Giuseppe Martucci: Cantava il ruscello (The little brook sang)

30 04 2009
O... la pace fedel de la foresta!

O... la pace fedel de la foresta!

For me, Martucci’s song cycle La Canzone dei Ricordi (The Song of Memories) was a wonderful discovery. These beautifully crafted songs call to mind the music of Puccini, and it surprises me that they are not performed more often. The second song, presented here, with its undulating harmonies in the accompaniment suggest not only rushing water the title might suggest, but also the spring breezes, and even the underlying emotional excitement that comes with the arrival of spring.

New translation behind cut:

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Recital announcement

29 04 2009

Working

My apologies for the dearth of posts lately. Instead of writing this blog, I have been finishing my doctoral thesis. I also made a trip to my hometown for my Goddaughter’s first communion, and more recently, interviewed for an interim professor position. With those things done, I will return to posting tomorrow.

In other news, I am preparing Georges Auric’s Huit poèmes de Jean Cocteau for an upcoming lecture recital. The poetry is DENSE, but the music takes it and runs with it. Characteristic of the works of Les Six, Auric’s songs are both meaningful and humorous. If you are in the Twin Cities, I cordially invite you to the performance!

“The Poetry of Jean Cocteau in Song”

Andrew Fleser, Lecturer and Pianist
with Paul Hindemith, Baritone and others

University of Minnesota
Ferguson Hall’s Ultan Recital Hall

Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

7:30 PM





Ralph Vaughan Williams: Easter

12 04 2009
a

The cross taught all wood to resound his name

Rise heart; thy Lord is risen. Sing his praise
Without delays,
Who takes thee by the hand, that thou likewise
With him may’st rise;
That, as his death calcined thee to dust,
His life may make thee gold, and much more, Just.

Awake, my lute, and struggle for thy part
With all thy art.
The cross taught all wood to resound his name
Who bore the same.
His stretched sinews taught all strings, what key
Is best to celebrate this most high day.

Consort both heart and lute, and twist a song
Pleasant and long:
Or since all music is but three parts vied,
And multiplied;
O let thy blessed Spirit bear a part,
And make up our defects with his sweet art.

–George Herbert





William Walton: Holy Thursday

9 04 2009

O what a multitude they seemed, these flowers of London town!

O what a multitude they seemed, these flowers of London town!

Today is Holy Thursday or Maundy Thursday, given your tradition. It is the day of the Last Supper and of Jesus washing the feet of the disciples. I will be in Church this evening, singing in the choir and watching the crowds and the stately procession, just like Walton captures in this song.





Johannes Brahms: Blinde Kuh (Blind man’s bluff)

7 04 2009

a

Ach, sie versteckt sich immer, daß ich verschmachten soll!

Love is a game, making children out of the best of us.  Brahms manages to capture the image of children chasing each other in a game of blind man’s bluff (or literally, “blind cow”) with the perpetual motion of the running sixteenth notes in the piano. The singer sneaks around as well, particularly in the beginning, before simply crying out for the game to stop at the end.





Robert Coningsby Clarke: The Blind Ploughman

6 04 2009

Let the little birds of faith come and nest therein

"Let the little birds of faith come and nest therein"

This gem be Robert Coningsby Clarke (or possibly Conigsby Clarke) may be his only musical legacy — he is not even mentioned in Baker’s Biographical Dictionary, which is usually exhaustive. Regardless, it is one of my favorite pieces to give baritones early in their study. The text is inspirational and the music is dramatic and compelling.

There are few recordings of this, and I find Robeson’s to be the best, with Eddy’s a close second. Though expressive, Feodor Chaliapin’s voice and English leave something to be desired, but I feel I should mention it because of his phenomenal career on stage and screen.

I’ve submitted the text to recmusic.org, but until it’s published, I present it here.

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Gabriel Fauré: En prière (In Prayer)

5 04 2009

Do not abandon me, give me the necessary gentleness to ease suffering

"Do not abandon me. Give me the needed gentleness to ease suffering"

On this Passion Sunday, Mark’s Gospel shows Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane while the disciples wait, or rather, sleep. Though the text of this prayer is Bourdèse’s, the image of Jesus desiring Calvary in order to ease suffering seems so organic and so appropriate for today.