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Wednesday, January 18, 2006

B.P.: She was my wife 

Some additional detail about Peret's seeming reluctance to talk about Elsie Houston later in his life. Here's the passage from his biographer, Jean-Louis Bedouin:

Essentially, Peret and Bedouin happen to be at a Paris Museum. A Brazilian folksong is playing, the singer's voice "chaude et belle." As the museum guide begins to say the singer's name, Peret cuts in and says, "She was my wife." This was the first time Peret had ever mentioned this fact to his friend, Bedouin. [Don't be fooled. I don't know French, only the URL to babel fish...]
(Parallel to the episode from Paul Bowles's book, where E.H. hears Bowles play a song based on a Peret poem, and says "That's me.")

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Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Elsie Houston Sings Brazilian Songs 

Oh my.
From Scratchy 78 to Scratchy 33 to little cassette recorder to Audacity and saved to mp3. And yet, her astonishing voice gets through. Not as much Cancao do Carreiro shrieking, and more exceedingly charming birdlike trills.
From the liner notes:
Elsie Houston, Brazilian soprano born in Rio de Janeiro, was the foremost exponent of the vocal music of Brazil. She toured extensively both in Europe and America (her debut was in Paris in 1926), making known to ever-widening audiences the folk songs and the art songs of her native land. Her gift for characterization was unrivaled and she possesed a voice which she could bend to her will in the projection of an enormous range of color and emotion. It was a voice which has been described variously as seeming "to come from somewhere beyond the equator," as "an Amazon chant" and as "of exquisite quality..."

Track listing, from the record jacket.
And Side 2 is Bachianas Brasileiras No. 1 and the super cool Nonetto.
Oh my.

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Thursday, January 05, 2006

Extensively updated Elsie Houston page 

I finally had some time today to revise the Annotated Ends Her Life: Elsie Houston Page. Rather than revising the annotations themselves, I added new annotations at the bottom of each section. Hopefully things are a little more accurate/complete than they used to be.

I also added a separate Elsie Houston discography page and a long chronicle of her New York era.

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