Zhang Program Notes 10.13.2020

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Program Notes Franz Schubert composed more than 600 hundred songs in his rather short life, which establishes the cornerstone of nineteenth-century German Lieder. He achieved a wide variety by exploring numerous possibilities of style and structure in his song writing. He had an extraordinary ability to transform a poem into beautiful lyrical melodies with the piano accompaniment being an essential part of the unity. Auflösung was composed in March 1824, the same month that Schubert penned his most famous string quartet (the “Death and the Maiden” Quartet, D. 810). The word Auflösung may refer to dissolution, disentanglement, denouement, etc. Moreover, Auflösung was an important concept for nineteenth-century aesthetics. The song and other three composed at the same time also mark both a return and farewell to the poetry of Mayrhofer. Young Schubert was attracted to the philosophy in Schlegel’s verses, starting from Die Gebüsche. The most important musical allusion in this work is a reference, at the close of the first movement, to a melody taken from Beethoven’s song cycle An die ferne Geliebte. This song is one of the high points of what might be termed Schubert's “experimental” years. As the first great masterpiece in song by Schubert, Gretchen am Spinnrade is a landmark in the history of the form. The text is by Goethe, same as his another masterpiece Der Erlkönig. Schubert showed genius for dramatic characterization in both songs, such as the piano accompaniment depicting the spinning wheel.

Franz Liszt, as the piano virtuoso of his time, was a nineteenth-century superstar throughout Europe. Liszt travelled to various European countries, spending most of his time on tour. His songs are in many languages with a tremendous variety of melodic styles. Liszt also constantly revised or made orchestral transcriptions of his own songs, possibly out of the desire to improve on his first efforts. The text of Enfant, si j’étais roi is the twenty-second poem of Hugo’s Les feuilles d’automne, a love song as shown in Hugo’s original title “Une femme”. Compared with the first version, this revision has several fundamental changes, such as the meter, shortened prelude, less prelude and full-sounding piano accompaniment, etc.

The poem O lieb, so lang du lieben kannst is written by Ferdinand Freiligrath, Liszt set the first five verses to music for high voice and piano in 1847, and eventually adapted it into one of his most famous work, Liebesträume No. 3 (1850), “Dreams of Love”. Pace non trovo is the first song of Liszt’s Tre Sonetti di Petrarca. The deep influence of Italian opera can be found in these three Petrarch sonnets, as well as a larger proportion of his other songs. The original version of the song and the revision can be considered as the evidence of his certain tendencies in perceiving vocal technique and the development of Italian and European vocal aesthetics. The poem Die Lorelei is by Heinrich Heine, who based his poem on the ancient legend associated with The Lorelei, a large rock formation on the Rhine River. The name Lorelei is also given to a female water spirit that legend says sits on the top of the rock and murmurs as it combs its hair, and while doing so distracts sailors from guiding their boats around the narrow channel of the river and causes their vessels to destruct on the rocks.

Maurice Ravel’s songs represent a transition between the mature melodies of Claude Debussy and vocal literature that follows. His songs have a sense of flow and evenness of rhythmic structure that call for scrupulous execution. Like Debussy, Ravel insisted on technical accuracy from pianist and singer; his indications of dynamics, tempo, and phrasing are exact and precisely noted. Polish and refinement were prominent qualities in his personal life as well as in his musical compositions. Shéhérazade, “these three poems for voice and orchestra,” writes Ravel, “where Debussy’s spiritual influence is at least fairly obvious, date from 1903. In them, I have succumbed again to the profound fascination which the East has held for me since childhood.” They are setting of poems by Tristan Klingsor, who had published a book called Shéhérazade in the same year. He wrote: “Ravel immediately wanted to set some of my poems. His love for difficulty made him choose, together with ‘La flûte enchantée’ and ‘L’indifférent’, one, the long narrative of which made it appear quite unsuitable for his purpose: ‘Asie’. For at that time, he was engaged in a study of spoken verse, and was aiming at emphasizing accents and inflexions, and magnifying them by melodic transposition. To fix his conception firmly, he insisted on my reading the lines aloud.” Ravel was fastidious in his texting setting. Klingsor also wrote: “For Ravel, setting a poem meant transforming it into expressive recitative, to exalt the inflexions of speech to the state of the song, to exalt all the possibilities of the word, but not to subjugate it, Ravel made himself the servant of the poet.”

American composer lyricist, librettist, pianist, and singer Ricky

Ian Gordon emerged as

a leading writer of art song, chamber pieces, opera, and musical theater in New York. Gordon’s songwriting is steeped in the traditions of cabaret and musical theater, while his choice of themes has been idiosyncratic. Green Sneakers for Baritone, String Quartet, Empty Chair and Piano has been described as “a significant contribution to the culture sprung from the AIDS crisis”, notable for its elegiac quality as well as its restraint. His opera The Grapes of Wrath, based on the novel by John Steinbeck, has been cited for achieving “instant success that is rare for an American opera.” The Red Dress is from his A Horse with Wings, and Joy is the last song of his cycle Genius Child.

Bibliography 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. Bernac, Pierre. The Interpretation of French Song. New York: Norton, 1978. Mosley, David L. “Auflösung in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Music.” The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism, vol. 51, no. 3, pp. 437-444. https://www-jstororg.ezproxy.lib.uh.edu/stable/431515?Search=yes&resultItemClick=true&searchText=Aufl %C3%B6sung+in+NineteenthCentury+Literature+and+Music&searchUri=%2Faction%2FdoBasicSearch%3FQuery%3D Aufl%25C3%25B6sung%2Bin%2BNineteenthCentury%2BLiterature%2Band%2BMusic%26acc%3Don%26wc%3Don%26fc%3Doff%26 group%3Dnone&ab_segments=0%2Fbasic_search_SYC-5455%2Ftest&refreqid=fastlydefault%3A0e62e04410f79982226c8ca2b01f83d1&seq=1#metadata_info_tab_contents. Johnson, Graham. “Auflösung, D807,” Hyperion Records. Accessed September 24, 2020. https://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/dw.asp?dc=W2200_GBAJY9101111. Johnson, Graham. “Die Gebüsche, D646,” Hyperion Records. Accessed September 24, 2020. https://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/dw.asp?dc=W1901_GBAJY9502718. Park, Shin-Young. “Franz Liszt’s Songs on Poems by Victor Hugo.” Florida State University Libraries. Accessed September 28, 2020. file:///Users/siweizhang/Downloads/PDF%20datastream.pdf. Aldach, Danielle. “Liszt’s O lieb’ so lang du lieben kannst: the song that inspired liebesträume and the composer’s programmatic literature.” Graduate Student Work, Southern Illinois University Carbondale. http://opensiuc.lib.siu.edu/music_gradworks/8. Wojtczak, Ziemowit. “Between Opera and the Lied - ‘Tre sonetti di Petrarca’ by Franz Liszt.” Traslated by Marzena Hans. Interdisciplinary Studies in Musicology 13, 2013. https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/162598926.pdf. Beggerow, Alan. “Liszt - Two Lieder: Die Lorelei, S. 273 - O lieb, so lang du lieben kannst, S. 298.” Musical Musings. Accessed September 29, 2020. https://muswrite.blogspot.com/2015/07/liszt-two-lieder-die-lorelei-s-273-o.html. Gordon, Ricky Ian. Accessed September 29, 2020. https://www.rickyiangordon.com/.

Texts and Translations Auflösung


Verbirg dich, Sonne, Denn die Gluten der Wonne Versengen mein Gebein; Verstummet, Töne, Frühlings Schöne Flüchte dich und lass mich allein! Quillen doch aus allen Falten Meiner Seele liebliche Gewalten, Die mich umschlingen, Himmlisch singen. Geh unter, Welt, und störe Nimmer die süssen, ätherischen Chöre. (Poem by Johann Mayrhofer)

Hide yourself, sun, for the fires of rapture burn through my whole being. Be silent, sounds; spring beauty, flee, and let me be alone! From every recess of my soul gentle powers well up and envelop me with celestial song. Dissolve, world, and never more disturb the sweet ethereal choirs. (Translation by Richard Wigmore)

Die Gebüsche

The Undergrowth

Es wehet kühl und leise Die Luft durch dunkle Auen, Und nur der Himmel lächelt Aus tausend hellen Augen. Es regt nur Eine Seele Sich in der Meere Brausen, Und in den leisen Worten, Die durch die Blätter rauschen. So tönt in Welle Welle, Wo Geister heimlich trauren; So folgen Worte Worten, Wo Geister Leben hauchen. Durch alle Töne tönet Im bunten Erdentraume Ein leiser Ton gezogen, Für den, der heimlich lauschet. (Poem by Friedrich von Schlegel)

There is a cool and gentle movement In the air going across the dark meadows, And only the sky smiles From a thousand bright eyes. Only a single soul is stirring In the roaring of the sea, And in the gentle words Which are rustling through the leaves. Thus wave echoes wave Where spirits grieve in secret; Thus words follow words, Where spirits breathe life. Resounding amongst all the notes In the colorful dreams of earth, A single faint note rings out For the person who is secretly paying attention. (Translation by Malcolm Wren)

Gretchen am Spinnrade

Gretchen at the spinning-wheel

Meine Ruh’ ist hin, Mein Herz ist schwer, Ich finde sie nimmer Und nimmermehr. Wo ich ihn nicht hab’ Ist mir das Grab, Die ganze Welt Ist mir vergällt. Mein armer Kopf Ist mir verrückt Mein armer Sinn Ist mir zerstückt. Meine Ruh’ ist hin, Mein Herz ist schwer, Ich finde sie nimmer Und nimmermehr. Nach ihm nur schau’ ich Zum Fenster hinaus, Nach ihm nur geh’ ich Aus dem Haus. Sein hoher Gang, Sein’ edle Gestalt, Seines Mundes Lächeln, Seiner Augen Gewalt. Und seiner Rede Zauberfluss. Sein Händedruck, Und ach, sein Kuss! Meine Ruh’ ist hin, Mein Herz ist schwer, Ich finde sie nimmer Und nimmermehr. Mein Busen drängt sich Nach ihm hin. Ach dürft’ ich fassen Und halten ihn. Und küssen ihn So wie ich wollt’ An seinen Küssen

My peace is gone My heart is heavy; I shall never Ever find peace again. When he’s not with me, Life’s like the grave; The whole world Is turned to gall. My poor head Is crazed, My poor mind Shattered. My peace is gone My heart is heavy; I shall never Ever find peace again. It’s only for him I gaze from the window, It’s only for him I leave the house. His proud bearing His noble form, The smile on his lips, The power of his eyes, And the magic flow Of his words, The touch of his hand, And ah, his kiss! My peace is gone My heart is heavy; I shall never Ever find peace again. My bosom Yearns for him. Ah! if I could clasp And hold him, And kiss him To my heart’s content, And in his kisses

Vergehen sollt’! (Text by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)

Perish! (Translation by Richard Stokes)

Enfant, si j’étais roi

Child, if I were king

Enfant, si j’étais roi, je donnerais l’empire, Et mon char, et mon sceptre, et mon peuple à genoux, Et ma couronne d’or, et mes bains de porphyre, Et mes flottes, à qui la mer ne peut suffire, Pour un regard de vous!

Child, if I were king I would give the empire, and my chariot, and my scepter, and my kneeling people, and my golden crown, and my porphyry baths, and my fleets that the sea could not hold, for one of your glances!

Si j’étais Dieu, la terre et l’air avec les ondes, Les anges, les démons courbés devant ma loi, Et le profond chaos aux entrailles fécondes, L’éternité, l’espace et les cieux et les mondes, Pour un baiser de toi! (Text by Victor Marie Hugo)

If I were God, earth and heaven with the waves, the angels, the demons bent before my law, and the chaos of the fertile deep, eternity, space, the heavens and the worlds for a kiss from you! (Translation by Faith J. Cormier)

O Lieb

O Love

O lieb, solang du lieben kannst! O lieb, so lang du lieben magst! Die Stunde kommt, die Stunde kommt, Wo du an Gräbern stehst und klagst.

O love, love as long as you can! O love, love as long as you will! The time will come, the time will come, When you will stand grieving at the grave.

Und sorge, daß dein Herze glüht Und Liebe hegt und Liebe trägt, So lang ihm noch ein ander Herz In Liebe warm entgegenschlägt.

And let it be that your heart glows And nurtures and carries love, As long as another heart is still Warmly bestruck by love for you!

Und wer dir seine Brust erschließt, O tu ihm, was du kannst, zulieb! Und mach ihm jede Stunde froh, Und mach ihm keine Stunde trüb.

And to one who spills his breast to you, O to him, do what you can, in Love! And make him happy for each moment, And never let him be sad for one!

Und hüte deine Zunge wohl, Bald ist ein böses Wort gesagt!

And guard your tongue tightly, In case any slight escapes your mouth!

O Gott, es war nicht bös gemeint, Der andre aber geht und klagt. (Text by Ferdinand Freiligrath)

O God, it was not meant that way, But the other recoils, hurt and sighing. (Translation by Thomas Ang)

Pace non trovo

I find no peace

Pace non trovo, et non ò da far guerra; e temo, et spero; et ardo, et son un ghiaccio; et volo sopra ‘l cielo, et giaccio in terra; et nulla stringo, et tutto ‘l mondo abbraccio. Tal m’à in pregion, che non m’apre né serra, né per suo mi riten né scioglie il laccio; et non m’ancide Amore, et non mi sferra, né mi vuol vivo, né mi trae d’impaccio. Veggio senza occhi, et non ò lingua et grido; et bramo di perir, et cheggio aita; et ò in odio me stesso, et amo altrui. Pascomi di dolor, piangendo rido; egualmente mi spiace morte et vita: in questo stato son, donna, per voi. (Text by Francesco Petrarca)

I find no peace, and all my war is done. I fear and hope. I burn and freeze like ice. I fly above the wind, yet can I not arise; And nought I have, and all the world I season. That loseth nor locketh holdeth me in prison And holdeth me not--yet can I scape no wise Nor letteth me live nor die at my device, And yet of death it giveth me occasion.

Die Lorelei

The Loreley

Ich weiß nicht, was soll es bedeuten, Daß ich so traurig bin; Ein Märchen aus alten Zeiten, Das kommt mir nicht aus dem Sinn. Die Luft ist kühl und es dunkelt, Und ruhig fließt der Rhein; Der Gipfel der Berge funkelt Im Abendsonnenschein. Die schönste Jungfrau sitzet Dort oben wunderbar, Ihr goldnes Geschmeide blitzet, Sie kämmt ihr goldenes Haar. Sie kämmt es mit goldenem Kamme Und singt ein Lied dabei, Das hat eine wundersame,

I do not know what it means That I should feel so sad; There is a tale from olden times I cannot get out of my mind. The air is cool, and twilight falls, And the Rhine flows quietly by; The summit of the mountains glitters In the evening sun. The fairest maiden is sitting In wondrous beauty up there, Her golden jewels are sparkling, She combs her golden hair. She combs it with a golden comb And sings a song the while; It has an awe-inspiring,

Without eyen I see, and without tongue I plain.

I desire to perish, and yet I ask health. I love another, and thus I hate myself. I feed me in sorrow and laugh in all my pain; Likewise displeaseth me both life and death, And my delight is causer of this strife. (Translation by Sir Thomas Wyatt)

Gewalt’ge Melodei. Den Schiffer im kleinen Schiffe Ergreift es mit wildem Weh; Er schaut nicht die Felsenriffe, Er schaut nur hinauf in die Höh’. Ich glaube, die Wellen verschlingen Am Ende Schiffer und Kahn; Und das hat mit ihrem Singen Die Loreley getan. (Text by Heinrich Heine)

Powerful melody. It seizes the boatman in his skiff With wildly aching pain; He does not see the rocky reefs, He only looks up to the heights. I think at last the waves swallow The boatman and his boat; And that, with her singing, The Loreley has done. (Translation by Richard Stokes)

Shéhérazade Asie


Asie, Asie, Asie. Vieux pays merveilleux des contes de nourrice Où dort la fantaisie comme une impératrice En sa forêt tout emplie de mystère. Asie, Je voudrais m’en aller avec la goëlette Qui se berce ce soir dans le port Mystérieuse et solitaire Et qui déploie enfin ses voiles violettes Comme un immense oiseau de nuit dans le ciel d'or. Je voudrais m’en aller vers des îles de fleurs En écoutant chanter la mer perverse Sur un vieux rythme ensorceleur. Je voudrais voir Damas et les villes de Perse Avec les minarets légers dans l’air. Je voudrais voir de beaux turbans de soie Sur des visages noirs aux dents claires; Je voudrais voir des yeux sombres d’amour Et des prunelles brillantes de joie En des peaux jaunes comme des oranges; Je voudrais voir des vêtements de velours Et des habits à longues franges. Je voudrais voir des calumets entre des bouches Tout entourées de barbe blanche;

Asia, Asia, Asia, Old marvelous land from childhood tales Where fantasy sleeps like an empress In her forest filled with mystery. Asia, I wish to go away with the boat Cradled this evening in the port Mysterious and solitary And that finally deploys her violet sails Like an enormous night-bird in the golden sky. I wish to go away, toward the isles of flowers, Listening to the perverse sea sing Over an old, bewitching rhythm. I wish to see Damascus and the cities of Persia, With their light minarets in the air; I wish to see beautiful silk turbans On dark faces with bright teeth; I wish to see eyes dark with love And pupils shining with joy In skin yellowed like oranges; I wish to see velvet robes And clothes with long fringes. I wish to see pipes in mouths Surrounded by white beards;

Je voudrais voir d’âpres marchands aux regards louches, Et des cadis, et des vizirs Qui du seul mouvement de leur doigt qui se penche Accordent vie ou mort au gré de leur désir. Je voudrais voir la Perse, et l’Inde, et puis la Chine, Les mandarins ventrus sous les ombrelles, Et les princesses aux mains fines, Et les lettrés qui se querellent Sur la poésie et sur la beauté; Je voudrais m’attarder au palais enchanté Et comme un voyageur étranger Contempler à loisir des paysages peints Sur des étoffes en des cadres de sapin Avec un personnage au milieu d’un verger; Je voudrais voir des assassins souriant Du bourreau qui coupe un cou d’innocent Avec son grand sabre courbé d’Orient. Je voudrais voir des pauvres et des reines; Je voudrais voir des roses et du sang; Je voudrais voir mourir d'amour ou bien de haine. Et puis m’en revenir plus tard Narrer mon aventure aux curieux de rêves En élevant comme Sindbad ma vieille tasse arabe De temps en temps jusqu’à mes lèvres Pour interrompre le conte avec art...

I wish to see harsh merchants with cross-eyed gazes, And judges, and viziers Who with a single movement of their crooked fingers Grants life, or death, according to their desire. I wish to see Persia, and India, and then China,

La flûte enchantée

The enchanted flute

L’ombre est douce et mon maître dort Coiffé d’un bonnet conique de soie Et son long nez jaune en sa barbe blanche. Mais moi, je suis éveillée encor Et j’écoute au dehors Une chanson de flûte où s’épanche Tour à tour la tristesse ou la joie.

The shade is sweet and my master sleeps, Wearing a conical silk bonnet, With his long yellow nose in his white beard. But I, I waken again And hear outside The song of a flute pours forth By turns sadness and joy.

The pot-bellied mandarins under their umbrellas,

And the princesses with dainty hands, And the literary men who quarrel Over poetry and over beauty; I wish to linger in the enchanted palace, And like a foreign traveler Contemplate at leisure painted countrysides, On fabrics in fir frames, With a person standing in the middle of an orchard; I wish to see smiling assassins, The executioner who cuts an innocent neck With his great curved Oriental blade. I wish to see paupers and queens; I wish to see roses and blood; I wish to see death caused by love or even by hate. And then returning, later Tell my story to the dreaming and curious Raising, like Sinbad, my old Arab cup From time to time to my lips To interrupt my tale with art. . . .

Un air tour à tour langoureux ou frivole Que mon amoureux chéri joue, Et quand je m’approche de la croisée Il me semble que chaque note s’envole De la flûte vers ma joue Comme un mystérieux baiser.

A song by turns languorous and frivolous Which my dear lover plays, And when I approach by the window. It seems to me that each note steals away From the flute toward my cheek Like a mysterious kiss.


The indifferent one

Tes yeux sont doux comme ceux d’une fille, Jeune étranger, Et la courbe fine De ton beau visage de duvet ombragé Est plus séduisante encor de ligne. Ta lèvre chante sur le pas de ma porte Une langue inconnue et charmante Comme une musique fausse. Entre! Et que mon vin te réconforte... Mais non, tu passes Et de mon seuil je te vois t’éloigner Me faisant un dernier geste avec grâce Et la hanche légèrement ployée Par ta démarche féminine et lasse... (Texts by Arthur Justin Léon Leclère)

Your eyes are soft, like those of a girl, Young stranger, And the fine curve Of your handsome face with shadowed down Is more seductive still. Your lip sings, on the step of my door, A tongue unknown and charming Like dissonant music. Enter! And let my wine comfort you. . . . But no, you pass by And from my door I watch you depart, Making a last graceful gesture to me, Your hip lightly bent In your feminine and weary gait. . . . (Translations by Ahmed E. Ismail)

The Red Dress I always saw, I always said If I were grown and free, I’d have a gown of reddest red As fine as you could see, To wear out walking, sleek and slow, Upon a Summer day, And there’d be one to see me so And flip the world away. And he would be a gallant one, With stars behind his eyes,

And hair like metal in the sun, And lips too warm for lies. I always saw us, gay and good, High honored in the town. Now I am grown to womanhood…. I have the silly gown. (Text by Dorothy Parker)

Joy I went to look for Joy, Slim, dancing Joy, Gay, laughing Joy, Bright-eyed Joy– And I found her Driving the butcher’s cart In the arms of the butcher boy! Such company, such company, As keeps this young nymph, Joy! (Text by by Langston Hughes)

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