It’s all about offering the right sort of incentives

I did something almost entirely unprecedented yesterday: I drove through campus at or below the official speed limit of 18 mph. This annoyed some people, but I did it for a good cause: I was listening to Kasarova sing a Handel aria, and I wanted to let her get to the end of it before I had to get out of the car.

This one is an old favorite of mine, but as I heard it again I was reminded of how perfect the tempo choice is here.

It’s about hope, but it’s a warm, solid and deeply felt hope – this is not an aria about irrational exuberance. This performance has just the right balance, I think, between pushing the lilt of the beat and giving the music space to unfold – I think it would be very easy to perform this aria too quickly, and that does not happen here.

You ever stop and think about which CDs are likely to cause you to start crying in, say, fifteen or twenty years when you’re feeling nostalgic? Not necessarily because of the content alone, but also because of the all the depth of association that repeated listening has added to them? This might be one for me – I’m not sure yet.

4 thoughts on “It’s all about offering the right sort of incentives

  1. Good pick, E! I’m so grateful that she is so well recorded through out her career (and I still can’t get enough of the lass! I’m a VK glutton or something!). 🙂 I don’t always get her singing on the first go either, but unlike many otherwise versatile singers, her singing is so uniquely unorthodox that it grows on me (or perhaps I should say that what I don’t get on first go I usually grow to love on subsequent hearings instead). The gal really has something meaningful to say when she sings. There isn’t a note intoned just for the sake of intoning it.


    1. Nothing wrong with being a VK glutton! Unorthodox is a good word; she’s one of those singers who can make the already familiar sound new. I really like her recording of Brahms and I think Schumann and Schubert songs – both the sound itself and the interpretations. Every note is doing something 🙂


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