Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Love in Music

Cheesy title - springs from tired brain! But hopefully the fingers will be awake tomorrow at Emmanuel URC and Thursday at the Round Church accompanying the noisy brother!

Love in Music

Federico Mompou (1893-1987)
Impressiones Intimas
I: Lento cantabile espressivo – II: Larguetto – III: Gracioso – IV: Agitato
Pajaro Triste

Our survey of varieties of love opens with a lyrical yet mournful collection from a Catalan master of the keyboard. In these simple miniatures are great depths and hints of Mediterranean colour and passion.

George Butterworth (1885-1916)
A Shropshire Lad
Loveliest of trees
When I was one-and-twenty
Look not in my eyes
Think no more, lad
The lads in their hundreds
Is my team ploughing?

An ambiguous collection, on the simple pleasures of country life, the pains of young love, the beauty of nature and nobility, and the presence of death. The final two songs are truly chilling as the poet (Housman) almost seems to celebrate the death of the young, and then turns to a surprising conversation between friends that reminds us of the transience of our attachments.

Ambroise Thomas (1811-1896)
Recitative and aria from Hamlet

The beautiful music only increases the poignancy of the words, reminding us of the rest that the Prince of Denmark will never enjoy. We overhear him singing to himself, resolving revenge on his murderous uncle even though he knows it will lose him his love, the fair Ophelia.

Henri Duparc (1848-1933)
L’invitation au Voyage

Massive, sumptuous, decadent songs on love, the first celebrating the intimate end to a perfect day spent outdoors; the second, darker, comparing the lover to wonderful landscapes and capricious skies and ships, gradually forgetting her fickleness as he is carried away.

Pytor Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)
Aria from Evgeny Onyegin, Op.24

The hero of the opera declares his love for Tatyana – but not in the way she wanted… Having received a rather forward letter from her, he fears that his life and character are unsuited to marriage, so he promises always to love her as a brother.