Song Prize recital three: 2pm, Monday 8 June 2009

The view from the stage. Photo © Brian Tarr

Last updated: 11 June 2009

The schedule of performances in the third Song Prize recital.

View a photo gallery from recital three.

Dora Rodrigues - Portugal

Accompanist: Llŷr Williams

Le charme (Op 2 No 2) - Chausson

The poem, by Armand Silvestre, describes falling in love. First it was the beloved's smile which surprised him, sending an unexpected shudder through his whole being. Then, he felt his soul melt as the beloved's glance fell on him. But he was finally conquered by love when he saw the beloved's first tear.

Les papillons (Op 2 No 3) - Chausson

Butterflies, white as snow, swarm across the sea. The poet tells his beloved that, if he was one of the butterflies, he would fly across valleys and forests just to alight on her lips. After that he would be happy to die. The poem is by Théophile Gautier.

Sérénade italienne (Op 2 No 5) - Chausson

The poet proposes a trip on the ocean in a fishing boat. Under the stars, on the calm, dark water, they can exchange the secrets of their souls. The fishermen will not understand. Only the night, sky and waves will learn their secrets. This is a setting of a poem by Paul Bourget.

Le colibri (Op 2 No 7) - Chausson

In this poem, by Leconte de Lisle, the hummingbird is seen darting around in the sunlight, in and out of its nest and amongst the bamboo. He is drawn to the bright hibiscus, and drinks deep from its perfumed flower, gorging himself to death. The poet would also like to die in his beloved's perfumed kiss.

Allerseelen (Op 10 No 8) - Richard Strauss

The title means All Souls' Day - the one day of the year when the poet allows himself to think of his late beloved. He talks of the autumn flowers, which he lays on her grave, and how they remind him of when they were last together. The text is by Hermann von Gilm.

Cäcilie (Op 27 No 2) - Richard 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.

Marc Canturri - Andorra

Accompanist: Simon Lepper

Chanson romanesque (Don Quichotte à Dulcinée) - Ravel

This set of three songs was the last work Ravel completed, in 1933, to texts by Paul Morand. It was originally commissioned for a film, but Ravel took so long to complete the work that Jacques Ibert was asked to take over. In this love song, with its guitar-like accompaniment, Don Quixote serenades Dulcinea.

Chanson épique (Don Quichotte à Dulcinée) - Ravel

The second song of the cycle is Don Quixote's prayer for blessings and protection from the saints and from the Virgin Mary. The accompaniment is in the style of church organ music.

Chanson à boire (Don Quichotte à Dulcinée) - Ravel

The third and final song is a merry jota, in which Don Quixote toasts the joys and pleasures of drinking. What's the use of a woman, he says, if she frowns on your drinking. Good wine makes you laugh like a boy.

Le corbeau et le renard (Fables de La Fontaine) - Offenbach

This tells the story of the raven and the fox, and the tactic of flattery used by the fox to persuade the raven to drop the cheese he is carrying. When the raven opens his mouth to display his wonderful voice, the fox runs off with the cheese. The moral of the story - never trust a flatterer.

Festeig - Toldrà

The poet is remembering the first kiss with his sweetheart, thinking of her soft cheek, recalling the still moonlit night and the sea behind them. His lips asked a question but he cannot remember it - he received no answer anyway. But he will never forget the kiss. This Catalan poem is by Joan Maragall, and the title means 'Courtship'.

Canción del grumete - Rodrigo

The song of the cabin boy tells of a girl who looks out of a window. She is high in a lighthouse, watching across the sea. The sailors call to her, but she is looking for the ship which carries her beloved.

El paño moruno (7 canciones populares españolas No 1) - De Falla

In 'The Moorish Cloth', the first of De Falla's set of Spanish folk songs, the text tells of a fine piece of cloth in the store. But it bears a stain, and so its value is reduced.

Seguidilla murciana (7 canciones populares españolas No 2) - De Falla

The text starts by suggesting that people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. In the second verse, the poet berates the listener for inconstancy. Like a coin which has been passed too often from hand to hand, eventually it becomes blurred and no-one accepts it, believing it to be false. The title denotes that this uses a folk song and dance form typical of the Murcia region of Spain.

Katharine Tier - Australia

Accompanist: Phillip Thomas

Rastlose Liebe (Op 5 No 1) - Schubert

In this song, as passionate as its title, which means 'Restless Love', the traveller battles against snow, rain, wind and fog, never resting, preferring to struggle with sorrow rather than to love - as love only creates joy without rest. Schubert set Goethe's poem to music when he was aged 18.

Les berceaux (Op 23 No 1) - Fauré

This song is based on a poem, Le long du quai, by Sully-Prudhomme, in which ships at sea are compared to cradles. The men are drawn to the sea and its far horizons, while the women stay behind, weeping and rocking the cradles of their children. The song has a rocking, lullaby-type accompaniment throughout.

Nocturne (Op 13 No 4) - Barber

The poet bids the beloved to rest and sleep, leaving lies and hopelessness behind. Midnight will heal, there will be nothing but blind, eternal night. The text is by Frederic Prokosch.

Banquo's buried - Bauld

The Australian composer, Alison Bauld, took her text for this dramatic song from Shakespeare's sleepwalking scene from Macbeth. In it, Lady Macbeth tries to wash imagined blood off her hands, the blood of those whose murders she has arranged or suggested - including that of Banquo.

Natalya Romaniw - Wales

Accompanist: Simon Lepper

Sweeter than roses (Pausanias) - Purcell

This comes from incidental music written by Purcell for Richard Norton's drama, Pausanias. Pandora is an ambitious woman, and she has an assignation with Argilius, whom she intends to blackmail. While she waits for him, an attendant sings this song of seduction, intended to put Pandora in the mood for love.

Abendregen (Op 70 No 4) - Brahms

The traveller walks gloomily through the rain, as the evening sun shines through. As he feels the raindrops and sees the sun, he realises that there will be a glorious rainbow. Although he cannot see it himself, he knows that it will be seen from afar. The poem is by Gottfried Keller.

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 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 all send him on his way. The text is by Alfred de Musset.

Uzh ty, niva moja! (Op 4 No 5) - Rakhmaninov

In this song, 'Harvest of Sorrow', the poet reflects that the harvest cannot be cut with one sweep, nor bound into one sheaf. Likewise, thoughts cannot always be shrugged off easily, nor put into words. Like the wind sweeping across the meadow, bending the stalks and scattering seeds, so his thoughts are scattered. Wherever they fall, a bitter weed is sown and grows into sorrow. The poem is by Tolstoy.

Oliver Cromwell - Britten

In this setting of a Suffolk nursery rhyme, Oliver Cromwell lies buried under an apple tree. An old woman comes to pick the apples and Oliver Cromwell gives her a shock - and makes her dance.

Jan Martiník - Czech Republic

Accompanist: Alexandr Starý

Auf dem Flusse (Winterreise No 7) - Schubert

Schubert's song cycle Winterreise (Winter Journey) is set to poems by Wilhelm Müller, on a theme of lost love. Here, the first of three from the cycle, the stream, normally bubbling and babbling, lies silent under the winter ice. The poet carves his beloved's name and the date of their meeting in the ice and asks if his heart is like the river, running wild beneath the frozen surface.

Der stürmische Morgen (Winterreise No 18) - Schubert

On a stormy morning, the poet enjoys the havoc the weather has wrought with the grey skies. It is also winter in his heart, cold and savage.

Der Wegweiser (Winterreise No 20) - Schubert

The traveller wonders why he is driven to stray away from the roads, to seek new paths to a resting place. There is one signpost that he always sees - the one to a place from which there is no return.

Sred' shumnogo bala (Op 38 No 3) - Tchaikovsky

The poet caught sight of someone at a crowded ball and has been intrigued and obsessed ever since by that enigmatic presence, sometimes sad, sometimes happy. At night, he can hear her laugh and see her eyes, and he thinks that he must love her. The poem is by Tolstoy.

Don Juan's Serenade (Op 38 No 1) - Tchaikovsky

Don Juan, with his guitar, serenades Nisetta by the light of the moon. He praises her beauty and begs her to come out onto her balcony. He would give up his life for her and would challenge any rival suitor to a duel. The text is again by Tolstoy.

The Song of the Flea - Mussorgsky

The Song of the Flea is sung in Auerbach's Cellar by Mephistopheles in Goethe's Faust. A king has a flea which he loves as a son. He orders special clothing and appoints him to his circle of advisers. Life becomes a misery for the lords and ladies of the court, but they dare not scratch themselves.


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