As a pianist and teacher of singers, I have listened to thousands of voice lessons and recitals, and have played most of them on the piano myself.
Way back when, when I was a secretary for a tax law firm on Wall Street, I used to get really bored and would have nothing to do, so I would make up programs and send them through the mail to friends. Most of my friends thought me insane (still do) but a few really "got" what I was trying to do. Cleaning out a closet last night, I found this "review" of a concert which I completely invented and pretended to publish under the name "Trel Rolfang." (Told you I was insane). I hope you "get it" and enjoy this as much as I did writing it and then finding it after so many years - here goes:
The Huntsburger-Xenophonic Humanities Club of Yakima Wisconsin
Presents Foreign Artiste in Recital
Presents Foreign Artiste in Recital
It is always a pleasure to be able to say, in the springtime of the year, that we have come upon a joyous occasion for music. It was during our last evening of musical nocturnal musings, that we were pleased to hear Madame Shavime Werl, Soprano drammatica d 'energetico, lately of La Scala Opera Company of Milan, Italy, Teatro Colon of Argentina, and the Lambling Grisleth Downtown Music Listeners Society of Sussex-in-Thames, ENGLAND.
Madame Werl was beautifully costumed in a Cele Chapman Empire-waisted gown with an overlay of silk fishnet, studded with Conch shells and Pop-tops from Budweiser Beer cans. A special feature of her outfit was her unusual shoes, which were twelve- inch platform heels with electric lights and powered by minute batteries placed inside the heels of the shoes. Need I say that Madame Werl presented a dazzling sight to behold, indeed?
Madame Werl has made an extensive study of the music of Heinrich Schuetz-Smythe, descendant of the composer Jakob Fuchs, lately of Stinkenbach-on-Tirol, Switzerland. She has found many cantatas and arias which have never before been performed and is presently preparing an edition of these musical selections for publication. As a special treat to last night's audience, Madame Werl presented fifteen of these pieces for the first group on her recital.
Special attention was paid to the intricate contrapuntal details of the thirteenth and fifteenth arias, using a blackboard showing the illustrative inner workings of the compositions. Madame Werl found it a little difficult to move around, what with keeping the lights working in her shoes and being in the right place at the right time to point out special musical significances at the board, and sing, all simultaneously. She did, however, competently, give an excellent reading of this group. She is, obviously, the only living artiste to have this music in her possession, and for this reviewer's concern, she can keep them.
Following the Schuetz-Smythe group, Intermission was held in the Pilkington-HaIsley Phlox Garden, Directly behind the stage. Members of the audience were served Lizard Tongues en brochette and Vichy water, by Madame Werl, who had prepared the delicious refreshments, herself, before the recital on a Wok stove in the auditorium.
The second half of the evening's program turned out to be a surprise, indeed! A performance of the "Ode on Finding Crabs" was given by Madame Werl. This unbelievable composition, by the late nineteenth-century Serbian composer Ernst Kelbonck, uses actual crab mating calls as a background drone while the singer interpolates her own experiences in vocal forms. Especially interesting are the sounds made by the South Carolina She- Crab during sexual intercourse all of which was recorded on Telefunken Equipment by Audio Research Center of Winsington, Bermuda.
As a constant recital attender, I found that Shavime Werl's concert was a real thrill and excitement. It has been a long time since Yakima has heard any things quite like her and wrongly so, for her artistry and nuance of vocal line and coloring of consonants are so rare in this day and age. We look forward, eagerly, to Shavime Werl's next appearance in Yakima, when she will sing the entire road map of Arkansas and Southern Mississippi.
copyright 1973 by Trel Rolfang