Project Description

Chamber Music and Art Song come together for an evening of strings, piano, and voice. Take your pick of two program offerings: an all-Beethoven concert that culminates with the composer’s sublime arrangements of folk songs for trio and voice, or a Russian program featuring songs of Rachmaninov, Glinka and Borodin as well as Tchaikovsky’s epic Piano Trio in A minor.

Programs

BEETHOVEN PROGRAM

TRADITIONAL (arr. LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN): Folksong arrangements for voice & piano trio
The pulse of an Irishman
Sunset
Could this ill world have been contriv’d
Put round the bright wine
Farewell, farewell, thou noisy town
Morning a cruel turmoiler is

BEETHOVEN: Piano Trio C minor, Op. 1, No. 3

~INTERMISSION~

BEETHOVEN: An die ferne Geliebte, Op. 98

BEETHOVEN: Piano Trio in D Major, Op. 70, No. 1, “Ghost”

FOLSKONG ENCORE: Let brain spinning swains

 

RUSSIAN PROGRAM

GLINKA/BORODIN SONGS FOR PIANO/VOICE & PIANO/VOICE/CELLO
MIKHAIL IVANOVICH GLINKA: В крови горит огонь желанья (“The fire of desire is burning in my blood”)
ALEXANDER BORODIN: Разлюбила красна девица (“A beautiful maiden fell out of love”)
GLINKA (arr. Norbert Salter): Сомнение (“Doubt”)
BORODIN: Красавица рыбачка (“Thou beautiful fisher maiden”)

“LITTLE” RACHMANINOFF TRIO
SERGEI RACHMANINOFF: Trio élégiaque No. 1

RACHMANINOFF SONGS FOR PIANO/VOICE
RACHMANINOFF: Сон, Op. 8, no. 5 (“A dream”)
RACHMANINOFF: В молчаньи ночи тайной, Op. 4, no. 3 (“In the silence of the secret night”)
RACHMANINOFF: Островок, Op. 14, no. 2 (“The isle”)
RACHMANINOFF: Отрывок из А. Мюссе, Op. 21, no. 6 (“Fragment from Musset”)

~INTERMISSION~

“BIG” TCHAIKOVSKY TRIO
PYOTR ILYICH TCHAIKOVSKY: Piano Trio in A minor, Op. 50


RUSSIAN PROGRAM – SONG INFO

В крови горит огонь желанья (“The fire of desire is burning in my blood”)
Разлюбила красна девица (“A beautiful maiden fell out of love”)
Сомнение (“Doubt”)
Красавица рыбачка (“Thou beautiful fisher maiden”)

Glinka (1804-1857) was the first Russian composer to gain broad recognition within his own country. His compositions, full of Russian nationalism, influenced many subsequent Russian composers including The Five, a group of young composers whose aim it was to compose in a specifically Russian style. Borodin (1833-1887) was a famous chemist and champion of women’s educational rights, and the last composer to join The Five. Although his musical output was limited, he is nevertheless well-known for his opera, Prince Igor, and his music is noted for its lyricism, rich harmonies, and decidedly Russian flavor.

This set begins with Glinka’s “The fire of desire is burning in my blood,” a popular Pushkin poem set by many composers. Glinka chooses a lively, dancing tune for his strophic setting of this poem about desire and love. This song is for voice and piano. It is followed by Borodin’s “A beautiful maiden fell out of love,” written for voice, piano and cello, in which a young lover bemoans the loss of love. Glinka’s excellent “Doubt,” in an arrangement for voice, piano and cello by Norbert Salter, a 19th century cellist, is next. “Doubt” tells the tale of a lover’s jealousy and murderous revenge with melancholic harmonies and angular melodies. The set ends with a setting of German poet Heinrich Heine’s “Thou beautiful fisher maiden” for voice, piano and cello. Borodin’s concise and lively setting ends with an animated melodic coda for the piano and cello.

Сон, Op. 8, no. 5 (“A dream”)
В молчаньи ночи тайной, Op. 4, no. 3 (“In the silence of the secret night”)
Островок, Op. 14, no. 2 (“The isle”)
Отрывок из А. Мюссе, Op. 21, no. 6 (“Fragment from Musset”)

Rachmaninoff (1873-1943) is remembered as one of the most adept pianists of all time, and as a composer, as one of the last great representations of Russian Romanticism in classical music. Rachmaninoff wrote many songs to texts by Goethe, Tolstoy, Pushkin, Fet, Hugo, Chekhov, and others.

This set of four songs is a small but representative sampling of Rachmaninoff’s output. It starts with “A dream,” Rachmaninoff’s setting of a Heinrich Heine adaptation. It is a simple but beautiful song that is widely considered one of the composer’s best. The next, “In the silence of the secret night,” Rachmaninoff wrote when he was in his teens. The young man in the poem recalls a past lover and all the conflicting happiness and sadness she brought him, which Rachmaninoff represents with falling 6th in the piano and voice, and a major key. It ends with a declaration that despite the heartache, her name is “sacred,” which Rachmaninoff renders with a lifting coda in the piano. The third song, “The isle,” is Rachmaninoff’s economical treatment of a tender, laconic Shelley text about the dreamlike tranquility of a small island. It is another of the composer’s truly beautiful songs. The last song, “Fragment from Musset,” offers a sort of impassioned soliloquy staged in the “cell” that is the speaker’s loneliness and despair. Rachmaninoff’s setting is highly dramatic, with the piano playing a large role in the pacing of the performance all the way to the passionate coda at the end.