Monday, May 30, 2011

William Warfield recorded 'Old Man River' for 'Showboat' 'in a single take that was flawless!”

[William Warfield (1920-2002)]

On May 28, 2011 AfriClassical posted: “Byron Hanson, Interlochen Archivist: William Warfield 'made outstanding recordings of German repertoire as well.'” We thanked Byron Hanson for his contribution, and he replied:

“You're most welcome - Warfield was a student of a friend of mine. WW wrote memoirs that were published near the end of his life that would be good reading for today's students. I believe the book was in print for only a short time, however. Of particular merit was his account of singing Old Man River for the early 50's movie of Showboat. To the amazement of the film technicians he recorded it in a single take that was flawless! They listened to the playback several times and could find no reason to 'try it again'!
Best regards,

Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma made this comment on the same post:
“Within the cassette collection of Ben Holt, given me by his mother (and not at all yet inventoried, much less digitized) is a recital given by Bill Warfield in Oslo, back when he was in excellent voice. Therein is a performance of Danse macabre (the vocal version) of Saint-Saëns, with beautifully articulated French. Doubtless that cassette also includes Lieder. I hope to present a complete discography of his work in my present project (contributed data woud be welcomed!). When he visited me here in Wisconsin, he informally sang Ol' man river for our chorus auf Deutsch as he had done so times in Vienna -- that's where I was when I heard of his death. While here, he enjoyed chatting with his classmate from Eastman days, Mari Tanaguchi, an emerita voice professor at Lawrence University. The autographed copy of his autobiography, which he gave me, is now within the holdings of the Center for Black Music Research.”

John Malveaux of added a comment which could apply to both Byron Hanson, the Interlochen archivist, and Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma:
“I am reminded of a comment made by Malcolm X's daughter about the importance of history. She said every time an elder dies 'it's like a library burning down'. I hope you live many more years.
John Malveaux

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