Streams

Some Modern Chansons

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Friday, January 16, 2004

The European Chanson tradition offers sophisticated songwriting with a personal point of view and a distinctive singing voice. The performers featured on this program come from that tradition, and are bringing it into the 21st Century. Italian singer and songwriter Gianmaria Testa uses a raspy voice to sing his abstract, evocative lyrics to sometimes-gentle, sometimes-swinging accompaniments. Young French songwriter Keren Ann is heard singing two of her wistful songs in French. German-born Nico intones some songs by Lou Reed and John Cale, in recordings made over 30 years ago but which still sound adventurous and new. American Rufus Wainwright writes and sings his own songs in a way that's both ornate and direct, and is closer to Chanson than most American songwriters. Also, Phil Klein's "Zippo Songs" set preexisting texts to music, just like lieder or Art Songs, but his texts were scratched onto Zippo lighters by American GIs in Viet Nam, and the music is thoroughly wired. This show opens with selections from a live performance by the Icelandic group Sigur Ros with the London Sinfonietta and a choir, playing "Odin's Raven Magic," based on the ancient Scandinavian Eddas.
Additional Resources:
• More on Sigur Ros' "Odin's Raven Magic"
• Odin's "Raven Magic" can be downloaded here
• More on Gianmaria Testa
• More on Keren Ann
• More on Nico
• More on Rufus Wainwright
• More on Phil Klein's Zippo Songs

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