Lawrence Zazzo Masterclass (RCM, 29 October 2014)
Following a chat about masterclasses with thadieu, I realised the next one I was going to was in April, 100 years away. A quick search revealed LZ was doing one at the Royal College of Music today. This is why I live in London. The crowds in the Museum area are another thing. Tip: if you’re visiting, don’t go to the museums in Knightsbridge on a weekday. It’s murder. Do go to Knightsbridge at other times, you’re likely to see a lot of vintage cars and some badass Lamborghinis, such as this.
I recommend these Royal College of Music Masterclasses to “civilians” because 1) they are dirt cheap (£2), 2) they appear to be very informal. At least this one was. And you get just as much info as you’d get if you went to a more hyped one1. For musicians I think you need to be a student at the RCM to get into one. The one possible downside today was that LZ zoomed through 3 hours without a break. True, you can come in and out as you please but that’s not the point. By the end of it my stomach’s growls carried further than my voice.
Another thing is you get to see the next generation of singers “at work”. Today’s batch were lovely and LZ seemed to have a great time working with them – so much so that eventually he regaled us with his “growly” voice and even poked fun at “the countertenor moment”. His main advise was not to be afraid to take risks (and go for the less obvious choice) for the sake of emotion or to play with the text a bit in order to get maximum expression, which I thought was a particularly interesting idea.
Among the pieces to be worked on there was a lot of Handel and early Mozart but also some interesting art songs I had not known but which I will investigate further. Two songs were particularly striking for me, Finzi’s The Clock of the Years and Poulenc’s A sa guitare. LZ’s interpretation of these two pieces was also interesting: he told the chap singing the Clock... (which involves a summoned ghost) to think of a more subtle kind of ghost, not just the Death figure it appears at face value. In regards to A sa guitare, he thought that although it was in a minor key it wasn’t sad as such, but rather sensual with just a drop of perhaps unexpected melancholy at the end. Cool stuff.
- There seems to be less stuff that goes over your head here. Or maybe LZ was really focused on working on interpretation. For me that’s the meat of the matter anyway. ↩