Need Inspiration?

Don’t we all need it? I found a lot of it reading my way through randomly chosen blogs during the last week to keep my mind off things. Today my body seems to be holding a peace conference (after ww29990 1/2), but don’t rejoice too soon – lately the peace process wasn’t very successful  and the war against the  ‘little nasty buggers’ was back on the next day. (sigh)

This obviously means that I have to stare more at the Amy Butler tunic than I can actually sew it – in fact, we bought two patterns, the second one (laptop/mp3 cover) would probably be quicker to sew, but why go for the simple when you can have it complicated?

G has (finally) finished her Madrigal Cardigan from the Rowan Magazine, only the buttons are missing – so expect pictures here very soon! The pattern was a disaster to knit – there is just no nice way to say it. I have never seen her frogging a project so many times! To start with the given sizing didn’t work at all, she had to make it way smaller to fit her, and to avoid having to sew as many little pieces as requested in the pattern, she changed the way that the leaf pattern is supposed to work. But the result is very convincing. Actually more convincing than the original – we saw it knitted at Peter Jones some months ago…

And to finish with a musical inspiration: the new Cecilia Bartoli CD that comes out in October – although I have to say I find the cover sightly disturbing, probably fitting when you know the story, but still disturbing.  The CD will be about the repertoire of famous castrati – intersting choice and a lot of pieces to re-discover – hence the title.  There is only one  single recording of the ‘last castrato’ Alexandro Moreschi who died in 1922. Go on and click on the listen button and tell me that you’d guessed that it’s a man (well sort of) who is singing here – unless you have already heard the piece!

Since castrati never lost their boys’ voice (but with a man’s body) it must have been a spectacular sound – The story goes that Napoléon I cried like a baby about the beauty of it while listening to a castrato in a concert. The famous castrati were super-stars of their time – which meant that an estimate of 4000 boys (in Italy alone) were castrated every year – mostly from very poor families and most of them died because of infection after the surgery. I remember a joke from my university days:  a German man who traveled Italy in the 1800’s, came into a shop that he mistook for a barber’s shop. Assuring the shop’s owner repeatedly said ‘sì, sì castrata mi signore ‘- appearently he fled through the shop window once he found out what he had just said…

But back to the repertoire check – I always found that the challenge for a singer with this repertoire are the wide range of the voice (remember composers did hear the singer and wrote to challenge the best of their abilities so we can ‘reconstruct’ some of the types of voices by looking at the music)’ and the enormous lung capacities. Look at how much more air goes into a man’s chest – compared to a women’s. (A good self-test: exhale and look at the stop watch – how long can you go…? For a long breath control you should exhale with an equal amount of pressure for about 1 min.)

And finally enjoy the trailer for the this new CD! And even after 22 years in the business Bartoli still has the same enthusiasm for music – inspirational!

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