… and you know I’m going straight for your heart

license to kill featured jaroussky gladys knight

I’m not a huge fan of “Classic goes Pop” or vice versa.  If you waggle a copy of “Queen Goes Classic” in my direction, it is one of the best ways to make me run really fast. But this recording… I can’t stop listening to it.

Gladys Knight, “I know that my redeemer liveth”, G.F. Handel, The Messiah

Apart from some minor flaws — like she seems to be at sea sometimes about the timing of the end of a few phrases — it is close to perfect.

I’m absolutely sure that this is more like Handel would have liked it than most of the classic recordings of the piece in my knowledge, and on the web. I know the aria really well, and there are some pet-peeves I have when it comes to it — so I will just list them

  • 1st of all — It mustn’t be too slow. It is “I know…,” not “I believe, …” which means: It has to sound absolutely convinced, and confident.
  • 2nd — If you chose to make a grace note at “I know that my redeemer… ” DON’T STRESS IT. It softens up the phrase and makes it girlish, like curtsying in every bar.
  • 3rd — DON’T slow the tempo at the reprise of the  phrase “I know that my redeemer…” (around 3:50 in this recording). A ritardando before is alright, but PLEASE… do not sing the finish trandescent and half-dead.
  • 4th — “for now is Christ risen” has to have a different feeling from “the first-fruits of them that sleep,” obviously. Yet — not so much for it to fall apart or become a travesty.

I have a few more… but, won’t bother you further with details. In general: Half of the lyrics are taken from book Job. So — It is about a man who is suffering, because the devil makes him suffer — suffer beyond everything that is imaginable or bearable. And still his belief never falters. The comforting lines are taken from the letter to the Corinthians. BOTH, Paul, and Job were no shy girl in a nice dress trying to look good and cute when saying/thinking/writing the words. (Or telepathically sent them to whoever wrote them, in Job’s case.

Anyway, La Knight wins in every point.

[I won’t comment on the tacky drums and the awful 90s sound of the orchestra in total, nor the arrangement — I was only referring to the singer.]

For the ones for whom the name of La Knight doesn’t spontaneously ring a bell — This is the songs she is probably most famous for:

License to kill

Which hit me on the idea…  As Madame Knight chooses to sing Handel — and spectacularly well, too! — I would approve of it if Mr Jaroussky would sing the next Bond song.

Well, maybe when hell freezes over, Daniel Craig makes out with a guy, or they discuss the possibility of a bond-guy instead of the usual decorative female. What are you saying? The last two already happened? I suppose there is hope then 😀

Apart from his vocal qualities, he also has already got the right looks, and even a decent suit for the job.

For the ones  who don’t know Philippe Jaroussky — I don’t know if there are such people, but they will have to justify themselves at the latter day, etc. , … Voilà:

Tu che d’ardir m’accendi

License To Kill

(by Michael Kamen?)

Hey baby ,thought you were the one who tried to run away
ooh baby, wasn’t I the one who made you want to stay
please don’t bet that you’ll ever escape me once I get my sights on you

I got a license to kill and you know I’m going straight for you heart
got a license to kill anyone who tries to tears us apart… license to kill

Hey baby, thought you need a friend to stand here by your side — yes you did
ooh baby, now you can depend on me to make things right
please don’t bet that you’ll ever escape me once I get my sights on you

Got a license to kill and you know I’m going straight for your heart
got a license to kill anyone who tries to tear us apart
got a license to kill and you know I’m going straight for your heart
got a license to kill anyone who tries to tear us apart

Say that somebody tries to make a move on you
in the blink of an eye I’ll be there too
and they better know why I’m gonna make them play
till their dying day till their dying day till their dying day

Got a license to kill and you know I’m going straight for your heart
got a license to kill anyone who tries to tear us apart
I got a license to kill and you know I’m going straight for your heart
got a license to kill anyone who tries to tear us apart… license to kill

Ooh license to kill ooh ooh kill

I know that my redeemer liveth

G.F.Handel, The Messiah

I know that my Redeemer liveth,
and that he shall stand
at the latter day upon the earth;

and though worms destroy this body,
yet in my flesh shall I see God
(Job 19:25-26).
For now is Christ risen from the dead,
the first-fruits of them that sleep
(1 Corinthians 15:20).

Tu che d’ardir m’accendi

Nicola Porpora
From the opera Siface

Tu che d’ardir m’accendi
per un leggiadro ciglio,
in cosi gran periglio
tu mi difendi Amor.

Guidami all’idol mio,
per cosi caro dono
io tutto ti perdono
I’ingiusto tuo rigor

You who makes my courage —
for one lovely glance —
lead me into such great perils;
you defend me, Amor.

Guide me to my beloved;
for such a dear gift
I’ll forgive you
your unjust severity.


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