kathleen ferrier – bist du bei mir

This recording was made in 1950.

When thou art near, I go with joy
To death and to my rest.
O how pleasant would my end be,
If your fair hands
Would close my faithful eyes.

Kathleen Mary Ferrier, CBE (22 April 1912 – 8 October 1953) was an English contralto singer who achieved an international reputation as a stage, concert and recording artist, with a repertoire extending from folksong and popular ballads to the classical works of Bach, Brahms, Mahler and Elgar. Her death from cancer, at the height of her fame, was a shock to the musical world and particularly to the general public, which was kept in ignorance of the nature of her illness until after her death.

“Bist du bei mir” (English: “be, thou, with me”) (BWV 508) is an aria in the Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach. It was therefore attributed to Johann Sebastian Bach, but the melody is part of the Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel opera Diomedes, oder die triumphierende Unschuld that was performed in Bayreuth on November 16, 1718. The opera score is lost.

(Info taken from Wikipedia.)

marie chouinard compagnie – bODY_rEMIX/gOLDBERG_vARIATIONS

An astonishing piece, created for the Venice Biennale’s International Festival of Contemporary Dance, Italy, 2005 by Canadian dancer, choreographer and dance company director Marie Chouinard, OC (born 14 May 1955). Some excerpts from the performance at Place des Arts, Montreal, 2007:

In this work by Marie Chouinard, the company’s ten dancers execute variations on the exercise of freedom. Often, the dancers appear on points: on one, two, and even four at a time. In a spectroscopy of the gesture, we also see them using different devices – crutches, rope, prostheses, horizontal bars, and harnesses – which at times liberate their movements, at others fetter it, and at still others create it.

This use of accessories gives rise to unusual bodily shapes and gestural dynamics and opens onto a universe of meticulous and playful explorations in which solos, duos, trios and group work, in their labour, pleasure and invention, echo the human condition.

An aesthete beyond norms, Marie Chouinard presents her ideas on the way the indefinableness of the Other and the flagrancy of Beauty brush up against one another through an interpretation of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Goldberg Variations. Subtle and extravagant, sumptuous and wild, the work’s movements plumb the insoluble mystery of the body, of the living being.

Watch the whole performance >