A Note on Recordings

Recordings are a conundrum. They are drafts of our work, they pass themselves off as permanent. To publish a recording is to put ones work in conversation with unattainable perfection and definitive performances of the past. It is to invite judgement. For young singers arias take on a life and a drama more real than that which they serve in their respective operas, as we march them out in competitions and audition after audition, or when somehow an aria turns into a mere "audio sample." In these contexts the aria becomes two things at once: the work itself and an operatic 100 m dash or 5k in which we show how we excel, and where we fall short. I've grown accustomed to that function of the aria, and don't hesitate to post aria recordings (of my favorite takes), even as I hear the ever present space between my rendition and that which I strive for. Lieder however gives me pause. Though the form gives more latitude for presonal interpretation, to post recordings of my favorite lieder feels somehow more presumptuous than an aria. Nevertheless I've chosen to post a few recent lieder recordings. They are public drafts. When I listen to them, I hear work that I'm proud of; I hear interpretative decisions that didn't quite get to the heart of it; I hear risks that paid off; I hear risks I didn't take; I hear my vanity masking the music; I hear the music come through; I hear a vowel not quite open enough; I don't hear a final consonant; I hear my tongue too far back. All of this adds up to my conversation with my collaborators and the composers, which is essentially the thing I want to share. With that long caveat disguised as a reflection, I hope you enjoy my work.

Andrew Munn