Song Prize final

Valentina Nafornita, Olga Kindler, Andrei Bondarenko, Leah Crocetto, Maire Flavin (Photo: Brian Tarr)

Last updated: 18 June 2011

The Song Prize final took place on Friday 17 June in St David's Hall, Cardiff.

Taking part were Leah Crocetto from USA, Máire Flavin from Ireland, Andrei Bondarenko from Ukraine, Valentina Naforniţă from Moldova and Olga Kindler from Switzerland.

The winner was Andrei Bondarenko from Ukraine.

View a photo gallery from the Song Prize final.

Leah Crocetto - USA

Accompanist: Llŷr Williams

Pace non trovo (Tre sonetti di Petrarca S270 No 1) - Liszt

The poet is in turmoil. He can find no peace, but is not inclined to war. He is both up in heaven and down on earth; he holds nothing but embraces the whole world. He is in love's prison cell, which he can neither lock nor unlock; love will neither slay him nor release him. Weeping and laughing in turn, he is repelled by both life and death, and the cause of all this torment is his lady love. The text is Petrarch's sonnet CXXXIV.

Chanson d'avril - Bizet

In 'April Song', the poet is urging his beloved to get out of bed on a fine morning as spring has arrived. He waxes lyrical about the morning mists, the lilac, the butterflies and bees, the daisies and the birdsong. It's time to shed the heavy winter clothes, run barefoot in the dewy grass and whisper sweet nothings under the blossoming pear trees. The poem is by Louis Bouilhet.

Die Nacht (Op 10 No 3) - R Strauss

Night comes from the forest and steals all the colour and lights from the world, taking everything we hold dear. It steals the silver of the stream and the gold from the cathedral's copper roof. The singer tells his beloved to draw closer, afraid that night will also steal her from him. The text is by Hermann von Gilm.

Cäcilie (Op 27 No 2) - R Strauss

If you knew what it is like to dream of burning kisses ... if you knew what it is like to live enveloped in the breath of God ... you would live with me!' says the poet to his beloved in this passionate song of courtship and yearning. Strauss composed the song the day before his wedding to the singer Pauline von Ahna. The text is by Heinrich Hart and dedicated to his wife, Cäcilie.

The man I love - Gershwin

Every night, the girl dreams about her ideal man. She acknowledges that dreams don't often come true, but she just knows that this one will and she and the man she loves (once she finds him) will live happily ever after. Written in 1927 by George Gershwin, with lyrics by his brother Ira, this song was originally in their Broadway hit show Lady be Good! as The Girl I Love. It has been widely recorded and was first made a hit by Helen Morgan.

Máire Flavin - Ireland

Accompanist: Simon Lepper

Widmung (Op 25 No 1) - Schumann

In 'Dedication', the poet tells the beloved that she is everything to him - his soul, heart, bliss, pain, the world in which he lives, heaven, the grave, repose and peace. Her love makes him worthy of her and raises him above himself. The text is by Friedrich Rückert.

Lorelei - Clara Schumann

Many composers have set the famous poem by Heine, which tells the story of the fabled Lorelei, a siren connected with the rock on the Rhine whose currents have caused many boat accidents. In the poem, a fair maiden sits on the mountain top, singing as she combs her golden hair. The boatman is transfixed by her, not seeing the treacherous rocks which could send him to his death.

Chanson triste - Duparc

In this sad song, summer moonlight radiates from the heart of the beloved, making the poet long to drown in its light. All sorrows will be forgotten and maybe healed in the arms of the beloved and through their sad eyes. The poem is by Henri Cazalis, writing as Jean Lahor.

L'invitation au voyage - Duparc

The poet invites his lover to journey with him to a beautiful land of luxury, calm and pleasure, where the suns in the misty skies have a charm as mysterious as the beloved's treacherous eyes, and where boats bring goods to satisfy her every wish. The poem is from Baudelaire's Les fleurs du mal.

La souris d'Angleterre - Manuel Rosenthal

This poem, by Michel Veber writing as 'Nino' tells of an English mouse who set sail from England on a boat, arriving in Calais and heading for the Hotel d'Angleterre. There, she settled down under the eaves to a diet of malt whisky, bacon-rind, dry gin and treacle, dancing and partying through the night so no-one could sleep. The burghers of Calais tried all kinds of French and Swiss and Dutch cheese in the mousetrap, to no avail - until they tried English cheese.

The Lake Isle of Innisfree - Philip Martin

This is one of WB Yeats' early poems, written in 1888 when he was in London and missing Ireland. Innisfree is an uninhabited island in County Sligo, and the poet imagines living there alone in a rural idyll, building a clay and wattle hut, living on the beans he would grow and honey from beehives. In this utopia, it is eternal summer, with the lake water gently lapping on the shore.

Andrei Bondarenko - Ukraine

Accompanist: Llŷr Williams

In der Fremde (Op 39 No 1) - Schumann

Schumann wrote his Opus 39 Liederkreis cycle, settings of poetry by Joseph von Eichendorff, in 1840, his 'year of song' when his marriage to Clara Wieck seemed to inspire him. 'In a Foreign Land' describes the poet's homeland, but his parents are dead and no one there remembers him. He longs for death and oblivion.

Intermezzo (Op 39 No 2) - Schumann

'Intermezzo' is the second song in the Liederkreis cycle and gives its name to the group of Eichendorff's poems set by Schumann. The poet keeps the image of his beloved in his heart, and his heart sings a beautiful song that soars towards her through the skies.

Waldesgespräch (Op 39 No 3) -Schumann

In 'Forest encounter' the singer meets a fair maid travelling alone in the wood and offers to accompany her home. Too late, he realises that he is riding with the Lorelei, a sorceress who lives in a castle on a rock above the Rhine and leads men to their doom. He will never again leave the forest.

Die Stille (Op 39 No 4) - Schumann

No-one knows how happy the poet is. Nothing is so silent as the poet's secret love - not the snow, nor the stars. If only he could fly like a bird across the sea and beyond, to heaven.

Autumn (Russia cast adrift No 1) - Georgy Sviridov

There is juniper in the hedgerows and the wind blows. The roan mare can be heard galloping on the riverbank. A monk clears the leaves and kisses Christ's red wounds, the rowan berries.

Russia cast adrift (Russia cast adrift No 5) - Georgy Sviridov

A poem about flight - geese and swans fly towards the clouds and transfigured souls fly to the garden of heaven. Is it not you, Russia cast adrift, weeping in the sky? Fly, he says, do not struggle, for everything has its time.

Simon, Peter ... Where are you? (Russia cast adrift No 6) - Georgy Sviridov

Based on the words of Simon Peter (John 13:36) as he asked Jesus where he was going, and Jesus replied that he could not follow now but would be able to later. Someone is calling and calling Simon Peter from the darkness. A red-haired fisherman appears, with a bundle, saying he was following him. Who is this man? The waves murmur, "Judas".

O my homeland, o happy and eternal hour (Russia cast adrift No 12) - Georgy Sviridov

A hymn of praise to the poet's homeland. There is nothing more beautiful than the mother country and the poet blesses her, saying nothing will disturb God as he watches over her. "Like a sheaf of oats, I bring the sun in my arms to your mists and sheep in pastures."

Valentina Naforniţă - Moldova

Accompanist: Simon Lepper

Ne poy, krasavitsa, pri mne (Op 4 No 4) - Rakhmaninov

The poet does not want to be reminded of the sad songs of Georgia. He recalls the Steppes, and a girl, far away. The poem is by Pushkin.

Le temps des lilas

The lilacs and roses have now finished, the wind has changed direction and the skies are dark. The spring, which bathed their love in sunlight, is now gone. Their love, too, is dead and will never return. The poem is by Maurice Bouchor.

Widmung (Op 25 No 1) - Schumann

In 'Dedication', the poet tells the beloved that she is everything to him - his soul, heart, bliss, pain, the world in which he lives, heaven, the grave, repose and peace. Her love makes him worthy of her and raises him above himself. The text is by Friedrich Rückert.

Les filles de Cadix - Delibes

Three girls from Cadiz have been to the bullfight and dance a bolero with their castanets. A wealthy man approaches them and offers one of them riches, but they are not interested in gold and send him on his way. Then they see Diego, who has nothing but his coat and his mandolin. He asks one of them if she would marry a jealous lover, but they also send him on his way - they don't want jealousy. The text is by Alfred de Musset.

Olga Kindler - Switzerland

Accompanist: Llŷr Williams

Muzyka (Op 34 No 8) - Rakhmaninov

The poet is captivated by the wonderful wave of music which has risen and lifted him up. It is full of unknown pain and bliss at the same time. It has caused a divine image of beauty to appear beyond the crystal-clear waves, which has smiled, or perhaps shed a tear. The poem is by Yakov Petrovich Polonsky.

Stehe still! (Wesendonck Lieder) - Wagner

'Stand still!' says the poet, addressing time as it powers its way through eternity. Stop for just a moment, so I can measure my happiness. When a soul finds its soulmate, each fulfils the other's hopes and dreams. Neither will wish for anything more as together they have solved the riddle of eternity. The text is by Mathilde Wesendonck, Wagner's muse and probably his mistress.

C (Deux poèmes de Louis Aragon No 1) - Poulenc

The letter C, pronounced 'Cé', is an abbreviation for a place where bridges cross the river Loire. The poet crosses these bridges, daydreaming about the ancient chivalric stories about a rose, an unlaced bodice, a mad duke's castle, the meadow where the 'eternal betrothed' danced. Suddenly he comes back to reality, with the overturned cars, the guns and the undried tears of the French Resistance. The Surrealist writer Louis Aragon wrote the poem in 1942.

Fleur jetée - Fauré

The 'discarded flower' the poet picked has been blown away by the wind. Love is like a cut flower - once so fresh, it quickly withers, dies and is swept away. The poem is by Armand Silvestre.

Im Abendrot (Vier letzte Lieder No 4) - R Strauss

'At sunset', the poet muses that he and his beloved have gone through joy and sorrow together and now it is time to rest. Like two skylarks, they soar upwards into the darkening air. He bids her to stay close, so they do not get lost in the dark. The deep tranquillity of the evening makes them weary - could this be death? At the moment the word 'tod' (death) is uttered, Strauss quotes a passage from his symphonic tone poem, Death and Transfiguration. The poem is by Eichendorff.

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