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Review, Analysis and Recordings Containing
Lament
Lament Monophonic
Full album version listed here, although a small portion was used in the 1957 film, Omar Khayyam.  (Moisés Vivanco - 3:15)
Recorded in 1952

Review and Analysis of Lament 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  is included on the following releases
catalog no: SSL-4313 (SP 651)
U.S. military transcription LP (16" vinyl format) has six Yma Sumac tracks on one side, and tracks by Walter Gross on the piano on the other. This recording was made by the Office of the Secretary of Defense and released for airplay by the Armed Forces Radio Service. 1952 United States
catalog no: C 80213
Single from Germany on Telefunken label 1952 Germany
catalog no: DDN-299
Canadian release of Yma Sumac's second album, recorded in 1952.  Except for tiny details, most Canadian pressings are nearly identical to the U.S. pressings.  Liner notes are in yellow on the back of the box 1952 Canada
catalog no: DDN-299
Original release of Yma Sumac's second album, recorded in 1952.  Liner notes are in yellow on the back of the box 1952 United States
catalog no: KDF-299
Second album, first pressing, Optional Centers, yellow back cover 1952 United States
catalog no: KDF-299
Second album, first pressing, yellow back cover 1952 United States
catalog no: FBF-299
Rather unusual Boxed Set EP with two disks, each having four tracks.  The Double EP was generally in a gatefold sleeve rather than a box so this release was apparently done defore the sleeves were made. 1952 United States
catalog no: FAP 2-299
Second album, later pressing, volume two of two volume set 1952 United States
catalog no: FBF-299
Second album, Gatefold double EP, later pressing 1952 United States
catalog no: L-299
Reissue of second album from Germany with Les baxter credits 1952 Germany
catalog no: L-299
Reissue of second album from New Zealand.  Mfg. by His Master's Voice (N.Z.) Ltd. 1952 New Zealand
catalog no: L-299
Early LP pressing of second album with Les Baxter credits on disk label 1952 United States
catalog no: L-299
Later LP pressing of second album without Les Baxter credits on disk label. For each new format released, Les Baxter's credits appeared, then were removed for the next pressings. Those with his name on the label (it does not appear on the sleeve on any pressing) can be considered first or early rele . . . 1952 United States
catalog no: LC 6609
U.K reissue of Yma Sumac's second album, recorded in 1952.  Features unusual painted cover art in the same style as the original photograph.  Because of the detail, very likely it was a painted over copy of the original photo and then reprinted onto the cover.  Painted cover art seems . . . 1953 United Kingdom
catalog no: 2 C 054-80 293
12" LP compilation from France, has small color cover photo from Mambo photo session.  This was volume 10 in a series of albums by popular artists. 1976 France
catalog no: T-299
Reissue of second album, first 12 inch LP pressing 1955 United States
catalog no: SM-299
Probably a '60s or '70s reissue of Yma Sumac's second album recorded in 1952.  Because of the extra space this format had, additional tracks from the same recording session were added.  The original 78 rpm set had only eight tracks. 1965 United States
catalog no: ENC 10489
Reissue of Yma Sumac's second album, released originally as a 78 rpm set recorded in 1952, this is a later 12" LP pressing.  Due to the extended play time on this format, additional tracks from the same session were used to fill it. 1965 Australia
catalog no: T-299
Reissue of second album, later 12 inch LP pressing 1972 United States
catalog no: UV099
This Italian release was made on "audiophile" 180 gram vinyl. 2004 Italy
Vinyl releases seem to be the trend now as this recent double LP indicates. This time it is a reissue from a compilation CD rather than being a reissue of an original vinyl disk. 2005 United Kingdom
catalog no: SOL 610
This compilation has fifteen tracks including a live track by Yma Sumac recorded in Bucharest, Romania and two instumentals by Les Baxter from his 1951 Ritual of the Savage album. It also features an interesting revision of the Inca Taqui cover art similar to what was used on a painted version of th . . . 2003 France
catalog no: CDP-7-91 250-2
Reissue of second album, first Compact Disc reissue.  These early CD releases had much sharper, clearer cover art than the later Right Stuff reissues. 1989 United States
catalog no: 0777-7-91 250-2-9
Reissue of second album, second CD reissue 1996 United States
catalog no: CREVO 34 CD
Compilation with previously-unreleased material.  This is the original 1995 issue but a more recent version exists with different tracks. 1995 United Kingdom
catalog no: CREVO 34 CD
Reissue of compilation with previously-unreleased material. This reissue contains a slightly different track selection than the original 2001 United Kingdom
catalog no: 23351
76 Hits and Rarities from the goddess of Exotica. More details and track for this September 2012 collection coming soon. 2012 United Kingdom
catalog no: GSS 5482
This 3-CD set advertised as being from Holland but package and disk printing indicate it was made in Portugal. Released in March 2008 and contains 47 tracks, this boxed set contains three standard jewel cases all with the same cover art and no booklet or notes. The box cover is shown. 2008 Portugal
catalog no: 118734
Anthologie 1950-1959 Compact Disc set of Yma Sumac's containing all of Yma Sumac's 1950's Capitol Records original release catalog. Probably a bootleg as no EMI/Capital Records licensing information could be found. These tracks are included on legitimate releases of all the original albums. 2013 France
catalog no: BLUE102CD
Double CD collection features remastered tracks from the 1943 Argentina Session along with those from the Capitol Records years. 2005 United Kingdom
Yet another compilation CD with the title of Queen of Exotica making three with that title. This one, which is a 2-CD set, combines four of Yma Sumac's '50s albums. 2005 United Kingdom
catalog no: 4 M-299
Yma Sumac's second album is sung in quasi-classical style.  This is the first cassette reissue.  The original 78 rpm set had eight tracks while 12" LP and later reissues generally had twelve as does this cassette.  The additional tracks were from the same session. 1987 United States
catalog no: 8 M 299
Reissue of second album 1972 United States
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