Edvard Grieg: Jeg elsker dig (I love you / Ich liebe dich)

4 04 2009
Thought of my thoughts alone have you become

"Thought of my thoughts alone have you become"

The thought of being so in love with someone that you want to be near them into eternity is quite romantic, so romantic, in fact, that once Grieg set Hans Christian Andersen’s poem Jeg elsker dig to music, it soon had multiple singing translations in German, English, and other languages (I have located numerous editions, all widely published and performed, with no less than two in German and five in English!) The song was included in the 1944 operetta Song of Norway by Robert Wright and George Forrest.

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Hermann Bemberg: Chant Hindou (Hindu Song)

3 04 2009
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The Temple of Brahma in Pushkar

The West has always had a fascination with the East, and in the Romantic period,  “Orientalism” in the arts was a particularly strong trend. Hermann Bemberg’s Chant Hindou was quite popular as a result, though the music itself shows little to no eastern influence. Today, Bemberg would be called a one-hit wonder, Chant Hindou being his hit song.

A note on this recording: There are no indications in the music that the interludes in this piece should move along at a quicker pace than the rest of the music as they do here. I presume this is due to the 78 RPM disc on which it was recorded — in order not to go beyond the disc’s three-minute length, tempi were often incredibly quick, particularly in piano interludes.

There is no translation at recmusic, so I have submitted one. It appears below:

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Antonio Vivaldi: Vedrò con mio diletto (I will see with delight)

2 04 2009
Soul of my soul, heart of my heart

"Soul of my soul, heart of my heart"

Researching yesterday’s post, I discovered countertenor Philippe Jaroussky (well, I guess he was “discovered” long before yesterday, lol!). I am so taken with his voice and interpretation, particularly of this aria. The strings staccato playing are a lovely counterpoint to Jaroussky’s angelic voice.

There is an audio recording on last.fm, but there’s something much more exciting and spontaneous in the live performance. Perhaps the nerves leading up to his announcement of French Singer of 2007 had something of an intensifying effect?





Ernest Chausson: Le charme (The Charm)

1 04 2009

I did not know I loved you until I saw that first tear

I did not know I loved you till I saw that first tear

With a falling melody, Chausson shows the singer literally falling in love as the song progresses. There is a sense, though, that the singer is resisting — the melody avoids falling down to the tonic note of the scale. Finally, the singer reaches resolution at t’aimais – “I loved you.” The singer does not hold that tonic pitch, and the line continues to descend as the tear falls; even the final note in the piano does not reach a definitive resolution, with the final pitch played being the third, not the tonic. A beautifully captured sense of both the beauty and the tentativeness of falling in love!