Wednesday, November 16, 2011

You've got to hear this to believe it

We had to devote at least one post to the incredible Florence Foster Jenkins, a performer so godawful as to reach the realm of the sublime.

The legend is that she truly believed she was a great and gifted singer. Certainly she had a loyal following and once even played Carnegie Hall. Her devoted accompanist, a man with the astonishing name of Cosme McMoon, would sometimes make faces behind her back as she sang, thereby explaining to her why so many people were laughing.

Only a few recordings of Jenkins (whose real first name was Narcissa) still exist, probably because she was boycotted by every record company in the country. Jenkins albums are always padded out with a few other awful singers, no doubt her friends. My theory on how she got recorded: someone melted down an old record, then ran around and around and around it with a needle. No doubt this primitive technology improved her sound.

Oh, it's just astonishing when I listen to this, for every time it seems to get worse!

Thomas Burns sings Salut! Demeure Chaste et Pure

In contrast to the excruciating Florence Foster Jenkins, here is a man who truly can sing.

At least, one person thought so.