Monday, April 21, 2008


Thankfully, this was at a youth rally, and NOT at Holy Mass. I think I pissed off a few people, however, for making what I feel was a constructive criticism saying that a classical piece like the Ave Maria isn't a good match for her, and that the "ad libs" had to go. But the same people get pissed off if one says that Rosanne's thrashing of the Star-Spangled Banner is hilarious.

RSCT to David who mentioned it in this post's beefbox.



Mollie said...

I was there, and I agreed with you -- the song isn't such a great match for her voice. I was actually surprised by how well she pulled it off, considering -- but the really bad call, I thought, was having her sing the lame English lyrics instead of singing the actual prayer in Latin. The pope looked like he was thinking, "Wait, that's not how it goes!"

Jason Pennington said...

OMG, OMG, OMG, OMG! She sang the art song lyrics to the pope! LMFAO!!!! Ok, after my hysterical laughter, now it's time to be embarassed...again. The Latin text was introduced to the art song to make it a prayer. The art song is lovely, if sung as such in a concert hall or in someone's livingroom for a Schubertiade with friends. If the question was really "what art song would the pope like to hear", I would have opted perhaps for Strauss' "Zueignung", or maybe a work from a Mahler song cycle. The least she could have done was to sing the text in German.

So you know what this will mean, don't you? Liturgists everywhere will be citing this performance as proof that it is just fine and dandy to sing the art song text in church, since "Clarkson sang it in front of the pope." Mark my words. Mark them!

Regarding her performance, here again we have a pop singer trying to sing classical repertoire. The result is just as stupid and idiotic as if we'd get a full-throated Wagnerian soprano to sing one of Clarkson's American Idol tunes. A little good voice coaching goes a helluva long way! Clarkson has a great voice, but this wasn't the best choice of singers for that particular repertoire.


Dad29 said...

Well, as a "on the contrary" type guy...

I understand that Clarkson scratched and clawed her way into that performance for the Pope--which tells you something about her understanding that he is, indeed, a big deal. I rather admire that pluck.

The piece was not right for her voice, but then there were a lot of 'voices' which were mis-matched (e.g., the St Pat's choir..)

And her performance was remarkably restrained--very little of the "twang/bang" which is her trademark seeped into the song.

I also thought that the arrangement was good.

Would I ever approve that for a Mass? NO NONO NONONONNNONNNONNNOOOO.

Was the event a landmark of sorts? Yes. Young, secular-idol female singer wants to sing for the Pope and makes it happen, offers all she has (just a drummer-girl, pa rum-pa-pa-rum...)

Lyn F. said...

Urgh. Sounds like she's trying to be CĂ©line Dion. In fact, if I'm not mistaken, it's her version Clarkson tried to, erm, sing. It almost hurts my throat to hear her singing though.

Sigh ... well, to His Holiness' credit, he appeared to be very gracious in greeting Clarkson after she butchered Dion's initial butchery.

Jason Pennington said...

LOL@Celine. Have you heard her rendition of "Alone"?? I was laughing when I heard her performance on "The View" a couple months ago. Of course, Celine is laughing too...all the way to the bank, so kudos to her. I remember Celine's Ave. I would, however, like to hear Dolly Parton sing Ave. I'm convinced that Dolly is so sincere that she could sing it any way she wants and make it completely credible. Can you tell I'm a fan? :)


Jason Pennington said...

Oh, and an Ave Maria side note: the all time BEST rendition of Ave by a pop singer is Nina Hagen's Ave Maria. Of course she sings neither the Latin nor the original German text, but a new 20th century German text somewhat in keeping with the flavor of the original German. Of course it's a rock version of the song replete with drums and fantastic electric guitar solos. It's one of those songs for which you open all the windows and the sunroof and crank up. I love it! By the way, I'm also a Nina Hagen fan. Hagen's singing of the Rammstein song "Der Seemann" is fantabulous, as my myspace friends know well.


Mollie said...

So I don't have any direct line to the event organizers, but the scuttlebutt I've heard is that Clarkson learned the wrong version. That is, the organizers intended for her to sing the actual prayer, and she showed up for soundcheck with this one instead. If that's true, I guess this is preferable to having her stumble her way through the Latin... I'd certainly like to believe it was all a communication failure, rather than just an indefensibly bad decision. I guess this is what happens when you send a Protestant to do a Catholic's job! ;-)

Cathy said...

She is awful.
It was awful.

I will hardly ever critique a choir or soloist's voice when they are trying to sing something decent ad majorem Dei gloriam.

We have a superb choir at my parish. 9, in fact. I don't expect everyone in the world to sound like them. Still (or maybe because of this), I'm a pretty easy-going, forgiving listener. After all, my voice leaves much to be desired.
But, Kelly, Kelly, Kelly.