Friday, December 24, 2010


My daughter, Emma arrived home for Christmas from London last week (wasn't she incredbly fortunate, given the plight of so many others still trying to get home) with a CD recording of operatic arias performed by world-renowned soprano Renee Fleming, that she had received as a birthday present. She sat me down at the kitchen table, saying I just had to listen. There was only one aria on the CD that I had heard before, namely Vissi D'Arte from  Giacomo Puccini's ultra-dramatic opera Tosca. It was an emotional and tearful sharing, because that's just the way the two of us are about beautiful music. Then we got to track 5 - Ich Ging Zu Ihm from Korngold's opera, DasWunder der Heliane. Wow!

This piece sounds so different from the rest. I had never heard tell of the name of Erich Korngold (1897 - 1957), an Austro-Hungarian Film and Romantic composer, before. Apparently, composer Gustav Mahler thought he was a genius. Korngold won an academy award for his score for the 1938 film, The Adventures of Robin Hood, which many consider to be the best film score ever written. Korngold believed his opera Das Wunder Der Heliane to be his masterpiece, but at its first performance at the Hamburg State Opera in 1927, it was considered, by critics, to be a flop.

I am a great fan of American lyric soprano Renee Fleming, who has successfully crossed the divide into the rock music genre, with her album Dark Hope recorded in June 2010, performing cover versions of such artists as Leonard Cohen, Band of Horses and Jefferson Airplane. Many classically-trained singers, who have attempted to do this, fail  quite miserably, unfortunately. 

The curtain fell on my last Christmas show on Wednesday night 22nd December; weather conditions having pushed everything forward. The echoes of the last few days of rehearsal, leaving Golden, passing through the village of Bansha, the Glen of Aherlow to arrive in Lisvernane, pulling over the car, stepping out, tripping over briars in ditches, falling flat on my face on one occasion, watching my camera spin away from me across the road, in an effort to capture the moment, whilst Renee's singing of Korngold and other arias reached out to the valley beyond, through an open door or window, will remain forever in my heart, as very special, 'Korngolden' moments!


Wipe your feet and just walk in
Everything's where it's always been.
Flames in the hearth, candles lit,
Pull over the chair where you always sit.

Take off your shoes, warm your toes,
There's love in your heart, the sparkle shows.
Making a wish as you close your eyes,
May it come true by early sunrise!

Maureen Walsh  December 24th 2010 ©

I would like to wish all those and their families, who pop in and out, now and then, to have a peak at how my mind is working, a very Happy, Safe Christmas and a very Peaceful New Year!

Ciao for Now!


alaine@éclectique said...

Love the inviting, festive living-room photo, the snow pics are exquisite and your poem is delightful!

Renée is one of my favourites.

Maureen, have a joyful Christmas with your daughter and all good things in the New Year!

Maureen Walsh said...

Thanks Alaine. Wishing you a Very Happy New Year.