Gillian Keith Soprano

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A Voice in a Gillian

High Notes and the Bottom Line – on Life, Love and Art

This is the sound of my voice. A voice in a Gillian. This is my place to talk about life, love and art – My take on music, why I love it, how I hear it and what it means to me.
Stay tuned for stories from a soprano on the go…

News for Spring/Summer 2018 – Royal Opera, Jazz, Bach and more!

Posted by on Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018 at 2:50 pm

Thank you for tuning into Gillian Keith’s News for Spring/Summer 2018! The coming singing season is full of wonderful new challenges and a wide variety of creative projects to tell you about. From March 27th 2018 I will be singing the role of Miss Spink in Mark-Anthony Turnage’s new opera ‘Coraline’ for the Royal Opera. The production will be staged at the Barbican for a run of nine shows until the 7th of April. It’s always a thrill to be a part of a brand new creation, and the vivid designs for this show (not to mention the wonderful cast!) will bring Turnage’s fabulous score to life in an unmissable theatrical experience. Show and Ticket details can be found here.   A welcome revival of my Words-and-Music piece ‘Debussy And His Muse’ will be a part of the ‘University of Sheffield Concerts’ programme as part of  La Belle Époque French Weekend on Saturday, March 10th, 2018. A true piece of theatre with my own original script and songs by Debussy and his contemporaries, the production was first presented at Wilton’s Music Hall in April, 2015. See photos here and a link for Tickets and Event Details here.   One of my most exciting and rewarding projects in recent months has been the launch of my Bach Cantatas for Soprano Solo series with Armonico Consort on Signum Records. Volume I was released last year and received critical acclaim in the press. Gramophone magazine said of Cantata BWV 210 “This could be made for Gillian Keith as she traverses the filigree with seasoned panache and always gloriously instinctive textual nuancing.” I’m excited to present this programme of cantatas with Armonico Consort at London’s beautiful and historic St John’s Smith Square on Monday, April 16th, 2018. Tickets and Event Information can be found here.   My personal tastes in music don’t just rest within the realm of classical and opera… I am just as likely to have rock, pop or jazz on my iPod as I am to be listening to a cantata or a concerto. And that’s why I’m so excited to be preparing for an evening of jazz and cabaret at Pizza Express Live’s Chelsea venue, The Pheasantry on Sunday, April 22nd, 2018. My show is called ‘Wonder Women’ with repertoire that looks back over several decades of some of the most celebrated female singer-songwriters that have inspired and changed the course of folk, country, cabaret and jazz music. Featuring music by queens of song such as Judy Garland, Mavis Staples, Joni Mitchell, Kate Bush and Ella Fitzgerald, it’s a diverse and satisfying set list that I hope will thrill the crowd! This will be an evening of good food, good fun and fabulous musical performances from my cabaret colleagues. Find out how to buy your tickets here.   Other dates in the calendar for spring are April 29th, 2018 when I will be singing Alexander’s Feast by Handel with the Cranbrook Choral Society, and May 10, 11 and 12 when I will be performing Bach, Vivaldi, Purcell and Telemann cantatas with Armonico Consort at the Felicja Blumental Festival in Tel Aviv. On June 17th, 2018 I will be part of a fabulous lineup in a celebration of songs by Edith Piaf and Jacques Brel at The Pheasantry, and August...

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Birthing Creativity

Posted by on Saturday, July 22nd, 2017 at 11:51 am

This month I have been presenting a new and wonderfully creative show at the Buxton International Festival, ‘Los Nacimientos’, an interdisciplinary music, dance and theatre piece with music by Tom Randle and texts by Pablo Neruda. Los Nacimientos means literally, the births, and the title of the work comes from one of Neruda’s own poems. Although the title fits many of the themes explored within the poetry, it is also a name that fits the concept and the production process very aptly.   What is ‘Los Nacimientos’ and how did it come about? It began life as a cycle of five songs which I performed for the first time back in 2008. But Tom Randle always felt it needed expanding, and was waiting for an idea which would bring it more fullness… and that’s where dotdotdot dance come in. A company of three amazingly creative and talented flamenco dancers, their work inspired him to tap in further to the words of Neruda and to add solo dance movements suggested by the passionate latin rhythms which he senses in the words and themes of the poems. From this powerful and distinctive music we have developed a 60 minute piece which leads the audience seamlessly through each of the seven songs and four dance ‘capitulos’ (chapters), with some unconventional sprinklings of Neruda’s poems woven into the mix. In this show you’ll hear 21st century lyric song that is powerful, beautiful, touching and evocative, you’ll hear solo piano music (played skilfully by John Reid) that demands incredibly sensitivity and also virtuosity, and on a visual level you’ll see inventive and thrilling flamenco-infused choreography performed with incredible beauty and precision.   When this group of artists gathered to begin shaping the overall piece, no one knew for sure what would emerge. We all exchanged ideas, we offered suggestions, and we tried to adhere to some kind of agreed structure and scale. We played with soundscapes – the sound of fabric dragging on the floor evokes the ocean. We explored visual parallels – the flamenco manton (shawl) can be both bird-like and wave-like. And a piano improvisation on a single chord mimics the tremolo of a flamenco guitar.  Each performer in Los Nacimientos, including the composer himself, has brought his or her own feelings about Neruda’s words into the creation of this work, and the offering of each idea, each sentiment, each intention, has birthed something wholly original and artistic.   After many months of discussions, meetings and workshops, and after an intensive two week rehearsal period at a quirky studio in South-East London, we have given birth to this work which honours creativity, which nurtures free thinking, and which inspires imagination, just as Neruda has done for us, and for millions of others. The words from his poem ‘Nace’ have been a continuous motto in my mind from the start: “Abre las alas, nace el fuego…”! Wings open, fire is born… This promotional video from our open dress rehearsal gives a tiny flavour of the piece. Plans are underway to present Los Nacimientos in festivals in 2018 and beyond… watch this space!    ...

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Good Things Come To Those Who Wait

Posted by on Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017 at 5:02 pm

Good things come to those who wait. That old adage helped me a great deal over the past couple of years as I waited, sometimes patiently and sometimes impatiently, for the release of my latest CD, Handel German Arias, with the superb chamber ensemble, Florilegium. The disc augments Florilegium’s already impressive discography with Channel Classics, and although we have performed together many times, it is my first recording with the group. I first encountered Handel’s Nine German Arias as a university student, and as it is for so many of us, the music or artistic experiences one has at that impressionable age are ones that can be most informative as we mature. They are reminders of our innocent, uncomplicated approach to the art, our naïve enthusiasm for the sounds and combinations of language, text, imagery and composition and the strong feelings of possibility and assurance as we bring certain pieces into our ears and our awareness. Something about these beautiful miniatures (to me they are gorgeous snapshots of the intricate yet decadent baroque soundscape that Handel would go on to govern) captured my heart, and I learned every word and every note of these arias by heart at the age of 20. I have had a few occasions to perform these pieces over the years, however usually in groups of 3 or 4 to a programme, and I always had trouble choosing which ones I would do! But still knowing them by heart, they are often arias I sing when I’m not sure what else to practice or to use as a warm-up. They always cheer me up, and they always remind me why I love singing, especially baroque music.  Bringing them off the shelf and back onto my music stand for this recording was like rereading my favourite childhood book or like travelling down an old, familiar road from my youth. We actually made the CD in 2013, and various setbacks to do with release schedules, budgets, and other business considerations meant that our project was shifted into the slow lane and needed a break in the traffic to regain its momentum. An overflow of good ideas and a surge in Florilegium’s creativity caused a bottleneck at a main junction and our Handel arias were re-routed via a detour! There are a few dozen emails in my sent items titled ‘Handel CD release?’ But none of that seems to matter now that the project has come to fruition. Having the disc in my hands is another dream come true, another milestone on my path as a creative artist. For me this project, despite the long interval between hatching the idea with Florilegium, scheduling performance and recording dates, editing, and finally seeing the CD on my shelf was always a good thing, and as we know, good things come to those who wait. See the publicity about our recording here and here and listen to samples on iTunes...

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Only Fools Russian!

Posted by on Tuesday, January 24th, 2017 at 9:19 am

One of the most common questions I am asked by audience members or by those simply curious about the life of an opera singer is, “How many languages do you speak?” The assumption is that a singer understands every word they sing, and that to perform music in a foreign language one must be able to speak or understand the text. I hope I’m not spoiling any illusions when I say that is not the case!  While I have a very good handle on French, German, Italian and Spanish, I do not speak Russian, Swedish, Norwegian, Finnish, Czech, Portuguese or Hindi, yet I have performed in all these languages. What’s the trick, and how can a singer hope to produce a convincing rendition of words or poetry they don’t even understand? I am preparing a programme of songs by Borodin, Tanayev and Rachmaninov for a performance in the London Chamber Music Society series at King’s Place at the end of this month with the acclaimed Zhislin, Podobedov & Blaumane Piano Trio, which is a wonderful challenge, but also an awful lot of extra homework for me! The tricky part is not so much the language itself, but the time it takes my brain to process it. If you have no experience in deciphering what might seem like a strange code, the alphabet of Cyril can be surreal (that’s a feeble attempt at a silly rhyme…!). But with the help of a beginner’s Russian book, or even a basic guide off the internet, anyone can learn the letters. Helpfully, there are even some that are the same as our own, (a, k, M, o, and T make the same sounds as in English) so it’s not as hard as it might seem as first! Admittedly there’s a bit more to it than just cracking the code and joining up random sounds, but it’s a good place to start. With the help of my dictionary I am able to read, pronounce, and gain a basic understanding of key words in a new song or poem. Helpful translation sites and recordings on You Tube or iTunes help me to verify my diction and the deeper meaning of the poetry I might not have gleaned from my limited comprehension skills.  And although it might take me three or four times as long to penetrate a song or aria and bring it up to performance standard, the satisfaction and genuine relationship I forge with a piece through this method is well worth it. In fact, if I am to give a credible interpretation, for me, this seemingly laborious technique it is the only way to go. This past weekend I met with the group for our first rehearsal, and the two native Russians in the room accepted my rendition of these poems without the blink of an eye… I will take that as a positive sign that I’ve done my homework well! Hear us live on BBC Radio 3 ‘In Tune’ this week, Thursday, January 26th around 6pm for a foretaste of the upcoming concert, and join us on Sunday, January 29th, 2017 at 18:30 for an inspiring programme of songs by Borodin, Massenet, Taneyev and Rachmaninov, as well as piano trios by Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov at Kings Place in London. You’d be a...

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A Concert of Memories

Posted by on Tuesday, November 29th, 2016 at 3:58 pm

  In late September this year I was delighted to perform a ‘Concert of Memories’ in honour of the late Roderick Lakin MBE, former director of Royal Over-Seas League Arts. I am honoured and privileged to have known Roderick since my years as student participating in the annual music competition, and I was always inspired and humbled by his devotion to the Arts, especially music. He was incredibly knowledgable, experienced and, most importantly, curious. His passion for music allowed him to be sensitive, emotional and excited about music and musicians. My wonderful friend and colleague, pianist Simon Lepper, and I offered a programme that made little stopping points at various musical memories and important periods in our own partnership, which has been developing for 19 years, since we met as students at the Royal Academy of Music. And although we have both encountered special relationships with many supportive colleagues and organisations over that time, our relationship with ROSL remains one of the most significant and constant. We both credit the influence of Roderick Lakin for that. On this special evening, we performed some early Debussy songs that were also on our programme in the final round of the vocal competition way back in 1998; I can’t sing these songs without thinking of ROSL and of Roderick. I remember that the concert hall was rather shabby back then, and that our performance platform was a scruffy black staging box which felt rather makeshift. Since then, the hall has become a beautiful, world class venue – perhaps it’s a symbol of the influence and relevance ROSL Arts has achieved in the cultural community not just of the UK, but around the Commonwealth. We also offered a set of Strauss Lieder which has a link to Roderick; when we were preparing to record our Strauss recital disc, we found it natural to turn to him for support and advice.  He didn’t hesitate to fit us into his busy schedule, and he spent an entire afternoon hearing our programme, making comments not just on the music, but on the overall presentation of our CD – track order, themes, and other useful bits of advice that we might not have thought of ourselves. When the disc was released, he offered us the hall to perform a launch recital, and a couple of years later, when I developed both our Debussy and Strauss programmes into larger, more ambitious theatre pieces, he incorporated them into the Edinburgh Fringe series.  Roderick was a dependable ear, a realistic giver of advice, and a true ally to so many musicians just like us, seeking audiences and opportunities to continue doing what we love to do. The other items on our recital were representative of Roderick’s penchant for imaginative programming, and the pleasure he derived from seeking out unusual repertoire combinations. Alongside more traditional songs of Schubert and Mozart, there was Barber, Liszt and Rachmaninov, which also represents the development and growth in my own repertoire over the years. But the most special element of the evening was the presence and support of so many friends (old and new), teachers, mentors, and esteemed ROSL members and directors.  Most humbling was to have Roderick’s wife Margaret to share the experience with us. Earlier that day she had been working through the...

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The Big Bach Project is Launched!

Posted by on Friday, February 19th, 2016 at 1:38 pm

Launching The Big Bach Project Raise the curtain! Turn on the spotlights! The show is ready to begin! The Big Bach Project is officially underway after the launch of the Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for Volume One of our complete set of Bach Cantatas for solo Soprano.  Along with my colleagues at Armonico Consort, we are ready to move into the first stage of this ambitious venture. We have high hopes for our fundraising campaign, to which many loyal supporters have already contributed; I am wholeheartedly grateful to those who have jumped right in with us.  See our Kickstarter page and video here. Many people are turning to crowdfunding these days – and not just artists. It is becoming increasingly accepted as a realistic way of funding work that can’t guarantee support from struggling charities, overstretched grant-giving organisations and governments. Crowdfunding gives us more control over our project right from the start. We can begin with funds in place, which means less risk, and greater ability to plan. If we can be independent of the record label by funding our own recording sessions, we have more control over the project in the longterm. Just as society is changing its habits in the ways it hears, shares and buys music, so are artists developing their approach to recording, distributing and performing music in the 21st Century. So with Stage One of The Big Bach Project under way, what happens next? The first event in our calendar is our concert tour. We are performing Cantatas BWV 82a, BWV 202 and BWV 210 in Warwick, Great Malvern and Yeovil from March 17-21. Full details of these concerts can be found here. It will be our chance to connect directly with live audiences; to speak to them about the pieces, and what makes each work in the project so special.  These performances will also allow us to experiment and have fun with the music before the more precise business of recording begins. There is also research and written preparation to do for these events. I will be writing programme notes for the concerts, and putting the pieces into a more factual and historical context for the audience. We are scheduled to begin recording in mid-April, by which time the experience of our live concerts will have settled somewhat, and we will have had an opportunity to let the joy of those performances permeate our thoughts and ideas about the music. In the meantime, I am studying these pieces daily – living and breathing them as I go about my day-to-day, with their luscious melodies, rich harmonies and poignant texts running constantly through my head. The opening bars of ‘The Wedding Cantata’ are like a perfect sunrise. The firmly grounded bass line sits on the horizon, from which the ascending string arpeggios rise into the golden harmonies of the lightening sky. The blossoming of the oboe’s pure melody is echoed by the soprano line singing, “Disperse, gloomy shadows!” The sun is also rising on our project, and I am filled with a sense of great hope not only for the coming weeks, but for the entire journey – I hope to be able to share my deep love of this music with many, and that as a group, we will communicate its genius...

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Remembering Roderick Lakin

Posted by on Thursday, October 29th, 2015 at 1:02 pm

Remembering Roderick Lakin, MBE   During my first few months as a student in London, many unexpected things happened to me – such as meeting The Queen after a concert given by Royal Academy of Music students at the Royal Festival Hall, and flying to Malta for a weekend to present a private concert for an influential RAM patron’s birthday party. There were less dramatic, but equally marvellous events, like spending a week at the Britten-Pears School in Aldeburgh and discovering the glorious beauty of the Suffolk coast, or the first time I walked down Brook Street and saw Handel’s house.   When I entered the Royal Over-Seas League Annual Music Competition in the winter of 1998, I had little idea what the organisation was about, or that it would play such a significant part in my musical life in the UK.  So what is ROSL, and what does it do? It is a non-profit Commonwealth organisation which supports and facilitates relationships through social, musical, and artistic activities. And why did it become so important to me? Not only did I win the top singing prize, but I received a scholarship from an associated Canadian organisation, both awards being key to funding my second year of study in London.   But it wasn’t all about winning awards and impressing the judges on the night. In the case of ROSL competitors and artists, winning the competition is not a requirement for continued association with the organisation. Its importance in my own career continued well beyond the prize-giving ceremony.   I can’t continue any further in this story without mentioning the former Director of ROSL Arts, Roderick Lakin. Some of you reading this piece will have known Roderick, and will, like me, have benefitted from his guidance and support during and after your studies. What a great shock then, when were heard the news that he died in August after a terrible accident involving a bus on a busy Edinburgh street corner.  Roderick was in the middle of running a packed 3 week programme of concerts and literary events at ROSL’s Scottish headquarters as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and I was due to arrive only a few days later to give 5 recitals in the final week of the series. I could hardly believe that, after all the discussions and planning we’d been through, he would not be there to hear those performances.   Since his death, many people have paid tribute to Roderick and his impressive and influential career. The words of ROSL’s Director General are perhaps more eloquent than my own: “Roderick was held in great respect and affection by the multitude of musicians from all corners of the globe whose careers have benefited from his tireless efforts on their behalf. He was admired throughout the arts and music worlds for his professionalism and inspirational work.”.   I believe I speak for many fellow artists when I say that in his position as Director of ROSL Arts, Roderick Lakin was more than an administrator, producer, concert programmer, promoter, adjudicator, and all the other roles he fulfilled within the job. He was also a teacher, mentor, counsellor, friend, and advisor, and he gave his help, guidance and support in such thoughtful and caring ways, whilst always remaining professional....

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The Debussy Connection – Gillian Keith on The Vasnier Story

Posted by on Monday, April 20th, 2015 at 3:08 pm

The Debussy Connection – Gillian Keith on The Vasnier Story   Soprano Gillian Keith’s search for the lost songs of Debussy led her to discover the love story behind the melodies he wrote for his muse, Blanche Vasnier. From her first encounter with the “Chansons de jeunesse” during her student years, Gillian has always felt a strong connection to Debussy’s songs. After years of performing and studying this music, a series of revelations led her to unearth several works that had been unpublished. She has brought them together, for the first time, as pieces of a puzzle that tell the tale of Debussy’s passionate yet forbidden affair with the woman who inspired his earliest work.   How did you hear about these songs? When I recorded my first Debussy CD I read a book called The Poetic Debussy by Richard Miller, which outlined all the songs Debussy wrote during his early period. Several were described as lost, or unpublished, and I found this frustrating and sad. How could so many songs by a musical giant remain unshared and private for all these years? Not enough interest? Secrecy of the collector? Or had someone simply been careless with them at some stage, and not recognised their importance?   A recital in 2012 with London Song Festival’s director Nigel Foster introduced me to two of these “disappeared” songs, which Nigel himself tracked down to the Library of Congress in Washington DC. Then, an overheard conversation between two pianists in the backstage green room at the Salle Pleyel in Paris let me in on the secret that there was a ‘new’ Debussy song being prepared as part of the edition of complete works.   Taking on the case in earnest, I tracked down another song to the New York Public Library, another through a French accompanist who had done his own transcription of Debussy’s only song for voice and harp, and finally I struck gold when I made contact with a scholar at Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. She agreed to share with me a song that had not been sung since its composition almost a century ago. My treasure hunt was leading me to significant rewards.   Where did these songs come from? When Debussy was 18 years old and a struggling student, he took a part-time job as a piano accompanist in the music studio of a famous Paris teacher, playing for singing lessons of wealthy society ladies. He needed the position in order to make ends meet, although he found the work tedious and beneath his talents. It was here that he met and fell in love with a talented amateur singer, Blanche Vasnier. Although 14 years his senior, and married with two children, he fell in love with her, and she inspired him to write dozens of exquisite melodies for her unusual, yet beautiful voice. It was during this period of great happiness, creativity and self-discovery that Debussy wrote some of his most touching, pure and perfect music.     What did that household mean to Debussy? Debussy’s relationship with Madame Vasnier and the whole Vasnier household nourished him in so many ways. As the eldest of five children, he was used to being part of a busy household, and in some ways Madame Vasnier...

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The Big Bach Project!

Posted by on Tuesday, April 7th, 2015 at 3:50 pm

As a music student my youth choir conductor, who knew how much I loved the music of Bach, introduced me to his cantata for solo soprano ‘Jauchzet Gott’. Surprised I didn’t already know it, she told me to go to the library and listen to it immediately! “It will change your life”, she said, and she was right. I spent hour after hour in the practice room working the lines into my voice, and within a matter of days I had devoured every note in the score. For weeks the recording never left my CD player. I felt I had encountered the perfect piece of music – the opening bars sent my spirits soaring, the central aria made me weep with affection for its simple sincerity, and come the final Alleluia, I was tingling with excitement as laughter bubbled in my throat. It was because of this piece I knew I wanted to pursue a career as a singer. Throughout my career Bach has remained a staple of my repertoire. I spent many joyful weeks rehearsing the St Matthew Passion in my first season as a professional choral singer in Toronto, and later that year attended a Bach course at the Britten-Pears School. In 2000 I toured Europe and the U.S. with John Eliot Gardiner and the Monteverdi Choir singing the church cantatas, and in 2002 made my ENO debut in Deborah Warner’s staged St John Passion. I sing everything from Monteverdi to Messaien and beyond, but Bach remains a special joy for me, and thankfully it is still a big part of my work. Bach wrote hundreds of cantatas, and each one contains evidence of his genius and his mastery of the form. But I have always been especially drawn to the solo cantatas, of which there are nine for soprano. I’ve been studying and performing them for a good many years now, and it’s always been a dream of mine to record them as a set. I imagine such a project being a total Bach immersion for my mind and my voice – a whole Bach wardrobe of the most vibrant colours and richest fabrics. To realise this dream, I have joined forces with Armonico Consort and Signum Records – how fortunate for me! They are equally excited about the venture, and our planning is refreshingly creative. The intended format is a three volume set of recordings, each disc with three cantatas. To have all the solo soprano cantatas presented on their own in one set will be unique – this is not something that has been done before. How will this enterprise take shape? The simple answer: in stages, with help, and always with the love of the music at the heart of our work.  Armonico is a forward-thinking and flexible organisation, and I am very excited by the possibilities for this project. They are refined and talented musicians backed by a capable and innovative administration, and I know we’ll make something special of this opportunity. This is a long-term project, and we have many pieces to put into place yet. But I wouldn’t want it to be a quick and easy undertaking. I am relishing every moment of the planning, preparation and striving that will turn this endeavour into something that will be nourishing and...

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Hidden Treasure

Posted by on Friday, January 2nd, 2015 at 11:10 am

My 2014 finished with the realisation of a dream – my latest CD, Debussy Songs For His Muse is pressed and packaged, and 100 copies arrived on my doorstep last month. Although the official release won’t be until February, having the finished product in my hand felt like enough of a cause for celebration. For over two years I have pushed the project forward, often in frustratingly slow stages, and once or twice I thought it would die before its time – frustrations in coordinating schedules, a glitch with performing rights and complicated discussions over translations all hampered progress. Classical music recordings are no longer money-making ventures, and in my case this was a labour of love fueled by my imagination. The recording features a ‘new’ song by Debussy, a composer who has been dead for nearly 100 years. Not technically a recent discovery, (we have known of its existence for a long time) this song has been well guarded in a private collection in the US for decades. I hope that the details of the story will come to light with its publication, but for now it remains a bit of a mystery. How could a song by a musical figure so well known to us (and one who is famed for his vocal output) remain unknown for all these years? Simply not enough interest? A change in the circumstances of the collector? New copyright or public domain regulations? Whatever the answers may be, we Debussy fans are benefitting from a rare and thrilling treat. In the course of my research I discovered that an established Debussy scholar (Marie Rolf, Associate Dean of Graduate Studies at Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York) had presented a group of recently edited songs at a symposium in New Orleans, and this elusive composition was on her list. The song Séguidille was written by Debussy for his muse Blanche Vasnier, an amateur soprano with a high, agile voice whom he met when he held a part-time job as an accompanist for singing lessons in a Paris studio. Although not a professional performer, Madame Vasnier clearly had an impressive technique, judging by the demanding music written for her. This song, set to a poem by Théophile Gautier, describes the alluring physique and sultry flirtations of a Spanish ‘Manola’, and requires the singer to throw off fast runs, high trills, and cover a range of over two octaves. Lasting nearly 5 minutes, it is a major addition to the repertoire – an old song for a new generation. How did I manage to get my hands on it? I suppose it helped that I have built a modest reputation as a Debussy performer, having released a disc of his early songs in 2003, and that Marie Rolf already knew of my work. But I like to think it was my genuine enthusiasm for her endeavours in bringing this music to the wider world that made me a worthy recipient of this precious material. Marie agreed to share her draft edition with me in August 2013, and at that time I believe there were very few people who had seen or heard these notes. Since then I have performed several times it in recital, (letting the audience know they were hearing something extremely...

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