Wednesday, October 14, 7 pm (EST)
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 sounds th’alarm
from Acis and Galatea
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.
from Die Schöne Magelone (1861) Op. 33
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!
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)
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)
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
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!
FULL TEXTS AND TRANSLATIONS
|Love sounds th’alarm
Love sounds th’alarm,
In defence of my treasure,
Treue Liebe dauert lange,
Dräuen gleich in dichten Scharen,
Und wie Nebel stürzt zurücke,
|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,
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.
Todo es luz y belleza
What was once darkness and cold
|“A Choirmaster’s Burial”
He often would ask us
As soon as I knew
Hence, that afternoon,
Such the tenor man told
|A Song of the Lilac
And from the coppice thinned,
In tears it long was buried,
|Bright be the place of thy soul!
Bright be the place of thy soul!
On earth thou wert all but divine,
Light be the turf of thy tomb!
Young flowers and an evergreen tree
|Music, when soft voices die
Music, when soft voices die,
Rose leaves, when the rose is dead,