Monday, June 11, 2018

Spente Le Stelle


'Spente Le Stelle'  ('The stars have gone out') is one of my all time favorite songs. Both its lyrics and music are very dramatic, and this is a challenge for most singers, musicians, coreographers, stylists, translators....and viewers.

The lyrics are in italian, and cover rhymes mentioning an empty/ hopeless  night, dull stars, pale moonlight, a broken/ deceived heart, cries of love and pain. The original performer -  a young french soprano, Emma Shapplin; this song has become completely identified with her.




Any young soprano, anywhere in the world, east or west, finds it a vocal challenge and an honor to undertake the performance of this song. Emma Shapplin was and is my favorite.  (I wrote in the past about her great duet with the greek singer Dalares , at the concert in Herodion;  see my post from June 11, 2009).

Besides Emma, I like the italian Gessica La Verde ; beautiful voice, solid orchestra (Rondo Italiano), good choir behind her, a violin player near her.



The israeli Limor Shapira offers a modern, jazzy version;  tiny orchestra (piano, drums, contrabass, sometimes accordeon), no choir, rather unconventional outfit (sleeveless little black dress and high red boots). Not bad, but not the real thing. I like, though, how she moves on the stage.  Worth watching . 



To create drama that adequately matches the lyrics, there's need for good drums and choir - these are indispensable . The beat of the drums and the somber sound of the choir create that special atmosphere that makes this song 'spine tingling'. Just a pretty face, good voice and awsome outfit won't do it.

Once in a while, I check Youtube for new additions, new versions of the song. I prefer the 'live' ones with  full performance of singer, orchestra, choir, special fog effects, dramatic outfit.
Well, the search is often disappointing.

The song was released around the year 2000 (in 1997 precisely). The original clip ,is also the most powerful, fascinating one; the lover here hasn't just betrayed and disappeared, he looks ...dead...lying on the sofa, around which the whole clip is centered.  She's in despair.   Quite a masterpiece!






34 comments:

  1. Hauntingly beautiful voice in the last clip.

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    1. Yes. In fact, the whole scene is haunting, even after one sees it several times.

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  2. Though i don't understand the words I love the voice and music of the songs:)

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    1. Music is the greatest and best understandable language. Certainly in this case, with so much music around, and such a stunning performance.

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  3. Bom dia, não vi nem ouvi os videos todos, dos que ouvi o primeiro "spente le stelle" é maravilhoso, assim como, os outros o são.
    Esta sua partilha é de muito bom Gosto,
    Feliz semana,
    AG

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    1. Wonderful song, indeed. Thanks for labelling my choice and sharing as 'good taste'.

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  4. That's a nice song! I do adore symphonic, ambient and ethnic pop or world music as they call it. The Balkans is especially known for it.
    One of my faves is probably your Ofra Haza with our Goran Bregovic in 'Ederlezi' song from Queen Margot movie (you have it on YouTube). But I generally adore Ofra, I listen to her Jerushalaim Shel Zahav at last a few times a month :)
    The last of such songs I discovered only last week when Hungarian pianist Havasi published the beautiful video for his song Storm with amazing Lisa Gerrard.

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    1. It's Goran Bregovic with Ofra Haza's voice.(the young woman in the clip is not Ofra Haza).

      You surprise me with your adoration of Ofra (rip) and 'Jerusalem of Gold'. Not that they're not worthy of such adoration, but you know, nowadays, Israel, Jerusalem are sadly not In; it's courageous of you to claim adoration for an israeli singer and an israeli song on Jerusalem. I admire you for that.

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    2. Ofra was the voice that was above all religion and borders, methinks. An angel, I'd say.

      Serbian and Israeli situation are quite similar, Duta, our southern region of Kosovo is invaded by Muslims and separated from our borders even though it is our Jerusalem, if I may call it so. Kosovo was the cradle and birthplace of Serbian civilisation and history, it is also the regions with more than 200 of our most holy mediaeval monasteries. They are all currently surrounded by barbwire and are waiting to be run down or simply destroyed by Kosovar Muslims. Does not that sound similar to your situation?

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    3. I'm sorry for my ignorance, Dezmond.
      I didn't connect between Kosovo and the Heritage of your people. I can feel the pain in your words, and I deeply sympathize with you and your cause.

      Thanks for making me aware of Serbia and its problems. We're so drowned in our own internal and external issues that we look at the world in a very superficial way, especially that the world is quite hostile to us.

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  5. Such a passionate and dramatic song, and with all the music and orchestra and accompaniment. Amazing how one song can call for a whole production in itself! Reading the comment above I also like the Jerusalem of Gold Song, and how you encourage the adoration for an Israeli singer and song of Jerusalem. Blessings!

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    1. Amazing, indeed. This song is of such a quality and complexity
      that it calls for big production and investment(in music, fashion, effects etc..).
      The result is more than rewarding.

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  6. I like all the sopranos,especially Emma but the choir and orchestra when Gessica sang is dramatic. What a beautiful song! Just curious, do you speak Italian?

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    1. What is not to like? There is at least an additional half a dozen performers of this song, and they all sound beautifully and dramatic.
      (I don't speak italian but understand quite a lot of words).

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  7. wow this is so beautiful and the voice of Emma Shapplin is angelic. Thank you for this I will add it to my favourites

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    1. 'angelic' is indeed the right descriptive word for Emma's voice.In fact, her whole slim, humble figure resembles an angel.

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  8. The music is perfect that accompanies Emma Shapplin's singing.

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    1. True. The combo of orchestra, choir, and focus on individual instruments such as the drum and the violin, or piano - creates the perfect music to accompany the singer.

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  9. Beautiful voice for a dramatic song, wish I understood Italian. There can never be too much music in the world! Love it! Thanks for sharing, Duta~

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    1. Emma's voice is specially 'tailored' for this song, but all the other sopranos are not "far behind".
      As far as language is concerned, Google makes it easy for us, so we're never in the dark.

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  10. I never tire of listening to music.
    Thank you for posting these on your blog.

    All the best Jan

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    1. You're welcome.
      The big thing is that nowadays, we can, in the comfort of our home, not only listen to music, but also view performances, make comparisons , decide on our preferrences etc..

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  11. I liked the second singer best, and thought she was more engaged with the passion of the music. I like to listen to live music videos rather than crafted and edited videos......but I enjoyed listening to all of them and it was fun to decide which one I liked the best!

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    1. Being a musician yourself, your word weighs heavily. I'm glad you've enjoyed listening to all three sopranos.

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  12. Wonderful, DUTA...marvellous!

    Thanks for sharing...and for the introduction. I love music. :)

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    1. Human talent at its best! It gives us wonderful, magic moments for which we're deeply thankful.

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  13. Her eyes are haunting, such heartbreak in this song.

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    1. The whole song is based on 'heartbreak' caused by lover's betrayal and leaving, probably, for someone else.

      In the original clip, he's seen lying dead on the sofa, and everything there is haunting.: her despair, the people around , the fallen leaves in the garden....

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  14. This is really fun, comparing various artists. I sang in choirs from a young age. I have given it up, living here in rural Ontario. The quality is much lower, there is much back-biting and petty things going on. I'm just getting too old and tired for politics. Lovely post.

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    1. Youtube makes it possible to compare performances - and that's great! It's also interesting to note the italian language sung with various accents: russian, indonesian, turkish etc..

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  15. Thank you, Duta, for introducing me to the vocalizations of Emma Shapplin. I viewed all the videos presented in this post and the last one was quite interesting from a story perspective. I could almost feel the heartbreak even if I did not understand the song lyrics.
    Thank you as well for your recent comment on my wedding blog post. It was a wonderful time with family.

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    1. Indeed. I consider the last clip (which is actually the original one) a masterpiece. It tells a hearbreaking story in a visual way that no language is needed to understand it.

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  16. Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by. Hope you've enjoyed the lovely performances.

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