por-domingo-gigli-bergonzi-di-stefano/

It's the one sung by Placido Domingo that I want to point to. (By the way for those understanding Spanish I find this a great site about opera music (a bit dying last year by lack of messages. It's a pity)

The film:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?gl=BE&v=XcQNjV-YSiM

Some serious stuff:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MnjUiAptkpA

And my all time loved song (my father sung it in Dutch as an anti war (WWI) song on this tune):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=czgRZ6XW7vQ

And he could also sing some parts in Dutch translation of:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sonny_Boy_(song)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=48kkiapaLyg

And the song of 1938:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J'attendrai

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ctU8sVUwF4Q

As about operetta, have still to seek some highlights...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operetta

And if the honourable contributors have other examples of great voices, operas, operettas, popular songs from between the wars, folk songs of that time from their region...?
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Priscilla
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PostSubject: Re: Opera, operetta, bel canto, folk singers, café chantant and their connections   Wed 14 Nov 2012, 00:39

No folk songs from these parts, I fear, Paul. .... in the air raid shelters, however, I learned some really raucous stuff that mercifully I did not understand at the time, from the London evacuees who entertained us no end. However from your country, I have really enjoyed some Limbourg folk songs. Have you an http for any of those?
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normanhurst
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PostSubject: Re: Opera, operetta, bel canto, folk singers, café chantant and their connections   Wed 14 Nov 2012, 03:06

Oh my god Paul, I can’t thank you enough for including J attendrai by Rina Ketty.
It’s one of my earliest memories being allowed to listen to this in the front parlor, (usually out of bounds to us kids), with my mother and father on a beautiful big old walnut radiogram.
Apart from the turntable being electric and having amplification the deck was just the same as the old wind up jobs needing a new needle every 6 plays I think.
Father being a clever dick had made a butter churn to fit the turntable after he’d turned the ‘gram’ on its side. Unfortunately the last time he used it he didn’t fasten the churn door tight enough and after setting it in motion, and making sure us kids were out, he locked the parlor door expecting to find butter when he returned.
Sometime later we all heard the shouts, swearing and cussing and wondered what had happened… meekly peering into the dimness of the parlor, I could see him tearing out the last few remaining hairs as he watched his contraption spinning a milky white gunge across the floor up the wall and across the ceiling and down the other wall…
I got the blame being the youngest, though I always suspected the cat which disappeared shortly afterwards.

That piece of music must have been one of their favorites as it was always playing… but those days shortly after the war were dark and tired… the blackout curtains were still in place and barely letting any light in… I recall a single light bulb (probably a 40 watt) trying to illuminate the hallway stairs and landings against an already dark wallpaper and stair ‘runner’… so dark and dingy.

Then many years later I heard it again on the series ‘Das Boot’… and bringing all those memories back… I still think of dark and dingy rooms and Clarice Cliff… we had loads of it.
Much as I’ve searched for that music, it was hard as I didn’t even know the name… so, apart from now having re-living all those melancholy memories again, and still thinking dark and dingy… I’m happy, Thanks.
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Gilgamesh of Uruk
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PostSubject: Re: Opera, operetta, bel canto, folk singers, café chantant and their connections   Thu 15 Nov 2012, 13:04

I remember Harry Secombe describing his singing style as "not so much Bel Canto as Can Belto" ...
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ferval
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PostSubject: Re: Opera, operetta, bel canto, folk singers, café chantant and their connections   Thu 15 Nov 2012, 15:11

And it's all a nostalgia fest for me too, I'm back sitting on my papa's knee listening to his collection of 78s. Gigli, Caruso, Tchaikovsky and Puccini, the choir of the Russian Orthodox Cathedral in Paris singing Gregorian chant. I heard this so often I learned the words without the faintest clue what they meant

This was one of his favourites that always made me cry.

I also remember all the words of 'J'attendrai' from French at school.
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Gilgamesh of Uruk
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PostSubject: Re: Opera, operetta, bel canto, folk singers, café chantant and their connections   Thu 15 Nov 2012, 17:03

I was lucky enough - only once, but that was enough - to hear the incomparable Nic Jones in his pomp, before the accident.



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o715ofCXkCQ&feature=related
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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: Opera, operetta, bel canto, folk singers, café chantant and their connections   Fri 16 Nov 2012, 23:14

@normanhurst wrote:
Oh my god Paul, I can’t thank you enough for including J attendrai by Rina Ketty.
It’s one of my earliest memories being allowed to listen to this in the front parlor, (usually out of bounds to us kids), with my mother and father on a beautiful big old walnut radiogram.
Apart from the turntable being electric and having amplification the deck was just the same as the old wind up jobs needing a new needle every 6 plays I think.
Father being a clever dick had made a butter churn to fit the turntable after he’d turned the ‘gram’ on its side. Unfortunately the last time he used it he didn’t fasten the churn door tight enough and after setting it in motion, and making sure us kids were out, he locked the parlor door expecting to find butter when he returned.
Sometime later we all heard the shouts, swearing and cussing and wondered what had happened… meekly peering into the dimness of the parlor, I could see him tearing out the last few remaining hairs as he watched his contraption spinning a milky white gunge across the floor up the wall and across the ceiling and down the other wall…
I got the blame being the youngest, though I always suspected the cat which disappeared shortly afterwards.

That piece of music must have been one of their favorites as it was always playing… but those days shortly after the war were dark and tired… the blackout curtains were still in place and barely letting any light in… I recall a single light bulb (probably a 40 watt) trying to illuminate the hallway stairs and landings against an already dark wallpaper and stair ‘runner’… so dark and dingy.

Then many years later I heard it again on the series ‘Das Boot’… and bringing all those memories back… I still think of dark and dingy rooms and Clarice Cliff… we had loads of it.
Much as I’ve searched for that music, it was hard as I didn’t even know the name… so, apart from now having re-living all those melancholy memories again, and still thinking dark and dingy… I’m happy, Thanks.

Norman,

quite happy that you appreciated my J'attendrai by Rina Ketty and thank you for sharing your childhood memories with us.

Kind regards and with esteem,

Paul.
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Gilgamesh of Uruk
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PostSubject: Re: Opera, operetta, bel canto, folk singers, café chantant and their connections   Fri 16 Nov 2012, 23:22

Paul :

You may find this story of a family of singers of interest, I hope.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copper_Family



And also these - though they are perhaps more commercial than the original Coppers

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Watersons
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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: Opera, operetta, bel canto, folk singers, café chantant and their connections   Fri 16 Nov 2012, 23:36

Re: Message 15 November 16h11.

Ferval,

thank you so much for this favourite of mine the great Caruso.

As for John Mc Cormack I didn't know him. Perhaps as we from the European peninsula aren't that embedded in the anglo-saxon culture? Or it has to be the American "culture"...Wink

Did some quick research and indeed a great figure on "my" list...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_McCormack_(tenor)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WgQCPifM-p8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wSHnxlf2DPs

And by the way thank you also for sharing with us your personal memories from sitting on papa's knee...

Kind regards and with esteem,

Paul.
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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: Opera, operetta, bel canto, folk singers, café chantant and their connections   Sat 17 Nov 2012, 00:37

@Priscilla wrote:
No folk songs from these parts, I fear, Paul. .... in the air raid shelters, however, I learned some really raucous stuff that mercifully I did not understand at the time, from the London evacuees who entertained us no end. However from your country, I have really enjoyed some Limbourg folk songs. Have you an http for any of those?

Priscilla,

thanks for the reply...and did you mean about Limbourg folks songs these ones:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9_yTWylp2dc&feature=relmfu

For those who understand German, Limburgs is not! German. it is a Dutch dialect, which is spoken in both the Belgian province of Limburg and the equivalent province in the Netherlands...

A more joyfull song of Jo Erens:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RBzt8K8UclE&feature=related

And this one is more from the whole Flemish part of Belgium and it has perhaps a more old fashioned Roman Catholic Flemish Nationalistic background...even political and at the start of WWII even intertwined with the German occupier...but he has composed great music...

http://www.svm.be/content/hullebroeck-emiel?display=biography&language=en

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q2iUvQHz3MQ

Perhaps not that quality but for the music...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OB0_XDyX2gQ

Kind regards and with esteem,

Paul.
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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: Opera, operetta, bel canto, folk singers, café chantant and their connections   Sat 17 Nov 2012, 00:54

@Gilgamesh of Uruk wrote:
Paul :

You may find this story of a family of singers of interest, I hope.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copper_Family



And also these - though they are perhaps more commercial than the original Coppers

[url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Watersons
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Watersons[/quote[/url]]

Gilgamesh,

thank you very much for these links. Indeed that is more the tradition as I have talked about as from my family...but there is perhaps some difference...it was not at all commercial...but more...one or several in group stood up in a "café" and started to sing and the public became silent and listened as in the opera...and the songs were the well known popular ones, which every one could eventually start to sing...but if it was a beautiful ( magnifique) voice he (mostly if not always a man) sang solo. The same at family "réunions" (feasts)...also my father in the car when we drove from near Ghent to Ostend...

But see you this evening as I want further to expand on this subject...

Kind regards and with esteem,

Paul.
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PaulRyckier
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PostSubject: Re: Opera, operetta, bel canto, folk singers, café chantant and their connections   Sat 17 Nov 2012, 01:54

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