Love Inspires – Alonso Jordan Lopez, tenor

    Wednesday, October 14, 7 pm (EST)

    Love Inspires

    Alonso Jordan Lopez, tenor, with Chris Fecteau, piano
    Songs of Handel, Brahms, Ponce, Britten, Lang, Owens, and Quilter

    PROGRAM NOTES by Alonso Jordan Lopez

    My program touches on the many expressions of love by diverse poets and composers.  This is a journey into love and its many forms – from bursts of passion to a broader view of the world coming into focus, and with it, a realization of life and experiences that are more tempered, more aware that love can be (and is) lost but never forgotten.   The first half is about how love ‘bursts’ in passionate moments that change everything around us.

    Love Bursts

    Love sounds th’alarm
    from Acis and Galatea
    G.F. Handel
    Text by John Gay

         In Act II, the title characters enjoy their newfound love when Polyphemus disrupts the peace and imposes his violent nature to have Galatea for himself.  Acis sings this virtuosic aria in a passionate burst – his love inspiring his courage to fight against the giant.

    Treue Liebe
    from Die Schöne Magelone (1861) Op. 33
    Johannes Brahms
    Text by Ludwig Tieck

         Brahms’ romantic setting of a love story from the middle ages captures the qualities that make each poem an adventure for the sake of love. “Treue Liebe” is the 15th and final song of the cycle “Die schöne Magelone” and the end of a journey that convinces the hero of the story that his true love, Magelone, awaits him at home. Brahms romantic style gives way to a stunning burst of excitement that true love awaits us beyond the storms we must face to find “the one”.

    Manuel M. Ponce
    Text by Luis G. Urbina 

         As a Mexican-American, the music of Manuel Maria Ponce (famous for his “Estrellita”) speaks to me from a place of heritage and style.  The message here is simple:  Love and happiness have prevailed!  Sadness is no more!

    Love Honors

    After the amazing burst of awe has passed, love is remembered in its emotions and heartbreaks, ending with resolve and acceptance. 

    The Choirmaster’s Burial (or “The Tenorman’s Story”)
    from Winter Words, Op. 52 (1953)
    Benjamin Britten
    Text by Thomas Hardy

         Britten’s magnificent “Winter Words” is sometimes compared to Schubert’s iconic Winterreise. “A Choirmaster’s Burial” relates a spiritual homage performed for the choirmaster when his brethren failed to do it for him. 

    A Song of the Lilac
    Margaret Ruthven Lang
    Text by Louise Imogen Guiney

         Margaret Ruthven Lang has the distinction of being the first woman to have her orchestral composition performed by a major American orchestra (in 1893).  She composed over 200 songs, featuring beautiful melodic phrases and captivating harmonies.  “Song of the Lilac” calls up memories of a first love with cues from nature.

    Bright be the place of thy soul
    from “Stanzas for Music” (1958)
    Robert Owens
    Text by Lord Byron

         Robert Owens’ song cycle Stanzas for Music is dedicated to the composer’s mother, and “…reflects the tragedy of Owens’ first exposure to racism in the United States” (from editors notes).  “Bright be the Place of Thy Soul” promotes a powerful message of the indiscriminate and beauteous life that awaits us after death. 

    Music, When Soft Voices Die
    Roger Quilter
    Text by Percy Bysshe Shelley

         The final song of the program defines its sentiment – love is forever and when experienced, lives in us and in the connections we make with each other.  May you be inspired to love whom you wish and be not afraid to live your life and your love fully!


    Love sounds th’alarm

    Love sounds th’alarm,
    And fear is a-flying!
    When beauty’s the prize,?
    What mortal fears dying?

    In defence of my treasure,
    I’d bleed at each vein;
    Without her no pleasure,
    For life is a pain.

    Treue Liebe

    Treue Liebe dauert lange,
    Überlebet manche Stund’,
    Und kein Zweifel macht sie bange,
    Immer bleibt ihr Mut gesund.

    Dräuen gleich in dichten Scharen,
    Fordern gleich zum Wankelmut
    Sturm und Tod, setzt den Gefahren
    Lieb’ entgegen, treues Blut.

    Und wie Nebel stürzt zurücke,
    Was den Sinn gefangen halt
    Und dem heitern Frühlingsblicke
    Öffnet sich die weite Welt.

    Von Lieb’ ist das Glück,
    Die Stunden,
    Sie fliehen zurück;
    Und selige Lust,
    Sie stillet,
    Die trunkene, wonneklopfende Brust;
    Sie scheide
    Von Leide
    Auf immer,
    Und nimmer
    Entschwinde die liebliche, selige, himmlische Lust!

    True love lasts long,
    It survives for all time,
    And no doubt drives it away,
    Love’s courage always remains intact.Storms and death loom,
    temptations abound;
    Love fights back with loyal blood
    Against such perils.What keeps your mind trapped
    Falls away like fog
    And spring is revealed
    as the world opens its doors.

    Love is happiness.
    Are the hours –
    They fly away.
    And blessed joy
    The throbbing breast with delight.
    May it be set apart
    From sorrow
    And never
    Vanish this sweet, blessed, heavenly bliss!

    ¡Aleluya, aleluya

    ¡Aleluya, aleluya,
    aleluya, alma mía!
    Que en un himno concluya
    mi doliente elegía:
    Ya me dijo: ¡Soy tuya!
    Ya le dije: ¡Eres mía!
    Y una voz encantada,
    que de lejos venía,
    me anunció la alborada,
    me gritó: ¡Ya es de día!

    Todo es luz y belleza
    lo que fue sombra fría;
    se apagó la Tristeza,
    se encendió la alegría.
    Ya le dije: ¡Eres mía!
    Ya me dijo: ¡Soy tuya!
    -¡cuánto sol tiene el día!
    ¡Aleluya, alma mía!


    Hallelujah, hallelujah
    Hallelujah, my soul!
    That what was my elegy
    Now ends in a hymn;
    She confessed: I am yours!
    I exclaimed: You are mine!
    And an overjoyed voice
    that came from afar
    announced- the light of day,
    shouted: It is now day!

    What was once darkness and cold
    is now beauty and light;
    sadness has ended
    joy is ignited!
    I told her: You are mine!
    She told me: I am yours!
    How bright is the day
    Hallelujah, my soul!

    “A Choirmaster’s Burial”

    He often would ask us
    That, when he died,
    After playing so many
    To their last rest,
    If out of us any
    Should here abide,
    And it would not task us,
    We would with our lutes
    Play over him
    By his grave-brim
    The psalm he liked best—
    The one whose sense suits
    “Mount Ephraim”
    And perhaps we should seem
    To him, in death’s dream,
    Like the seraphim.

    As soon as I knew
    That his spirit was gone
    I thought this his due,
    And spoke thereupon.
    “I think” said the vicar,
    “A read service quicker
    That viols out-of-doors
    In these frosts and hoars.
    That old-fashioned was
    Requires a fine day,
    And it seems to me
    It had better not be.

    Hence, that afternoon,
    Though never knew he
    That his wish could not be,
    To get through it faster
    They buried the master
    Without any tune.
    But t’was said that, when
    At the dead of next night
    The vicar looked out,
    There struck on his ken
    Thronged roundabout,
    Where the frost was graying
    The headstoned grass,
    A band all in white
    Like the saints in church-glass,
    Singing and playing
    The ancient stave
    By the choirmaster’s grave.

    Such the tenor man told
    When he had grown old.

    A Song of the Lilac

    And from the coppice thinned,
    So sacred and so sweet
    The lilac in the wind!
    And when by night the May wind blows
    The lilac-blooms apart,
    The memory of his first love
    Is shaken on his heart.

    In tears it long was buried,
    And trances wrapt it round;
    O how they wake it now,
    The fragrance and the sound!
    For when by night the May wind blows
    The lilac-blooms apart,
    The memory of his first love
    Is shaken on his heart.

    Bright be the place of thy soul!

    Bright be the place of thy soul!
    No lovelier spirit than thine
    E’er burst from its mortal control,
    In the orbs of the blessed to shine.

    On earth thou wert all but divine,
    As thy soul shall immortally be;
    And our sorrow may cease to repine,
    When we know that thy God is with thee.

    Light be the turf of thy tomb!
    May its verdure like emeralds be:
    There should not be the shadow of gloom
    In aught that reminds us of thee.

    Young flowers and an evergreen tree
    May spring from the spot of thy rest;
    But not cypress nor yew let us see,
    For why should we mourn for the blest?

    Music, when soft voices die

    Music, when soft voices die,
    Vibrates in the memory;
    Odours, when sweet violets sicken,
    Live within the sense they quicken.

    Rose leaves, when the rose is dead,
    Are heaped for the belovèd’s bed;
    And so thy thoughts, when thou art gone,
    Love itself shall slumber on.