Singing and other Sins

Art Song ContestTranslations

Quiz/Master Musicologist

Click here for the Verlaine poems and English translations

• Contact Gary Hickling or answer the Quiz at: singing@hawaiipublicradio.org

• I archive some of the Singing and other Sins programs. You can find what is available and listen to as much or as little as you like, by clicking here.

Here are some comments on Singing and other Sins. To offer your own (including your suggestions), just email the address above.

I absolutely love the interviews you have been doing and airing lately! So amazing to hear an interview with Christa Ludwig! I can't wait to hear the rest of it next week. Plus the recordings of her you aired were great. -A.V. (Hilo)

 

From HPR's message machine: Listener to Singing and other Sins loves the program.  He thinks Gary does a great job, and is really looking forward to the Dvorak next Sunday.  He thinks the mention of music that is available on CD, or broadcast later in the year, will help increase listenership, by keeping listeners interested.

I loved hearing various settings of  Kennst du das Land.  I think it’s my favorite Lied of all time.  Dale  (Honolulu)

Herr Hickling, vielen, vielen Dank! Ich habe zugehoert und mich sehr gefreut, besonders ueber "Kennst du das Land, wo die Zitronen bluehn....". [Mr. Hickling, many, many thanks! I listened (to the Goethe birthday tribute) and was very happy, especially with "Do you know the land, where the citrus blooms..."]. N. S., Honolulu

During the Reynald Hahn broadcast: I am listening to your show right now-- I have never heard it before, and this music is changing my life! I want to not only thank you but ask if I may: how might I get a song list for this show? I would love to purchase some of these amazing, heart-lifting and lovely songs.

What a perfect accompaniment to the Perseid Meteor Shower tonight!
Mahalo!!! -GB

I enjoyed your Alto Rhapsody program, especially the renditions by the singers Ludwig and Fassbaender, and of course Marian Anderson. Dale (Honolulu)

I really enjoy "Singing and other sins." Listen to it as often as I can. Chris (Honolulu)

There were many comments on the Art Song Contest edition of Singing and other Sins

Loved the performances last night on the Art Song Contest! What great talent out there! You must have been very pleased with the quality of the singing. SK (Big Island)

I just love Melissa Chavez's beautiful voice and her interpretation of "Guitarra"! She's got my vote!  

Thanks for putting together such a great contest devoted to art song! - Courtney 

My favorite singer on the art song contest is Marius Stranger.  -Lou Ann
Verna and I both enjoyed your show [Art Song Contest] last night. The competition was VERY STIFF, I felt honored and delighted to be in that company! -Gerdine Markus
I'm delighted to have been chosen as a winner!  I was able to listen to the broadcast on Sunday afternoon (I'm currently in Thailand) and was pleasantly surprised to hear that I was one of the winners. -Nicholas Provenzale

Great fun listening last night! [Art Song Contest] -Christine
I missed Hermann Prey as the mystery baritone on your program last week. Sorry to say that he is one of about six baritones I could name, so I overlooked the obvious. Steve (Big Island)

[Following the first of three Schubert Winterreise programs] Thanks, Gary, for the fascinating journey through Winter Journey this evening. -Robert (Maui)

[Regarding the Goethe b'day salute, August 26, 2012] Das haben Sie sehr schön gemacht, Herr Hickling. Prächtige Vertonungen. Vielen, vielen Dank. NS, Honolulu (You did this very well, Mr. Hickling. Magnificent musical settings. Many, many thanks.)

My favorite parts of the Debussy program [August 19, 2012] were the choral selection, the orchestral selections (except for the last Villon song--I think that the piano accompaniment has more rhythmic punch), and your wonderful comments which I missed on last week's program.  Edward, Honolulu

[Writing about the Quatorze Juillet/Bastile Day program of 7/15/12]: I enjoyed your Faure music program. Do you know that Streisand recorded APRES UN REVE? When it comes to Faure's solo piano music, I have to admit that I prefer his Nocturnes and Barcarolles. Keep up the great work. Your efforts are putting Hawaii on the classical music map. J.B. Honolulu

 [Speaking of the Tchaikovsky program of 5/6/12]:...My favorite song was the last, which was such a perfect "melding" of music and poetry. Unfortunately, the vapid, careless translation of the title robbed it of the extraordinary depth of emotion expressed by the poet, Afanassy Fet and rendered so faithfully by Tchaikovsky. It should be: "My inspiration (genius in ancient Greek meant a spirit of inspiration, and it is also used in Russian to render the same meaning) -- not just a super intelligent person, my angel (perhaps in the sense of guardian angel) and my lover (love of my life)"... Several other songs were familiar to me, but not all. Great collection!  -V.B. (Honolulu)

I was vacationing last week on the Big Island and listened quite a lot to HPR1.  While I enjoyed much of the station’s classical programming I wanted to let you know how deeply I was moved by your Barbara Bonney feature on “Singing and Other Sins”. [4/22/12]
 
I’m an on-air host at Portland’s All Classical FM, and am a trained musician.  I feel like I have a better-than-average grasp on the classical music canon, yet I had never before heard either of Barbara Bonney’s recordings of “Morgen!” by Richard Strauss.  I was utterly transfixed by her interpretations (and thank you for sharing both of them).  
 
My accommodations during this vacation were magical – I was staying in an avocado treehouse on a remote organic farm southwest of Pahoa.  The magic of my surroundings was magnified by the music.  (My! I had no intention of creating such an alliterative sentence!)  I have now returned to Portland and my first task was to add Bonney’s recording(s) of “Morgen!” to our playlist.
 
Thank you so much for your program.  You tremendously enriched my Hawaiian experience. -C.W. (Pahoa)  

[Listener] emailed to say it’s so good to hear Gary Hickling’s voice again, and she’s really enjoying Singing and other Sins.  Thanked him for sharing our passion! [ 4/2/12] -J.Y.

We love Singing and other Sins, please ask Gary if he could announce the next week’s program, so we can do research on the music and performers.  Thanks. [3/20/12] (Thank YOU! I will begin announcing the following program at the end of each show. -Gary)

In the days when I was taking voice lessons at the Russian Conservatory in Paris, I studied three of Rachmaninoff's songs which you featured tonight. [4/1/12] It was especially interesting to hear two interpretations for most of them. Wonderful performances! -V.B. (Honolulu)

We so enjoyed your tribute to Bartok last night! [3/25/12] It's wonderful to hear you and your elegant programming again over HPR. -R.P. (Kula, Maui)

El otro día Iria y yo estamos en nuestro coche un Domingo por la noche y escuchamos tu programa y nos gusto mucho y sobre todo Iria quedó encantada con tu programa. Así que te felicitamos, ¡buen trabajo! -R.D. (Waikiki)      Translation: The other day, Iria and I were in our car one Sunday night and listened to your program and liked it a lot. Especially Iria was thrilled with it. We congratulate you, good work! -R.D. (Waikiki)

I didn’t know a single one of the Rimsky-Korsakov songs. Yes, they are beautiful. Many fine performances.....Boris Christoff glorifies everything he sings. - DH (Honolulu)

I enjoyed your program Singing and other Sins yesterday evening (3/4/12).  M.H. (Hil0)

Congratulations on your beautiful broadcast. Lorraine Hunt Lieberson is indeed outstanding. Her voice is so rich and deeply resonant. The artists performed with such understanding and depth as if they composed the music themselves. That was the best Brahms ever heard. -L.E. Kaneohe

I think that the mezzo you chose was outstanding...her voice was very beautiful in so many ways...I need to learn some of those Brahms songs...I do not know them and now I am compelled to know them. -F.C. Kailua

I thoroughly enjoyed your program!  How wonderful to juxtapose different interpretations of the same piece!  And there were a few firsts for me...hearing an orchestrated "Phydilé," a tenor singing Rachmaninoff's "I Remember," and of course Bryn Terfel's raunchy "Foggy, Foggy Dew."  A wonderful hour!  Thank you!  -S.G. (Honolulu)

Superlative Valentine’s Day program. “Nahandove” wins hands down. And to think that a “sexless” composer wrote this (Ravel apparently had no lovers, etc) -D.H. (Honolulu)

Your program is just wonderful!  We listened fascinated last Sunday.  What a lot of thought is going into it!  I wonder when Lotte Lehmann will be the mystery singer!?    So glad to hear you back on the air.  Aloha, -J.C. (Honolulu)

Loved your show! The format, the time slot, your approach---- I wouldn't change a thing. Bravo to you @ 88.1FM !!!    -I.P. (Waipahu)

We were delighted to hear you back on HPR tonight!  Hooray!  Like the new format with doing many songs twice with different singers. -B.S. (Kamuela)

In response to the Mystery Singer program: Irmgard who?  My surmise is that you did not get one correct answer !!!   If the contest is too obscure, you will get a falling away of interest. Just my drunken thoughts. Love your show. -B.E. (Honolulu)

Great Show! Congratulations on a wonderful show! How does it feel to be back? -S.K. (Kamuela)

I liked the show; very educational, I know a lot more about Liszt now! I listened on the lanai with my boom box radio, the sound was very good! Home grown, I love it! I am going to check out the website and see if I can do something for the Art Song Contest. -G.M. (Hilo)

Congratulations on your new show. I am looking forward to hearing what you have to offer on future programs!         -M.B. (Kohala Ranch)

I will miss Maya Hoover, but so, so happy you are back at the helm! -J.H. (Kona)

Caller "appreciates today's Singing and other Sins. It's better than other shallow programs that play Christmas music." -No name or location

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

• I thought I should provide some background on the program: Singing and other Sins, especially the name.

Why “Singing and other Sins”? There are several reasons for the name change. When I began Great Songs in 1988, song meant something that was sung. Now, it can mean almost anything: an opera track, speaking or a movement from a symphony. Something that can be downloaded. So that’s why the word “song” wasn’t relevant any longer (when I began programming again in 2011) for a program featuring art song, which is indeed singing.

The “sins” portion comes about because we are part of a civilization for which singing is certainly viewed with suspicion. If you were to walk down the street singing, you would be judged insane, drunk or exhibitionist. In other words, singing in most first world countries (except Italy) is just not done. Classical singers are often mocked (“the fat woman”) and except for the Pavorottis of the world, derided.

The word “other” in the radio program title refers to my present belief that I need to offer art song in the context of other music of the composer or period, thus providing context. Almost all art song composers were prolific in many genres and these non-art song examples of their work can allow the listener to enjoy art song more and appreciate the whole body of compositions in which a serious composer finds expression. It is a fun challenge for me to find non-art song that works between the repetitions of a song. This music shouldn’t be jarringly different but rather act as an intermezzo or interlude. By the way, I now repeat the song (often by a different voice type or interpretation) because most art songs are unfamiliar. By hearing them twice it gives the listener a better chance to enjoy them. For those familiar with the repertoire, the second hearing offers the chance to compare voices/interpretations/eras.

Fitting all the words together of Singing and other Sins provides a bit of fun, something like the book title from a few years ago: “Men, Women, and Tenors.”

• What follows below is the essence of a press-release that commemorated my return to broadcasting in November 2011.

"Every 22 years the program should change!" Those are the words of the producer and MC of "Great Songs," Gary Hickling. In 1988 he initiated the weekly one-hour program of art songs broadcast on Hawaii Public Radio. It is the only regularly-scheduled  hour-long radio program of art songs in the world (as far as anyone can tell!).  

In 2009 Dr. Maya Hoover, a voice professor at the University  of Hawaii, Manoa Music Department, took over all aspects of  the program. She has since been promoted at the University and has too many commitments to continue with "Great Songs," so as of Sunday, November 6, 2011 at 7pm on KHPR, KKUA and  KANO Gary has taken it over again.  

After 22 years of essentially the same format (all songs), when Gary resumed "Great Songs" he decided to call it “Singing  and other Sins," because, though at least 50% of the program will be art songs, it will also include non-art song recordings for context and variety.  This variety can include other vocal music from operas, cantatas or oratorios; chamber music; solo instrumental with or without piano accompaniment; and orchestral symphonic music.

 "So now when I request that a composer send me his/her recent  recordings of art songs, I’ll include a request for their non-song compositions as well," and Gary goes on to remind us, "Yes, Virginia, there are wonderful art songs being written right now and all over the  world!" For those not familiar with the genre, an art song is a poem set to music by a classical composer for voice and piano. Think Schubert's Ave Maria, Brahms' Lullaby or Copland's "Simple Gifts."  

Further changes include the original texts and translations (see the translation page above) offered on the HPR website, so that listeners can follow along with the songs. (IPads work great for this!) And since art songs aren't well known, even by classical music aficionados, Gary will also be playing the songs more than once. The listener can hear the same song with different singers, different genders and vocal ranges, different styles, and different eras of recordings. All this will offer the listener a chance to become familiar with (and enjoy more) the beautiful songs.  

Another new feature: There will be a quiz on each program. Listeners can respond with their answer by email, twitter (SingingSins), or Facebook. The winner will have his/her name listed with the question/answer on the Master Musicologist page on HPR's website.  You can view the Master Musicologist page from this site.

And finally, but certainly not least, after a few year hiatus, the HPR Art Song Contest returns. This contest  has been supported by HPR for 13 seasons, and has enjoyed the talents of some wonderful winners. The Metropolitan, San Francisco and Chicago opera companies are using former winners Jordan Shanahan and Quinn Kelsey. Other winners include local favorites Mary Chesnut,  Malia Ka'ai, Heidi Thomas, Natalie Capino, Nicholas Walters, and Po'a Lincoln among many others.

All the background and entry information for the Art Song Contest can be found on this HPR "Singers and other Sins" website. So do visit the page and tell all the singers you know!