December 203rd, 7pm (EST)
Uplifting a Struggling Spirit
Christa Dalmazio, soprano, with Chris Fecteau, piano
Songs of Andre Previn, Samuel Barber, Joaquin Rodrigo, Gaetano Donizetti, Fanny Hensel, and Richard Strauss
The Coronavirus pandemic caught all of us off guard last winter, and caused sudden shock with the travel bans, lengthy lockdowns, and so much grief from sickness and death. The intense physical, emotional, and spiritual suffering we’ve all been enduring unites us around the world. We hope that this recital can provide a respite from the stress of our daily lives, and we look forward to sharing these poignant and energizing stories with you.
We open with the first song from a set by Andre Previn, with the text by Emily Dickinson, As Imperceptibly as Grief. This eloquent poetry is filled with images of light, darkness, and nature being compared to human grief. There is such difficulty in describing what one feels like during the stages of grief which is a journey experienced uniquely by each individual. We can all relate to things in the beauty of nature, such as the changing of the sun over the course of a day or the way the current guides a boat through water even without wind in its sails. The song concludes by urging those of us who are grieving that this season will pass, and that healing results in feeling the beauty of peace.
The next three selections are from The Hermit Songs, by Samuel Barber. The texts are attributed to 8th to 13th century Irish monks and scholars. The text of St. Ita’s Vision is attributed to a vision received by St. Ita of The Virgin Mary responding to the mission of God to bear the infant Jesus, and imagining the beauty of her life devoted to raising the savior. The Crucifixion portrays that event from the intimate perspective of his mother’s observation of her son’s torture and death on the cross. Both songs drive home the gravity of a mother’s love for her child, and bring to mind memories of childhood through the life and death of one’s child. We’ve all been faced with the thought of our own mortality and the fleeting nature of this short life during this pandemic. The final song of this set is The Heavenly Banquet, a much more lighthearted text attributed to St. Brigid, the Irish patron Saint of beer! There is joy and hope in imagining all the people one may encounter when they reach Heaven, and all the celebration and beer drinking that could ensue.
¿De dónde venís, amore? by Joaquin Rodrigo continues the pursuit of uplifting the spirit through a search for love. There is still always love and light to be found in the little things and simplicity often overlooked throughout our busy days. The song concludes with the flirtatious spirit of confidence, knowing that love and joy can always be found if adamantly looked for. The first of two Donizetti songs, L’amante spagnuolo, brings to life a thrilling story of the anticipated return of a lover on horseback. The second song of the pair, La Zingara, tells the tale of a gypsy with psychic powers, who grew up frolicking with goats and dancing from village to village with her fellow gypsies. One day she experiences falling in love with the most handsome man she’s ever seen, and wishes that he would read her fortune as she’s reading his palm. The initial excitement of new love is often a source of high energy and anticipation for a joy-filled future. May we all connect through the joy and love of friendship and loved ones in support of each other as we proceed through this time.
The next song, Frühling, by Fanny Hensel, depicts joyful new beginnings and the renewal of nature. New life and love are in the air. The light of the moon and sounds of birdsong bring feelings of reassurance that this personal joy belongs to you! The next German song, Die Nacht, by Richard Strauss reinforces this notion of the peaceful magic of night and the intimacy of feeling love through the beauty of nature. The final Strauss selection, Amor, spins the story of mischievous Cupid wittingly tricking a shepherdess to fall in love through playful beguilement. The shepherdess throws caution to the wind as her heart catches on fire with the love of Cupid. Just as her spirits were ultimately uplifted by the energetic and mischievous child of nature and love, we hope you will be captivated by the engaging retelling of these colorful stories and poetry!
TEXTS AND TRANSLATIONS:
|As Imperceptibly as Grief (Emily Dickinson)
As imperceptibly as grief
A quietness distilled,
The dusk drew earlier in,
And thus, without a wing,
|St. Ita’s Vision (Saint Ita, trans. Chester Kallman)
“I will take nothing from my Lord,” said she,
“Infant Jesus, at my breast,
Infant Jesus at my breast,
|The Crucifixion (8th – 13th c. Irish, trans. Howard Mumford Jones)
At the cry of the first bird
|The Heavenly Banquet (8th -13th Irish, trans. Seán Proinsias Ó Faolái)
I would like to have the men of Heaven in my own house;
|¿De dónde venís, amore? (anonymous text)
¿De dónde venís, amore?
|Where do you come from, love?
Where do you come from, love?
|L’amante spagnuolo (Leopoldo Tarantini)
Corri destrier, deh, celere!
E il volto a lei di giubilo
|The Spanish Lover
Run warhorse, ah, hurry!
And you will make her face
|La Zingara (Carlo Guaita)
Fra l’erbe cosparse di rorido gelo,
Fanciulla, sui greppi le capre emulai,
Io loro predissi le cose note,
Un giorno la mano mi porse un donzello;
In the grasses sprinkled with dewy frost,
As a little girl I emulated the goats on their crags,
I predicted to them things foretold,
One day a young man offered me his hand;
|Frühling (Joseph von Eichendorff)
Über’m Garten durch die Lüfte
Jauchzen möcht’ ich, möchte weinen,
Und der Mond, die Sterne sagen,
Above the garden. through the air
I want to shout, I want to cry
And the moon, the stars say
|Die Nacht (Hermann von Gilm zu Rosenegg)
Aus dem Walde tritt die Nacht,
Alle Lichter dieser Welt,
Alles nimmt sie, was nur hold,
Ausgeplündert steht der Strauch,
Night steps out of the woods,
All the lights of this earth,
It takes everything that is dear,
The shrubs stand plundered,
|Amor (Clemens Brentano)
An dem Feuer saß das Kind
Ach, der Flügel brennt dem Kind!
Und die Hirtin hilft dem Kind,
By the fire sat the child
Ah, the child’s wing is burning!
And the shepherdess helps the child,