Gabriel Fauré: Salve Regina (Hail, Holy Queen)

2 05 2009

Our life, our sweetness, and our hope

"Our life, our sweetness, and our hope"

May is Mary’s month in the Catholic Church. Fauré’s setting of the Marian anthem Salve Regina is sweet, with a simple, fluid melody. It is reminiscent of both Fauré’s Requiem and Franck’s Panis Angelicus. Though Fauré originally wrote this piece for choir (and both recordings linked below are choral performances), I think it would work just as effectively as a solo, so in keeping with the theme of this blog, that’s the score that appears below.

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Hugo Wolf: Auf ein altes Bild (In an old painting)

22 03 2009

und dort, im Walde, wonnesam...

"und dort, im Walde, wonnesam..."

This simple song remains one of my favorites. So simple, so lovely. It moves slowly, at a strolling pace, as if one is walking through an art gallery observing a piece of art. When the viewer realizes that this lovely scene will soon lead to Christ’s crucifixion on the cross, the pain of the realization stings the soul.

The work may have been inspired by Durer’s Madonna and Child, but then again, many artists painted this same scene. In my mind’s eye, I see a conglomerate of works that I came to love growing up at Omaha’s Joslyn Art Museum, namely di Credi’s work and the Gossaert’s “Mother and Child with Saint Agnes.”





Franz Schubert: Ave Maria

15 03 2009

"O Mother, hear a suppliant child!"

This piece is, quite simply, a classic. The stillness and peace of this prayer to the mother of God are lovely and touching.

Though known primarily in its Latin version, that was not Schubert’s original, and in fact, he never added the latin text; it is an adaption. Schubert took the text from a translation of Sir Walter Scott’s The Lady of the Lake. The text is just as prayerful and meaningful, though, as the Latin, in my humble opinion, and needs to be heard and studied.

For those still fond of the Latin version, I won’t withhold the information 🙂

And for those that prefer the Bach-Gounod version — I hear you and will feature that work soon enough