CARNEGIE HALL PRESENTS

Performance Wednesday, January 18, 2012 | 5:30 PM

The Song Continues... Duo Recital

Weill Recital Hall
The Song Continues … workshop brings young singers together from around the world each January. On this recital, a dazzling soprano from Canada, Mireille Asselin, and a dashing baritone from Washington State, José Rubio, come together on the Weill Recital Hall stage.
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The Program

WOLFGANG AMADEUS MOZART
“Das Veilchen,” K. 476

In flower symbolism, violets were emblematic of faithfulness and modesty. We might expect the blossom in “Das Veilchen”—Mozart’s only song to a text by Goethe—to be symbolic of a maiden; instead, the violet pines for an unheeding young shepherdess who tramples it underfoot. Mozart tracks every nuance of the violet’s innocence, yearning, and tragic fate.


—Susan Youens

© 2012 The Carnegie Hall Corporation

FRANZ SCHUBERT
“Viola,” D. 786

The handsome, half-Swedish dilettante Franz von Schober was perhaps Schubert’s closest friend, and his flower ballad about trampled innocence and wasted potential horrifyingly corresponds to Schubert’s situation in 1823. Newly ill with syphilis, Schubert understood the delineation of seduction and shame dressed in horticultural garb in Schober’s long poem. This rich, lengthy song is among the many big projects that Schubert composed this year.


—Susan Youens

© 2012 The Carnegie Hall Corporation

CLAUDE DEBUSSY
“Apparition”

Claude Debussy’s “Apparition” was written for Marie-Blanche Vasnier—the young wife of a Parisian architect and an amateur coloratura soprano—with whom he was infatuated in the mid-1880s. The poem by Stéphane Mallarmé had just been published the previous year in 1883; Debussy, who was among the most literary of French musicians, produced an embroidered effusion of melody to match Mallarmé’s bouquets of stars and the “fairy with her bright cap.”


—Susan Youens

© 2012 The Carnegie Hall Corporation

JOSEPH SCHWANTNER
“Black Anemones”

Much of the work by Pulitzer Prize–winning composer Joseph Schwantner has drawn influence from the Latin-American surrealist tradition in poetry, including “Black Anemones.” This song is set to text by the Columbian-American poet Agueda Pizarro. Pizarro’s father was a friend of Federico García Lorca—her way of jumping from image to image is reminiscent of Lorca’s style. Schwantner’s love of coloristic sonorities, gypsy-like phrases, ecstatic melismas (many notes sung on one syllable of text) are on display in this extended song.


—Susan Youens

© 2012 The Carnegie Hall Corporation

FRANZ SCHUBERT
“Prometheus,” D. 674; “Der Zwerg,” D. 771

In Greek mythology, the Titan Prometheus stole fire from Zeus to give to mortals and was punished by being bound to a rock in the Caucasus, where each day an eagle plucked out his liver. What drew Goethe to the myth centuries later in 1773 was the hero’s championship of humanity against the gods. Schubert’s setting of “Prometheus”—whose formal novelties and harmonic boldness match the great German writer’s audacity—dates from 1819, when the composer was also challenging patriarchal authorities.

Dwarves appear in literature as symbols of alienation, and they have long been associated with perverse passion. In the horror ballade “Der Zwerg,” a young, beautiful queen has a dwarf for a lover; the two are obsessed with each other. However, when she forsakes him for the king, the dwarf punishes her for her treachery by taking her out to sea and killing her by mysterious means; her body sinks in the waters. For Schubert, this poem evoked his complicated love-hate feelings for Beethoven: We hear warped versions of the “fate” motif from Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.


—Susan Youens

© 2012 The Carnegie Hall Corporation

CHARLES IVES
“Charlie Rutlage”; “Songs My Mother Taught Me”; “The Circus Band”

Charles Ives was an American original, the inventor of a unique musical language. His immortal statement that “all the wrong notes are right” sums up the resistance he encountered during his lifetime.

Premiered in 1932 by baritone Hubert Linscott with Aaron Copland at the Yaddo artist colony in Saratoga Springs, “Charlie Rutlage” concludes the group of seven Ives songs. In the middle of this unique cowboy song, the narration details the death of Charlie when his horse falls on him: The rhythmic recitation culminates with fistfuls of cluster chords in the piano.

For “Songs My Mother Taught Me,” Ives discovered a text used by Antonín Dvorák in his Gypsy Melodies, op. 55; this nostalgic poem was translated into English by Natalia Macfarren. Ives makes a distinction between memories of the past—which frame the sections of the song—and the present moment in which the singer teaches her own children those same songs.

Ives vividly evokes the sounds of the circus with thumping drums and quickstep rhythms in “The Circus Band.” Amidst the bustle and booming noise is the nostalgia of small boys’ fascination with the beautiful “lady in pink.”


—Susan Youens

© 2012 The Carnegie Hall Corporation

The Song Continues… is supported by The Herman Lissner Foundation.
Professional Training Workshops are made possible, in part, by Mr. and Mrs. Nicola Bulgari and The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation.
This program is part of the Marilyn Horne legacy at Carnegie Hall.

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