A musical enchantress
On the anniversary of Cathy Berberian's death, JENNIFER PAULL remembers the legendary singer who cast musical spells
Absolutely nothing could have prepared me for my meeting with Cathy Berberian,
or the effect that this musical enchantress would have upon my own music
making and musical awareness.
I first met her in The Hague. I was having lunch with my friend the composer/conductor
Bruno Maderna, and one of the directors of Granada Television with whom
I was trying to organise a filmed biography of Maderna's life.
We were seated in a large, impersonal hotel dining room when suddenly,
the door opened and in walked Cathy. Silence fell, cutlery froze, mouths
gaped, and La Berberian had made her entrance.
Nothing about Cathy could hide unnoticed, appear in muted pastels, or
be restricted to the palette between pianissimo and mezzo piano.
She was a wonderful, fun person, and always seemed to be larger than
life. Everything about her was stunning and different. Her beauty was more
arresting and fascinating than classical, and from the moment she walked
into a room, or onto a stage, her charisma shone like a beacon.
Copyright © 6 March 2002
Jennifer Paull, Vouvry, Switzerland
JENNIFER PAULL'S REMINISCENT RETROSPECTIVES
JENNIFER PAULL'S AMORIS INTERNATIONAL
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