Eine Kleine Nichtmusik

Witty and pertinent observations on matters of great significance OR Incoherent jottings on total irrelevancies OR Something else altogether OR All of the above

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

But you don't really care for music, do ya?

Over on Facebook I am a member of a group called the Katherine Jenkins and Russel Watson Appreciation Society. Actually I need an html tag to bring out the heavy irony in that title, as actually it's a group of people who don't think they're very good. Before the hate mail begins to pour in, may I make it clear that I have nothing against KJ or RW as people, and believe they have a perfect right to make their living by singing whether I like what they do or not. This article in last Friday's Guardian encapsulates the problem I have with them, which is twofold. (1) They're simply not very good at what they do and (b) their type of "classical crossover" doesn't for the most part actually cross over into anything. At least with the Three Tenors or Nigel Kennedy they form a stepping-stone to the wider world of classical music: they genuinely have a foot on each back of the stream, so to speak. If a Katherine Jenkins album can define Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah as a "Sacred Aria" when it is neither an aria nor sacred, something has gone wrong. And as for whether you think she does it as well as, say, Jose Carreras doing West Side Story, here she is. Make up your own minds. Personally, I'm just glad this isn't the version topping the charts this Christmas.

7 Comments:

At 23 December, 2008 09:52, Anonymous Phil said...

It takes a highly-developed tin ear to ignore all those 'Hallelujah'/'do ya' rhymes. She should really go the whole hog and sing 'Hallelooyoo'.

 
At 23 December, 2008 17:24, Blogger Persephone said...

Hmmn. Well, it's pretty, but pretty lacking in soul, isn't it? As an antidote, I offer kd lang. Now, I'm sure you're aware she's recorded this and she's performed this live many times, but this particular performance blew me through the wall. When "Hallelujah" was inducted into the Canadian Songwriter's Hall of Fame a couple of years ago, kd lang sang it to Leonard Cohen himself. Listen, and tell me what you think...

 
At 23 December, 2008 17:31, Blogger Persephone said...

I had the link to the kd lang performance all set up, tested the link to make sure it worked, repasted it and the damn link disappeared. Trying again...

 
At 23 December, 2008 18:39, Blogger JoeinVegas said...

So much music. Thanks

 
At 24 December, 2008 01:14, Blogger Rob said...

Persephone - I hadn't heard that version before but I like it. Not as much, I think, as either the Jeff Buckley or Cohen's own, but they all have their place.

Phil - yes, it sticks out, doesn't it? She not only has a tine ear: for me, the worst thing about her singing (even more than the huge wobbly vibrato) is that she doen't communicate meaning or emotion at all. Which one might think would be a handicap, seeing as how that's what singing is all about.

Yet critics of Ms Jenkins and others of similar talent are usually dismissed as being "elitist" or "snobbish". Supposedly we dislike her because she's popular. Well Kylie Minogue is a thousand times more popular, and I'd rather listen to hear singing "Hallelujah", or indeed Mozart, because she does know how to communicate.

 
At 24 December, 2008 10:21, Anonymous Phil said...

Or indeed "Santa baby".

It's not about elitism - there's good and there's... less good (seasonal goodwill).

 
At 25 December, 2008 00:43, Blogger Rob said...

Now that's what I call communication. Not sure I'd care to see Ms Jenkins try emulating it though....

Peace and goodwill (IT'S CHIRSSSTMAASSSS!)

 

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