domenica 2 ottobre 2011

Basso Profondo Orthodox Chants are stunning

As everyone knows, the repertoire for basso profondos is relatively limited. Unless you are directing a performance of Mahler or Rachnmaninov, you will rarely find yourself in need of a basso profondo. Those of us who like basso profondos should be thankful for Ludwig Fischer (1745-1824), a man who is directly and indirectly responsible for a substantial chunk of the basso profondo repertoire.
It was for Fischer that Mozart wrote the role of Osmin in Die Entführung aus dem Serail with the Act 3 aria "O, wie will ich triumphieren," in which Osmin descends to a meaty D2. It is clear that Ludwig Fischer was a formidable bass himself, but he is only indirectly responsible for this sector of basso profondo repertoire.
Fischer was directly responsible, however, for the German drinking song "Im tiefen Keller sitz' ich hier—in English, “In cellar cool, I sit me here.” Fischer wrote the song to showcase the bass range, originally spanning F2-F4.

Below is an English translation of the lyrics:
In cellar cool I sit me here, upon a pipe at leisure
And with a cheerful mind I order
Win in right good measure
The tapster draws a mighty glass
When he beholds me winking
I hold my cup high in the air,
when I'm drinking, drinking, drinking.

Poor me a thirsty demon plagues,
But I shall surely fright him,
and with my wineglass in my hand
I'll up and bravely fight him
The whole world seems rosy red
and ever to my thinking
I'd do no harm to any man
when I'm drinking, drinking, drinking

I’ll leave you with a few renditions of the piece. First, and audio only clip of the piece in its original key, sung by bass Jose Mardones.

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