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Review, Analysis and Recordings Containing
Lament (short)
Lament (short) Monophonic
From Legend of the Sun Virgin (1952), this single bar was used in the 1957 film Omar Khayyam, which featured Yma Sumac in a small role.  (Moisés Vivanco - 1:18)
Recorded in 1952

Review and Analysis of Lament (short) by Nicholas E. Limansky
From Yma Sumac - The Art Behind the Legend
used with permission - all rights reserved, © Nicholas E. Limansky
Read more on the Legacy of the Diva Web site!
"The yearning for the Andes with its stark loneliness and the inky darkness of its night.  (Dedicated to Miss Sumac by Mr. Vivanco)" - Program notes, in Chicago, 12/10/54.

"Yma's Lament," as this was often called on concerts, has an operatic quality to cadences and was quite popular with audiences.  A lush piece, it is a vocalise accompanied by string orchestra, brass, percussion, and gong.  Much of it's success is due to Yma's warm and lyrical singing.  At times her voice shows quite a cutting edge and is so forwardly placed it is almost nasal.  This is especially noticeable in the rising patterns where Yma uses an unusually brilliant lyric soprano focus up to high C.  She carefully switches into a softly floated head voice, however, to facilitate the rise from high C to E flat.

There are some pseudo-chant phrases peculiar to Yma in the following sections but they are so brief they could have been omitted without any distortion to the music.  This section, accompanied by rattles, drums and rhythmical statements from the orchestra, has a nice (if contrived) primitive quality.  Unfortunately, it goes nowhere.  Nonetheless, the pointed and measured staccati Yma provides are nicely done.  During a ritard, Yma alters her tone quality for a rise to high E flat that is seamlessly floated.

The final section has a short, cadential figure of stacatti Gs followed by a rise to a delicate, flute-pure high D which descends to a final high C, rich in upper harmonics.  This particular cadence is similar to one favored by operatic sopranos active during the 1920s, especially the coloraturas, Maria Barrientos and Amelita Galli-Curci.  Because their voices were slender in volume, both singers used this particular formula to simulate thrust and power for the endings of some of their concert showpieces.  If possible, Yma's version is even more delicate.  The crash of a gong brings the song to a suitably exotic close.

Lament (short)  is included on the following releases
catalog no: FR10-1492
While U.S. soundtrack LPs of this 1957 film were paired with another movie score, this one has Omar Khayyam by itself on the smaller 10" LP format.  As with the others, Yma's tracks are missing. 1957 Australia
catalog no: DL 8449
Soundtrack recording of second Hollywood film, her tracks are not on this recording.  She did sing three songs in the film, two of which were written specifically for it.  The third was only a bar or two of Lament from Legend of the Sun Virgin. 1957 United States
catalog no: BYD77004
27 track compilation featuring pre-1955 material along with several 1943 Argentina Session tracks. Good selection of material but the booklet contains many inaccuracies over the usual. For example, her name was spelled as Ymma throughout when that spelling was used only on one obscure release from t . . . 2008 United Kingdom
catalog no: PS39015
A collection featuring tracks drawn primarily from Yma Sumac's Mambo! (1954) and her Legend of the Sun Virgin (1952) albums with several others from various albums and singles. 2007 Germany
catalog no: TT3007
Soundtrack recording under the title The Long Ships (1964) but contains eight tracks of Yma Sumac's second Hollywood film, though her tracks are not on this recording. She did sing three songs in the film, two of which were written specifically for it and are listed below. The third was only a bar o . . . 1997 Germany
catalog no: 5615
Video first release, recorded in EP mode (NTSC).  Yma Sumac sings three songs in the film, two of which were written specifically for it.  The third was only a bar or two of Lament from Legend of the Sun Virgin 1992 United States
catalog no: 5615
Video second release, recorded in EP mode (NTSC).  Yma Sumac sings three songs in the film, two of which were written specifically for it.  The third was only a bar or two of Lament from Legend of the Sun Virgin 1997 United States
catalog no: 5615
European PAL-M conversion, recorded in LP.  Yma Sumac sings three songs in the film, two of which were written specifically for it.  The third was only a bar or two of Lament from Legend of the Sun Virgin 1999 United States
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