Heather Knox, an amazing local soprano opera talent, will give a special performance for us.
Information about the first song, Green, by Claude Debussy that Heather Knox will be singing can be found below:
“Claude Debussy (1862-1918) is well known for his french art song, especially for his pioneering work in the impressionistic style. He was influenced by the art world around him, including that of painting and poetry. In 1885, Debussy set the poetry of Paul Verlaine (1844-1896) to music while under a scholarship at the Villa Medici in Rome after winning the prestigious Prix de Rome competition. The poem Ariettes oubliees, or Forgotten Songs. supplied the text for six songs, four of which I will be performing. This song, “Aquarelles I: Green” translates to “Watercolor 1: Green.” Verlaine titled this poem as such because he loved the way the word sounded. The singer in the piece compares their love to the glory of nature in bloom, and in the depths of winter, as we are, this song is a wonderful reminder of the verdant beauty we will soon see.
Here are fruits, flowers, leaves and branches. And here too is my heart that beats only for you. Do not rend it with your two white hands, and may your lovely eyes look kindly on this humble gift. I come here still covered in dew that the morning wind has chilled on my brow. Grant that my fatigue, resting at your feet, may dream of the precious moments that will refresh it. On your young bosom may I cradle my head, still ringing with your last kisses; Let it calm down there after the marvelous storm, And let me sleep a little, now that you are resting.”
Information about the second song, Spleen, by Claude Debussy that Heather Kox will be singing can be found below:
“At the time that the Ariettes Oubliees
were composed, Debussy was working to create an identity for himself that was distinguishable from his traditionalist contemporaries, like Charles Gounod. Debussy set Verlaine‘s poetry 19 times through his career, and the texts are rich in long, lazy vowels and seductively repetitive consonants.
His poetry lends itself well to a musical setting both in meter and in word choice, and Debussy’s setting of these songs are imaginative and colorful. This song, “Spleen” and the song performed last week, are aptly named Aquarelles or “Watercolors,” setting up the listener for their light, wispy characters. Each of the Aquarelles is also titled with an English word, “Green” and “Spleen” because Verlaine simply liked the sound of the words. “Spleen” is a song of despair — the sky is too blue, the sea too green, all because the loved one has done something “atrocious.” The vocal line becomes intentionally monotonous, and the music fades away, listlessly.
The roses were all red, And the ivy all black. Dearest, you need only make the slightest move, For all my despair to be reborn. The sky was too blue, too tender, The sea too green and the air too mild; I still fear—how terrible is this waiting!— That you may cruelly abandon me! Of the glossy leaved holly, And of the gleaming box tree I am weary, And of the infinite countryside, And of everything, save of you. Alas!”