How did you even find this?!? That lady is a mind-fuck!
"As it might be sung by a Handel oratorio singer in the provinces" I think she nailed it.......
She did a whole album of Beatles' covers, as can be heard, for instance, here; with full orchestral treatment - string section, harpsichord and all. "Help" is even more insane than this, if that's possible.She was a very forward-thinking musician, BTW, collaborating with many contemporary composers on all sorts of avantgarde and wackiness - some very far from the opera diva standard.
Oh this was just brilliant - first class musician having a fun - also of interest is very angry Nina Simone going trough that horrible cheesy "Feelings" (youtube) that is another example of artist against the song.On the other hand - in "no talent" category check youtube of Mrs.Miller (provincial housewife singing "Downtown") or worst Elvis imitator Eilart Pilarm doing unspeakable acts to "All shook up"
Well, an evil twin for this one would probably be Florence Foster Jenkins
This strikes me a the conceptual inverse of Sonic Youth's performances of Ticket to Ride. Cathy Berberian minimizes, perhaps even nullifies, the exuberance of the original pop version by channeling the energy of the song into a very studied formalism. Sonic Youth maximizes the energy of the song to the breaking point, and the song disintegrates in less than 30 seconds into chants of "ugga ba-bugga." [see here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pDhoPf5wxm4] Both versions frustrate our expectations, one by collapse into formalism and the other by explosion into formlessness. Both versions take an essentially destructive stance toward the original, however where Sonic Youth is blatant, Cathy Berberian is subtle. In an era when blatant punk rock has become so commonplace that it has lost it's ability to shock, contemporary classical is regaining its ability to impact. When i drive downtown with my windows open blaring aggressive punk or hip-hop, nobody blinks an eye and my personal space is not enlarged in the slightest despite my sonic intrusion into public space. But if I turn Kronos Quartet all the way up to 11, people notice. Only contemporary classical music is still capable of the Production of Space as described by Henri Lefebvre.
Thank you, Paul, great analysis. Where's the like button when you need it? :)
"Even Cathy Berberian knows... There's one roulade she can't sing" (Your Gold Teeth, Steely Dan, 1973). I guess this isn't it.Incidentally, in our house we don't sing roulades any more. Tried it, looks way too wierd.Thank you for your wonderful blog, which I always enjoy revisiting.- Nick the Unanonymous