The Oxford Companion to Music defines a vocalise as, “A melody sung without text but to one or more vowel sounds.” A vocalise can be used as a mere exercise for the voice or as a song without words in the case of Rachmaninoff’s famous Vocalise. Rameau, Lully, Vaughn Williams, Debussy, Villa Lobos, Ravel, Faure and many other composers wrote vocalises, but Rachmaninoff’s Vocalise is the star of them all.
When I decided to produce a vocal program on WBJC, I knew exactly what to call it. The color and mood of Rachmaninoff’s Vocalise are what move me. If it were a painting, the Vocalise would look like any one of van Gogh’s Starry Nights
It makes me wonder what other people see when they hear Rachmaninoff’s great song without words.paintings, Rachmaninoff, Starry Night, van Gogh