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Program Notes The St Matthew Passion, BWV 244, is a Passion, a sacred oratorio written by


Sebastian Bach in 1727 for solo voices, double choir and double orchestra. Bach worked together with his librettist, Christian Friedrich Henrici, known as Picander, who published the text of the libretto of the St Matthew Passion in 1729. It sets chapters 26 and 27 of the Gospel of Matthew (in the Lutheran Bible) to music, with interspersed chorales and arias. It is widely regarded as one of the greatest masterpieces of classical sacred music. The St Matthew Passion is the second of two Passion settings by Bach that have survived in their entirety, the first being the St John Passion, first performed in 1724. Blute nur, du liebes Herz

Bleed out, you loving heart!

Blute nur, du liebes Herz!

Bleed out, you loving heart!

Ach, ein Kind, das du erzogen,

Alas! A child, whom you reared,

das an deiner Brust gesogen,

that nursed at your breast,

droht den Pfleger zu ermorden,

threatens to murder its caretaker,

denn es ist zur Schlange worden.

since it has become a serpent.

Ich will dir mein Herze schenken

I shall give my heart to you

Ich will dir mein Herze schenken,

I shall give my heart to you,

Senke dich, mein Heil, hinein!

Come down, my salvation, and bury yourself within it!

Ich will mich in dir versenken;

I shall bury myself in you;

Ist dir gleich die Welt zu klein,

If the world is too small for you

Ei, so sollst du mir allein

Ah, then you alone to me shall

Mehr als Welt und Himmel sein.

Be more than the world and heaven.

(Libretto by Picander)

(Translation by Francis Browne)


Gaetano Donizetti was an Italian composer, best known for his almost 70 operas, most of which are performed perennially at every major opera house. Along with Gioachino Rossini and Vincenzo Bellini, Donizetti was a leading composer of the bel canto opera style during the first half of the nineteenth century. Donizetti’s close association with the bel canto style was undoubtedly an influence on other composers such as Giuseppe Verdi. Donizetti produced more than 250 songs with bel canto style—beautiful melodies and clear accompaniments. A number of Donizetti’s songs are in Neapolitan dialect, though many remain unpublished. Il sospiro

The sigh

Donna infelice, stanca d’amore,

Unhappy woman, weary of love,

l'eterno sonno chiedi all'avel?

are you asking for eternal slumber in the grave?

Deh! non rammenti, che qui v‘è un core

Please! Don’t you know that a heart is here

che, te perduta, perduto ha il ciel?

which, having lost you, has lost heaven?

L’Eden ridente quaggiù la speme

Renewed hope can give us

rinnovellata ci può donar

smiling Eden down here;

Se implori morte, moriamo insieme,

if you implore death, let us die together,

angiol mio caro, non mi lasciar.

my dear angel, do not leave me.

Ma se ricusi ch’or teco stretto

But if you refuse that now, close to you,

nel riso eterno debba salir,

I may rise into eternal splendor,

onde la vita mi resti in petto,

while there is still life in my bosom,

dammi l'estremo caldo sospir.

give me the ultimate warm sigh.

(Text by Carlo Guaita)

(Translation by John Glenn Paton)

La lontananza

The distance

Or ch’io sono a te rapita,

Now that I am taken from you,

Or che tolto a me tu sei,

now that you are stolen from me,

Con le spine di mia vita

I wouldn’t change the thorns of my life

Gli altrui fior non cangerei.

for another man’s flowers.

Se a soffrir è solo un core,

If a heart is alone in suffering,

-3Quel soffrir si fa dolore,

that suffering turns into pain,

Caro amore, caro amor!

dear beloved, dearest love!

(Text by Felice Romani)

(Translation by Camilla Bugge)

Eterno Amore e fè

Eternal love and faithfulness

Eterno Amore e fè,

Eternal love and faithfulness,

ti giuro umile ai piè,

to you I swear humble at your feet,

ti giuro eterna fè,

to swear eteral faithfulness,

presente Iddio, ti giuro amor,

in the presence of God, to you I swear love,

ti giuro fè, presente Iddio.

to you I swear faithfulness,

Viver, morir per te

To live, to die for you

è il solo ben che a me

is the sole good that to me

dal ciel desio.

with heaven I desire.

(Text by anonymous)

(Translation by Christie Turnage Turner)

L’amor funesto

Sad love

Più che non ama un angelo,

More than an angel loves,

T’amai nel mio deliro,

I loved you in my delirium,

Mi fusi nel tuo spirito,

I melted myself into your spirit,

Vissi nel tuo respiro,

I lived in your breath,

Ma un core senza palpiti,

But a heart that does not beat,

Un giuro senza fè,

A vow without faith,

Un riso senza lagrime,

A laugh without tears,

Donna, tu desti a me.

Woman, you gave to me.

Addio, lontano è il tumulo

Farewell, far away is the grave

Che accoglierà quest’ossa,

That will harbour these bones,

Né resterà pei gemiti

And there will remain for sorrows

La traccia della fossa;

Not one trace of the grave;

-4L’angiol tu fosti e il demone

You were the angel and the demon

De’ miei consunti dì,

Of my past days,

T’amo, dicesti a un misero,

I love you, you said to a miserable man,

Ed egli ne morì.

and he died of it.

(Text possible by N. Moriani)

(Translation by Luk Laerenbergh)

It is undisputed that Johannes

Brahms is one of the great composers of the nineteenth

century and one of the major German song composers. He was a diligent student and collector of old manuscripts, and his mastery of the musical techniques and forms of the past allowed him to superimpose his own unique style on them. His works are characterized by both strictness and freedom in form, line, texture, and rhythm. Brahms’ fundamental interest in folk song and folk music permeated his musical aesthetic. His great respect and admiration for classical forms manifested itself in musical symmetry, which is always found in his songs. This coupled with his strong lyric gift, gives his Lieder a high degree of emotional intensity and expressive impact. Meine Liebe ist grün

My love’s as green

Meine Liebe ist grün wie der Fliederbusch

My love’s as green as the lilac bush,

Und mein Lieb ist schön wie die Sonne;

And my sweetheart’s as fair as the sun;

Die glänzt wohl herab auf den Fliederbusch

The sun shines down on the lilac bush,

Und füllt ihn mit Duft und mit Wonne.

Fills it with delight and fragrance.

Meine Seele hat Schwingen der Nachtigall

My soul has a nightingale’s wings

Und wiegt sich in blühendem Flieder,

And sways in the blossoming lilac,

Und jauchzet und singet vom Duft berauscht

And, drunk with fragrance, exults and sings

Viel liebestrunkene Lieder.

Many a love-drunk song.

(Text by Felix Schumann)

(Translation by Richard Stokes)


A Young Girl’s Song

Auf die Nacht in der Spinnstub’n,

At night in the spinning-room,

Da singen die Mädchen,

The girls are singing,

Da lachen die Dorfbub’n,

The village lads are laughing,

Wie flink gehn die Rädchen!

How swiftly the wheels go round!

Spinnt Jedes am Brautschatz,

Each girl spins for her trousseau

Dass der Liebste sich freut.

To please her lover.

Nicht lange, so gibt es

It won’t be long

Ein Hochzeitgeläut.

Before wedding-bells sound.

Kein Mensch, der mir gut ist,

No man who cares for me

Will nach mir fragen;

Will ask after me;

Wie bang mir zumut ist,

How anxious I feel,

Wem soll ich’s klagen?

To whom shall I tell my sorrow?

Die Tränen rinnen

The tears go coursing

Mir übers Gesicht—

Down my cheeks—

Wofür soll ich spinnen?

What am I spinning for?

Ich weiss es nicht!

I don’t know!

(Text by Paul Heyse)

(Translation by Richard Stokes)

Von ewiger Liebe

Eternal Love

Dunkel, wie dunkel in Wald und in Feld!

Dark, how dark in forest and field!

Abend schon ist es, nun schweiget die Welt.

Evening already, and the world is silent.

Nirgend noch Licht und nirgend noch Rauch,

Nowhere a light and nowhere smoke,

Ja, und die Lerche sie schweiget nun auch.

And even the lark is silent now too.

Kommt aus dem Dorfe der Bursche heraus,

Out of the village there comes a lad,

Gibt das Geleit der Geliebten nach Haus,

Escorting his sweetheart home,

Führt sie am Weidengebüsche vorbei,

He leads her past the willow-copse,

Redet so viel und so mancherlei:

Talking so much and of so many things:

“Leidest du Schmach und betrübest du dich,

“If you suffer sorrow and suffer shame,

-6Leidest du Schmach von andern um mich,

Shame for what others think of me,

Werde die Liebe getrennt so geschwind,

Then let our love be severed as swiftly,

Schnell wie wir früher vereiniget sind.

As swiftly as once we two were plighted.

Scheide mit Regen und scheide mit Wind,

Let us depart in rain and depart in wind,

Schnell wie wir früher vereiniget sind.”

As swiftly as once we two were plighted.”

Spricht das Mägdelein, Mägdelein spricht:

The girl speaks, the girl says:

“Unsere Liebe sie trennet sich nicht!

“Our love cannot be severed!

Fest ist der Stahl und das Eisen gar sehr,

Steel is strong, and so is iron,

Unsere Liebe ist fester noch mehr.

Our love is even stronger still:

Eisen und Stahl, man schmiedet sie um,

Iron and steel can both be reforged,

Unsere Liebe, wer wandelt sie um?

But our love, who shall change it?

Eisen und Stahl, sie können zergehn,

Iron and steel can be melted down,

Unsere Liebe muß ewig bestehn!”

Our love must endure forever!”

(Text by August Heinrich Hoffmann von

(Translation by Richard Stokes)


Claude Debussy composed a total of eighty-seven songs, including two that are unfinished, and some that exist in preliminary sketches or are unpublished. He wrote expertly for the voice and was keenly responsive to translating poetic nuance into musical expression. Debussy was scrupulous in marking his scores—every accent, dynamic shading, and tempo is noted on the page. Because tonal color plays such an important part in Debussy’s overall song style, transposition should not be attempted except in the very early melodies. His literary tastes were very highly refined. Debussy maintained a visible and active role in the literary and artistic circle of his time. His extensive experience as a music critic gave him the ability to express himself on musical matters in writing as well as through his compositions.

-7Trois Chansons de Bilitis

Three Songs of Bilitis

La flûte de Pan

The flute of Pan

Pour le jour des Hyacinthies,

For Hyacinthus day

il m’a donné une syrinx

he gave me a syrinx

faite de roseaux bien taillés,

made of carefully cut reeds,

unis avec la blanche cire

bonded with white wax which tastes

qui est douce à mes lèvres comme le miel.

sweet to my lips like honey.

Il m’apprend à jouer,

He teaches me to play,

assise sur ses genoux;

as I sit on his lap;

mais je suis un peu tremblante.

but I ama little fearful.

Il en joue après moi,

He plays it after me,

Si doucement que je l’entends à peine.

so gently that I scarcely hear him.

Nous n’avons rien à nous dire,

We have nothing to say,

tant nous sommes près l’un de l’autre;

so close are we one to

mais nos chansons veulent se répondre,

another, but our songs try to answer each

et tour à tour nos bouches s’unissent sur la



and our mouths join in turn on the flute.

Il est tard;

It is late;

voici le chant des grenouilles vertes qui

here is the song of the green frogs that

commence avec la nuit.

begins with the night.

Ma mère ne croira jamais que

My mother will never believe

je suis restée si longtemps à chercher ma

I stayed out so long to look for my lost sash.

ceinture perdue.

La chevelure

The tresses of hair

Il m’a dit: «Cette nuit, j’ai rêvé.

He said to me: “Last night I dreamed.

J’avais ta chevelure autour de mon cou.

I had yourtresses around my neck.

J’avais tes cheveux comme un collier noir

I had your hair like a blacknecklace all round

-8autour de ma nuque et sur ma poitrine.

my nape and over my breast.

«Je les caressais, et c’étaient les miens;

“I caressed it and it was mine;

et nous étions liés pour toujours ainsi,

and we were united thus forever by the same

par la même chevelure


la bouche sur la bouche,

mouth on mouth,

ainsi que deux lauriers n’ont souvent qu’une

just as two laurels often share one root.

racine. «Et peu à peu, il m’a semblé,

“And gradually it seemed to me,

tant nos membres

so intertwined

étaient confondus,

were our limbs,

que je devenais toi-même ou que

that I was becoming you,

tu entrais en moi comme mon songe.»

or you were entering into me like a dream.”

Quand il eut achevé,

When he had finished,

il mit doucement ses mains sur mes épaules,

he gently set his hands on my shoulders

et il me regarda d’un regard si tendre,

and gazed at me so tenderly

que je baissai les yeux avec un frisson.

that I lowered my eyes with a shiver.

Le tombeau des Naiades

The tomb of the Naiads

Le long du bois couvert de givre, je marchais;

Along the frost-bound wood I walked;

mes cheveux devant ma bouche se

my hair across my mouth,

fleurissaient de petits glaçons,

blossomed with tiny icicles,

et mes sandales étaient lourdes de neige

and my sandals were heavy with muddy,

fangeuse et tassée.

packed snow.

Il me dit: «Que cherches-tu?»—

He said to me: “What do you seek?”

«Je suis la trace du satyre.

“I follow the satyr’s track.

Ses petits pas fourchus alternent comme des

His little cloven hoof-marks alternate like

trous dans un manteau blanc.»

holes in a white cloak.”

Il me dit: «Les satyres sont morts.

He said to me: “The satyrs are dead.

«Les satyres et les nymphes aussi.

“The satyrs and the nymphs too.

-9Depuis trente ans il n’a pas fait un hiver aussi

For thirty years there has not been so harsh a



La trace que tu vois est celle d’un bouc.

The tracks you see are those of a goat.

Mais restons ici, où est leur tombeau.»

But let us stay here, where their tomb is.”

Et avec le fer de sa houe il cassa la glace de la

And with the iron head of his hoe he broke


the ice of the spring,

où jadis riaient les naïades.

where the naiads used to laugh.

Il prenait de grands morceaux froids,

He picked up some huge cold fragments,

et les soulevant vers le ciel pâle,

and, raising them to the pale sky,

il regardait au travers.

gazed through them.

(Text by Pierre Louÿs)

(Translation by Richard Stokes)

Rebecca Clarke’s fascinating legacy of songs is a treasure trove of astonishingly beautiful works, rich in musical invention and dramatic brilliance. Clarke was the first woman accepted to study with Sir Charles Stanford at the Royal College of Music in London. She composed most of her music in the 1920s, an era that did not really accept women as composers. However, the musical styles that existed during that time—impressionism, post-romanticism, and neo-classicism, shaped her musical aesthetic. Clarke wrote nearly 100 works—songs, chamber pieces, choral works, and music for solo piano, but no orchestral scores. Fifty-three of her songs survive, the rest remain unpublished, and are the property of her estate.

- 10 Shy One

The Cloths of Heaven

Shy one, shy one. Shy one of my heart

Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,

She moves in the firelight. Pensively apart

Enwrought with golden and silver light,

She carries in the dishes, And lays them in a row

The blue and the dim and the dark cloths

To an isle in the water. With her would I go

Of night and light and the half light,

She carries in the candles

I would spread the cloths under your feet:

And lights the curtained room

But I, being poor, have only my dreams;

Shy in the doorway. And shy in the gloom;

I have spread my dreams under your feet;

And shy as a rabbit. Helpful and shy

Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

To an isle in the water. With her I would fly.

(Text by W. B. Yeats)

(Text by W. B. Yeats)

The Seal Man And he came by her cabin to the west of the

And she says to him: “My treasure and my

road, calling.

strength,” she says,

There was a strong love came up in her at that,

“I would follow you on the frozen hills, my

and she put down her sewing on the table,

feet bleeding.”

and “Mother,”she says,

Then they went down into the sea together,

“Theres no lock, and no key, and no bolt, and

and the moon made a track on the sea, and

no door.

they walked down it;

Theres no iron, nor no stone, nor anything at all

it was like a flame before them. There was no

will keep me this night from the man I love.”

fear at all on her;

And she went out into the moonlight to him,

only a great love like the love of the Old Ones,

there by the bush where the flow'rs is pretty,

that was stronger than the touch of the fool.

beyond the river.

She had a little white throat, and little cheeks

And he says to her: “You are all of the beauty

like flowers,

of the world,

and she went down into the sea with her man,

will you come where I go, over the waves of

who wasn’t a man at all.

the sea?”

She was drowned, of course.

- 11 It’s like he never thought that she wouldn’t

She was drowned, drowned.

bear the sea like himself.

(Text by John Masefield)

The text of Chinese art song《我住长江头》(I live near the source of the Yangtze River) is Song Ci(a poetic form, a type of lyric poetry, mostly from the Song Dynasty), written in 1103 by Li Zhiyi(1048-1117). It was set to music by Li Qingzhu(1893-1959) around 1920. When the poet was suffering from setbacks of his political career, and the loss of his children and wife, he met a singer who felt for him and accompanied him through hardship. Therefore, he wrote this Song Ci in a female perspective as a respond and appreciation. At the beginning of twentieth century, China was going through political upheaval. Since Li Qingzhu just lost many companions from a political movement when he set this song to music, the eternal love in the song also represents his longing and condolence. 我住长江头

I live near the source of the Yangtze River


I live near the source of the Yangtze River,


You live along its lower reaches; Day after day I think of you but cannot see you,


Yet we both drink the waters of the river.


When will these waters ever cease?


When will this yearning ever end?

此恨何时已。 只愿君心似我心,

I wish only that your heart will be like my heart, And that you will never repudiate our mutual



(Text by Li Zhiyi)

(Translation by Victor H. Mair)

The composer of《春思曲》(Longing in Spring), Huang Zi(1904-1938), contributed greatly to set the foundation of Chinese contemporary art song and music education. He studied

- 12 psychology and music in Oberlin College, later earned his bachelor’s degree in composition at Yale University. After graduating from Yale, he traveled to several countries and came back as the Dean of former Shanghai Conservatory of Music. He also was one of the main editors of music teaching materials including music history and harmony at the time. His left 94 works—orchestral and chamber pieces, piano fugues, oratorios, and most importantly, his 74 vocal works. Huang Zi’s art songs exquisitely combined the traditional poetic styles of the texts and music, which have a profound influence on the following composers. 春思曲

Longing in Spring


Drizzling down was the rain in front of the


doorsteps last night. Lonely accompanying the cold bed without sleep was a real fight.


This morning before the mirror,


the dimples become shallower;


what sweeping over is the uncombed hair;


without ornaments dangling there.


Lazily leaning alone against the garret, unwillingly to look at the hazy shadow of the


field willow creeping onto the curtain of the


window. Further fails come from a couple of careless


swallows flying over the rails.


Nothing could I do except for jealousy


towards their bill and coo. I am thinking of my fiancé, who left years ago


for far away.


I hate myself for not being able to become a


cuckoo wife that can keep calling her husband

(Text by Wei Hanzhang)

coming back to the home life. (Translation by anonymous)

- 13 《一首桃花》(Peach Blossoms) is the leading soprano role Lin Huiyin’s aria from Chinese opera《再别康桥》(Farewell to Cambridge Again). The opera is based on four historical figures and their romantic relationships in early twentieth century. Some of the poems by them are also used as part of the libretto, including Peach Blossoms, written by Lin Huiyin herself in 1931. Lin Huiyin(1904-1955) was a poet, writer, and the first female architect, praised as one of the “Chinese contemporary outstanding women”. She studied architecture when getting her Bachelor on Fine Arts from University of Pennsylvania. She also studied Stage Design at Yale University afterwards. She made significate contribution as one of the major designers of National Emblem of China, People’s Heroes Monument, etc. In the opera Farewell to Cambridge Again, composer Zhou Xueshi(b. 1962) focuses on the romantic relationship between the four characters in their early years—Lin Huiyin, her husband Liang Sichen who was another famous archtect, the most famous contemporary poet Xu Zhimo, talented female painter and writer Lu Xiaoman. 一首桃花

Peach Blossoms


Peach blossoms,


A full tree of crimson red, Sounded like a remark of spring:


Charming dewy flowers


Are some well-refined words,


Petals of delicate flower


Are also some


Rhythm of gentle breathing; Smiling, Consciously or unconsciously


For an amorous glance.




In the shivering in the breeze


She leaves gently

在三月的薄唇边, 一瞥,一瞥多情的痕迹! (Text by Lin huiyin)

A glance, A glance of affection Along the thin lips of March! (Translation by Hai’an)

- 14 Bibliography Rathey, Markus. Bach’s Major Vocal Works. Music, Drama, Liturgy. Yale University Press, 2016. Spitta, Philipp. Johann Sebastian Bach; his work and influence on the music of Germany, 1685-1750. London: Novello, 1884. Stevens, Denis. A History of Song. New York: Norton, 1970. Kimball, Carol. Song: a guide to art song style and literature (Revised Edition). Lanham: Rowman & Little field, 2006. Smart, Mary Ann; Budden, Julian. “Donizetti, Gaetano”. Grove Music Online. Oxford University Press. Accessed April 8, 2021. 刘学锴 等.唐宋词鉴赏辞典(唐·五代·北宋).上海:上海辞书出版社,1988:754-756。 “李之仪一生爱上两个奇女子” .新商报网.2012-07-14,引用日期 2013-10-01。 “中国近代音乐奠基人之一 ——著名音乐家黄自诞辰 110 周年” .上海市浦东中学,引用 日期 2015-01-10。 上海音乐学院章程 .上海音乐学院,引用日期 2020-09-15。 “清华大学建筑学院的创办者——梁思成与林徽因” .清华大学校友网.2007-11-01,引用 日期 2021-02-24。 “纪念林徽因先生百年诞辰(珍藏图片展)” .清华大学校友网.2004-10-14,引用日期 2021-02-24。 “林徽因” .东北大学校友总会,引用日期 2021-02-25。 周雪石. 快懂百科,引用日期 2021-04-07。 “忠厚柔艳陆小曼” .苏州新闻网,引用日期 2014-09-26。 “陆小曼:从名媛、烟客到画家” .腾讯网,引用日期 2014-09-29。

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Siwei Zhang Program Notes, April 20 2021  

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