Anda di halaman 1dari 6

!"#$"%&'(#)*+' ,,-.-.

/,0' ' The idea for this recital an exploration of various Romance Language dialects through art song initially came out of a desire to perform two of the pieces on tonights program: La descolorida by Osvaldo Golijov, and Heitor Villa-Lobos famous Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5. Looking for a connection between the two pieces that could inspire the rest of a recital program, I discovered that the Spanish dialect of La descolorida, Galician, is a close relative of Portuguese, the native tongue of Villa-Lobos, who was from Brazil. Having always been drawn to the study of languages, especially through song and poetry, I decided to expand this connection outward to other languages, particularly the lesser sung dialects of France and Spain, and the Portuguese of Portugal, which is largely unknown by classical singers. Thus, tonights recital program was born. Studying and performing these songs, I have been struck by how the particularities of a language fuse with the music to create a unique soundscape. We are often aware of this when singing in a foreign language why else is it so difficult to come up with good, idiomatic, singable translations? yet the influence of the language itself on the composer is easily taken for granted. The sounds of Occitan sound perfectly at home in the bubbly and boisterous arrangements Joseph Canteloube scored for these French mountainside folk songs. If we substitute standard French for the original texts, the effect isnt the same French is altogether too legato and elegant for these songs. Or consider the stark contrast between the sounds of Portuguese and Brazileiro (Brazilian Portuguese), and the resulting differences in composition heard on tonights program. To be sure, there are myriad factors contributing to their differences: geographical and social influences on the composers, where and with whom they studied, time period in which the works were composed, to name a few.

Just ask yourself, however how different would this piece be if it were in another language? Would the total effect be the same? Would the impressionist quality of Mar de Setembro suffer without the muffled, hazy sounds of Portugal? Would the exuberance of the second movement of Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 still carry if not for the variance of vocalic color we find in Brazil? It feels like a chicken or the egg type of question, and perhaps therein lies the real answer: that in these songs, and in all great art songs, we seek to find that perfect fusion of text and music, by which both art forms may be elevated, and a scenario is created in which we would not want one without the other.

Chants dAuvergne

Arranged by Joseph Canteloube The Chants dAuvergne (Songs of the Auvergne) comprises arrangements of thirty folksongs of the Auvergne, located in the central, mountainous region of France. The songs give an impression of a pastoral society, and agriculture remains to this day the predominant economy. Born in nearby Annonay with familial roots in Auvergne, Joseph Canteloube was a passionate devotee of folksong all his life. A musicologist as well as a composer, he collected French folksongs for publication, claiming that peasant songs often rise to the level of purest art in terms of feeling and expression, if not in form. For the folksongs of Chants dAuvergne, he gathered and orchestrated them over a span of more than thirty years (1924 1955). The arrangements you hear on tonights program are Canteloubes own piano reductions of his original, colorful orchestrations. Peasant dance music is inextricably linked to folksong, and we hear this represented in Malurous quo uno fenno (Happy is he who has a woman), which Canteloube classified as a bourre, a dance in quick double or triple

'

.'

meter with an upbeat beginning in the last measure of the bar. One can imagine a lively, merry dance party during the interlude. Spinning songs (i.e. songs which evoke the act of a spinning wheel, often from the point of view of a shepherdess) are a popular folksong tradition as well. Canteloubes arrangement of Lo fiolaire (The Spinning Girl) lifts the folksong into art song territory with inventive harmonic changes accompanying the different verses of the girls brief story. And what would a collection of folksongs be without something for the children? Lou coucut is a silly song meant to tickle the tongue and elicit giggles from young and old alike. Canteloubes raucous arrangement is the perfect accompaniment.

Combat del Somni


Frederic Mompou Much of the Mompou magic consists in the fact that more than any other Cataln composer he was in touch with his roots. He was concerned to capture in music the intimate and transcendental nature of Cataln poetry, and to experience the rebirth (he termed it Recommenament) of a state of unsullied musical innocence. The Spanish Song Companion, Cockburn and Stokes Born in Barcelona, the capital of Catalunia, Frederic Mompou showed an early interest in the piano, and it was for the piano that he composed most of his works during his long lifetime. Second to his pianistic output is his yield of songs, of which there are thirty-seven. The songs in Combat del Somni (Dream Combat) are his most famous. The texts for these three songs are sonnets by the Cataln poet Josep Jans, who penned them after his beloved passed away. Infused with an airy

'

0'

sadness, Mompou ascribes a haunting lyricism to these songs. Damunt de tu noms les flors (Above you only flowers) is like a tribute to raw grief, with the music fixated on one solitary, sorrowful motive. The second in the set, Aquesta nit un mateix vent (Tonight the same wind) enters an eery, otherworldly realm of a dream in which two lovers cannot connect physically. The music is bizarrely disjunct in turn. Finally, there is an acceptance of what is, in Jo et pressentia com la mar (I sensed you were like the sea), and a sense of release as the music carries away the infinite memory of the beloved.

La descolorida
Osvaldo Golijov Originally conceived as a single song for soprano Dawn Upshaw and pianist Gil Kalish, this piece subsequently took on a life of its own. It was also published for soprano and string quartet, soprano and string orchestra, and solo string instrument with piano (no voice). In addition, the orchestral version made its way into Golijovs Pasion Segun San Marcos (Passion of St. Mark). Within the context of this larger work, the song is appropriated to represent Peters guilt after having thrice denied Jesus. Seen in this light, the text and music become especially poignant. transparent. The poem, by Rosala de Castro, is written in Gallega, the language of the Galicia region in Spain. At the time de Castro began composing poetry, Gallega was seen as the lesser language of the poor, unruly, and uneducated. De Castro challenged this notion by publishing Its beauty is in its simplicity, sparsely textured and

'

1'

a collection of poetry titled Cantares Gallegos (Galician Songs) in 1863. Its date of publication, May 17, has been commemorated every year since 1963 as the Da das Letras Gallegas (Galician Literature Day).

Mar de Setembro

Fernando Lopes-Graa Joseph Canteloube would have found a like-minded friend in Fernando LopesGraa, for a permanent focus of Lopes-Graas work was related to the collection and reinterpretation of Portuguese folk music. In addition to his multiple volumes of Canes Populares Portuguesas (Popular Portuguese Songs) for solo voice and guitar, he is perhaps best known outside of Portugal for his twenty-four cycles of Canes Regionais Portuguesas (Regional Portuguese Songs), which are his own harmonizations of traditional Portuguese folk songs for mixed choir. Outside of his work with folk music, he was known for a clear and concise style utilizing neo-modal harmonies, chromaticism and even polytonality. The songs of Mar de Setembro provide us with exceptional use of musical colors, particularly via the interplay between voice and piano, which is most often indirect, especially in regards to rhythm. The texts are from a larger collection of poems of the same name by Eugnio de Andrade, one of Portugals most celebrated poets of the 20th century. They seem to follow the course of a relationship in and out of time, and take place among the beaches of the Bay of Biscay in Northern Spain, referencing places such as Bilbao, Bermeo, and Cantabria. The waves, sand and other characteristics of the beach stand in for descriptions of the lover. Lopes-Graa exploits this above all other themes in the poetry, creating music awash with only sensation of the sea, the wind, and abstract feelings. Sometimes we catch up to a blissful present moment (Canao escrita nas areias de Laga); other times we find ourselves reflecting with a certain distant detachment (Mar de Setembro); still other times the past is all too recent and raw (Um nome). In

'

2'

the end, we are left with a one-sided portrait of a relationship, distinct yet incomplete, and our imaginations must fill in the gaps.

Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5


Heitor Villa-Lobos Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 endures as Villa-Lobos most famous composition (and his output was vast over 2,000 pieces). Its popularity is likely a combination of its unique scoring for eight cellos and one soprano and the sheer beauty of the melody of the first movement. The work is part of a larger series of nine Villa-Lobos sought to create music that Bachianas Brasileiras (Brazilian Bachians), composed for a variety of chamber ensembles between 1930 and 1945. would combine elements of the music of Bach, which he revered, and Brazilian folk music. The texts of both movements are overflowing with a literary quality unique to Portuguese culture: saudade, a sort of happy sadness. In Aria/Cantilena (each movement in the series is given a Bachian title and a Brazilian one), the internal rhythm of the piece and the way in which the melody is spun out and out, and out are certainly reminiscent of Bach. But the melodic and harmonic components are distinctly Brazilian. The treatment of the voice as instrument in the outer vocalise sections also hearkens of Bach. This type of vocal writing is even more prominent in the second piece (Danza/Martelo), with phrases meant to sound like bird calls that might feel more at home on a wind instrument. The rough and tumble feel of this movement brings to mind the dry, arid climate and scrubby vegetation of the Serto, known as the backwoods of Brazil. As Villa-Lobos noted, the second movement represents a persistent and characteristic rhythm much like the emboladas, those strange melodies of the Brazilian hinterland.

'

3'