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Doctoral Recital

Aaron Short, tenor

Student of Pamela Hinchman

Assisted by Leo Radosavljevic, piano

 

Thursday, May 30th, 2024 at 8:30 PM

 

Regenstein Master Class Room

Bienen School of Music

Northwestern University

Please click here for the Live Stream link!

 

Selections from Six Romances, op. 4 - Sergei Rachmaninoff (1873-1943)

No. 4 “Ne poy, krasavitsa, pri mne” 

No. 5 “Uzh ti, niva moya”

No. 6 “Davno l’, moy drug”

 

Sergei Rachmaninoff was one of the most celebrated composers and pianists of his era. Most famous for his piano compositions, he also wrote seven sets of songs, all published between 1890 and 1916. His style and approach to song was not unlike Robert Schumann: both were highly expressive pianists and treated the piano in their songs as equally important to the vocal melody. Rachmaninoff’s accompaniments are full of vibrant colors and textures and feature many expressive introductions, interludes, and postludes. These three love songs are from one of his first song sets, published in 1893. Each song uses elements of popular Russian folk melodies. Of particular note is No. 4, one of Rachmaninoff’s great masterpieces. He presents a beautiful, melancholic descending theme in the piano and declamatory phrases in the vocal line, all of which blend into a haunting melody that perfectly captures the feeling of longing in the text. 

 

Translations:

 

No. 4 “Ne poy, krasavitsa, pri mne” (Sing not to me, beautiful maiden)

Poem by Alexander Pushkin (1799-1837)

 

Do not sing to me, oh beauty,

The songs of melancholy Georgia:

They remind me

Of another life and a distant shore.

 

Alas! Your cruel melodies

Remind me of the steppe,

and the night and in the moonlight

The features of the distant, misfortunate maiden.


That sweet and fateful apparition

Seeing you, I forget;

But you sing, and in my mind

I see that image anew. 

 

No. 5 “Uzh ti, niva moya” (Oh Thou, my Field)

Poem by Aleksei Tolstoy (1817-1875)

 

Oh, you field, my field!

One cannot harvest you in one fell swoop,

One cannot gather you in one sheaf.

Oh, you thoughts, my thoughts!

One cannot shake you off easily,

One cannot express you all in one sentence.

Over you, my field the wind flew,

It bent the ears of wheat down to the ground

It scattered your ripe grain all around.

Far and wide you, my thoughts, have scattered,

Wherever a thought fell,

There grew the evil grass of sadness,

Sprang up the sorrow inconsolable!

 

No. 6 “Davno l’, moy drug” (How Long, my Friend)

Poem by Arseny Golenishchev-Kutuzov (1848-1913)

 

How long, my friend,

Since I searched for your melancholy gaze

In the dark moment of our separation?

Its last ray pierced my soul forever.

How long, since while wandering alone,

Surrounded by a bustling unfamiliar crowd

I flew to you, my distant beloved

On the wings of a melancholy dream?

My desires were fading…

My heart was aching...

The time stood still…

My mind was silent…

How long since I was at peace?

But our reunion came like a storm…

We are together again and the days are fleeting by,

Like an array of the flowing waves of the sea.

My mind is excited and the songs are pouring out

From the heart that is full of you.

 

Russian translations by Anton Belov

 

Selection from Six Romances, op. 6 - Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893)

No. 2 “Ni slova, o drug moj” 

 

Like Rachmaninoff, Pyotr Tchaikovsky wrote his own Six Romances early in his career. Beginning in November 1869, Tchaikovsky wrote these love songs during a stressful period while he was working as a Professor of Music Theory at the recently opened Moscow Conservatory. Hoping to supplement his income from teaching and working as a music critic, he started writing songs to pass the time after he was informed of a delay in staging of his second opera, Undina. Each song in the set has it’s own dedication, with No. 2 being dedicated to his close friend and colleague from the conservatory, Nikolay Kashkin. 

 

Translation:

 

Not a Word, O My Friend

Poem by Aleksey Pleshcheyev (1825-1893)

 

Not a word, oh my friend, not a sigh…

We shall be silent together…

Just as the sad willows bend

Over the gravestone…

 

And as they bend low, they read,

Just as I read in your tired gaze,

That you once knew days of radiant happiness…

And that that happiness exists no longer!

 

Translation by Philip Ross Bullock


 

PAUSE


 

Oh Fair to See, op. 13b - Gerald Finzi (1901-1956)

I. I say, “I’ll seek her”

II. Oh fair to see

III. As I lay in the early sun

IV. Only the wanderer

V. To Joy

VI. Harvest

VII. Since we loved

 

Although not as well known as his more famous counterparts Britten and Vaughn Williams, Gerald Finzi is still considered one of the most popular British composers of the 20th century. His music displays a wide range of moods, and the elegance of his compositions demonstrates the depth of his compositional and emotional sensitivity to the text. He wrote mostly for solo voice and choirs, with occasional forays into large-scale works. Most of his over 70 songs were collected into song cycles after he died in 1956; Oh Fair to See is one example. The cycle features the works of many different poets, with two of the texts being from two of his contemporaries whom he particularly wanted to champion: Edmund Blunden and the composer Ivor Gurney. Since the songs were arranged in a cycle years later and were written throughout his life, they demonstrate Finzi’s compositional development throughout his career, concluding what is considered his last song: “Since we loved,” composed as a love letter to his wife the year of his death.

 

I say, “I’ll seek her”

Poem by Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)

 

I say, "I'll seek her side

Ere hindrance interposes;"

But eve in midnight closes

And here I still abide.

 

When darkness wears I see

Her sad eyes in a vision:

They ask, "What indecision

Detains you, Love, from me? -

 

"The creaking hinge is oiled,

I have unbarred the backway,

But you tread not the trackway

And shall the thing be spoiled?

 

"Far cockcrows echo shrill,

The shadows are abating,

And I am waiting, waiting;

But O, you tarry still.”

 

Oh fair to see

Poem by Christina Rossetti (1830-1894)

 

Oh, fair to see

Blossom-laden cherry tree,

  Arrayed in sunny white;

  An April day's delight,

Oh, fair to see!

 

Oh, fair to see

Fruit-laden cherry tree,

  With balls of shining red

  Decking a leafy head,

Oh, fair to see!

 

As I lay in the early sun

Poem by Edward Shanks (1892-1953)

 

As I lay in the early sun,

Stretched in the grass, I thought upon

My true love, my dear love,

Who has my heart forever

Who is my happiness when we meet,

My sorrow when we sever.

She is all fire when I do burn,

Gentle when I moody turn,

Brave when I am sad and heavy

And all laughter when I am merry.

And so I lay and dreamed and dreamed,

And so the day wheeled on,

While all the birds with thoughts like mine

Were singing to the sun.

 

Only the wanderer

Poem by Ivor Gurney (1890-1937)

 

Only the wanderer

  Knows England's graces,

Or can anew see clear

  Familiar faces.

 

And who loves joy as he

  That dwells in shadows?

Do not forget me quite,

  O Severn meadows.

 

To Joy

Poem by Edmund Blunden (1896-1974)

 

Is not this enough for moan

To see this babe all motherless -

A babe beloved - thrust out alone

Upon death's wilderness?

Out tears fall, fall, fall - I would weep

My blood away to make her warm,

Who never went on earth one step,

Nor heard the breath of the storm.

How shall you go, my little child,

Alone on that most wintry wild?

 

Harvest

Poem by Edmund Blunden (1896-1974)

 

So there's my year, the twelvemonth duly told 

Since last I climbed this brow and gloated round 

Upon the lands heaped with their wheaten gold, 

And now again they spread with wealth imbrowned - 

And thriftless I meanwhile, 

What honeycombs have I to take, what sheaves to pile? 

 

I see some shrivelled fruits upon my tree, 

And gladly would self-kindness feign them sweet; 

The bloom smelled heavenly, can these stragglers be 

The fruit of that bright birth and this wry wheat, 

Can this be from those spires 

Which I, or fancy, saw leap to the spring sun's fires? 

 

I peer, I count, but anxious is not rich, 

My harvest is not come, the weeds run high; 

Even poison-berries, ramping from the ditch 

Have stormed the undefended ridges by; 

What Michaelmas is mine! 

The fields I sought to serve, for sturdier tilage pine. 

 

But hush - Earth's valleys sweet in leisure lie; 

And I among them wandering up and down 

Will taste their berries, like the bird or fly, 

And of their gleanings make both feast and crown. 

The Sun's eye laughing looks. 

And Earth accuses none that goes among her stooks.

 

Since we loved

Poem by Robert Bridges (1844-1930)

 

Since we loved, - (the earth that shook

As we kissed, fresh beauty took) -

Love hath been as poets paint,

Life as heaven is to a saint;

 

All my joys my hope excel,

All my work hath prosper'd well,

All my songs have happy been,

O my love, my life, my queen.


 

Two French Arias

 

“O Souverain, ô Juge, ô Père” - Jules Massenet (1842-1912)

from Le Cid 

 

“Rachel, quand du Seigneur” - Fromental Halévy (1799-1862)

from La Juive 

 

French opera went through significant changes during the 19th century. Starting in the 1820s, French audiences began to crave more spectacle and grandeur from productions at the Paris Opera, which led to the creation of a new genre of opera called grand opera. These four or five act operas were characterized by over-the-top stage designs and special effects, with plots typically based around dramatic historical events. Fromental Halévy’s La Juive (1835) is a textbook example of the genre, depicting a doomed romance between a Christian man and Jewish woman during a period of Catholic oppression against Jews in the 15th century. The aria “Rachel quand du Seigneur” is sung by Eléazar, a Jewish goldsmith, and was a particular calling card aria for famous tenor Richard Tucker, who championed the opera in the mid 20th century. While Massenet’s Le Cid (1885) was premiered well after the decline of French grand opera, it bears many similar traits to the genre,including the subject matter and length. The aria “O Souverain”, sung by Rodrigue in Act 3, is a prayer to God asking for victory in battle.

 

Translations:

 

O Souverain, ô Juge, ô Père (Oh Sovereign, oh Judge, oh Father)

Libretto by Adolphe d'Ennery (1811-1899), Louis Gallet (1835-1898), and Édouard Blau (1836-1906)

 

Ah, it is all over.

My fine dream of glory

And my dreams of happiness

are gone forever!

You took my love,

now you take away my victory

Lord, I yield to You!

 

O Sovereign, o Judge, o Father,

always hidden yet always present,

I worshipped You in time of success,

and bless You in these dark days.

I go where Your law commands,

free of all human regret.

O Sovereign, o Judge, o Father,

Yours alone is the image

I carry in my soul,

which I commit into Your hands.

 

O firmament, azure, light,

spirit from on high bending over me,

it is as a soldier I despair,

but the Christian keeps his faith.

You can come, you can appear,

dawn of the eternal day!

O Sovereign, o Judge, o Father,

the servant of a just master

answers Your call without fear.

O Sovereign, o Judge, o Father


Rachel, quand du Seigneur

Libretto by Eugène Scribe (1791-1861)

 

Rachel, when the Lord's guardian grace

to my trembling hands entrusted your cradle,

I had devoted my entire life to your happiness

and it is I who deliver you to the executioner!

But I hear a voice crying out to me:

save me from the death that awaits me!

I am young and I care about life,

o my father, spare your child!

Ah! 

 

 

Neapolitan Songs

 

Aprile - Paolo Tosti (1846-1916)

L’alba separa dalla luce l’ombra 

Non t’amo piu

 

Mattinata - Ruggero Leoncavallo (1857-1919)

 

Be My Love - Sammy Cahn and Nicholas Brodzsky (1913-1993) & (1905-1958)

from The Toast of New Orleans

 

The term “Neapolitan song” refers to a traditional style of song native to Naples and its surrounding areas.  The song style became extremely popular in the early 20th century due to the emigration of native Italians to other parts of Europe and the United States, most notably the famous tenor Enrico Caruso. These songs typically feature singable tunes and passionate, lyrical lines. The songs of Paolo Tosti have a distinctly Neapolitan influence. Tosti himself encouraged singers to interpret and embellish his songs to their heart’s content. These three songs do a wonderful job of encapsulating Tosti’s beautiful, expressive style of songwriting. Leoncavallo’s “Mattinata” was the first song to be composed expressly for the Gramaphone Company in 1904 and was dedicated to Caruso. During the early 20th century, as recordings rose in popularity, Neapolitan songs remained extremely popular and made the careers of many tenors, including Mario Lanza. One of his most famous pieces is “Be My Love,” which Lanza recorded for the movie The Toast of New Orleans in 1950. With it’s passionate lyrics and singable melody, it bears many of the same hallmarks of memorable Neapolitan songs, despite being in English.

 

Translations:

 

Aprile (April)

Text by Rocco Pagliara (1856-1914)

 

Do you not feel in the air

the scent that spring sends forth?

Do you not feel in your very being

the sound of a promising new voice?

It is April! It is the season of love!

Oh! Come my fair one, to the flowering meadow!

 

Your feet will walk among the violets,

about your breast will be roses and bluebells,

and the white butterflies

will flutter around your dark tresses.

It is April! It is the season of love!

Oh! Come my fair one, to the flowering meadow!

 

L’alba separa dalla luce l’ombra (The dawn divides the darkness from the light)

Text by Gabriele D’Annunzio (1863-1938)

 

The dawn divides the darkness from the light,

And my sensual pleasure from my desire,

O sweet stars, the hour of death is now at hand:

A love more holy sweeps you from the skies.

 

Gleaming eyes, O you who'll ne'er return,

sad stars, snuff out your uncorrupted light!

I must die, I do not want to see the day,

For love of my own dream and of the night.

 

Envelop me, O Night, in your maternal breast,

While the pale earth bathes itself in dew;

But let the dawn rise from my blood

And from my brief dream the eternal sun

 

Non t’amo più (I don’t love you anymore)

Text by Carmelo Errico (1848-1892)

 

Do you still remember the day we met,

Do you still remember the promises you made...?

Love-insane I followed you... We loved each other

And next to you I dreamt,  love-insane.

 

I dreamt of a lustful chain of caresses

And kisses fading into the sky;

But your words weren't truthful ...

Because your heart is as cold as ice.

 

Do you still remember that?

Do you still remember that?

 

Now you aren't my only faith any more,

My immense desire  nor my dream of love:

I don't long for your kisses, and don't think about you anymore:

I dream other dreams:

I don't love you anymore.

 

Through the days dearly passed together,

I strewed flowers across your path: ...

You were the only hope of my heart;

You the only thought of my desire.

 

You forced me to beg you, you turned me pale,

You saw me crying in your presence:

Only in order to fulfill a desire of yours...

I would have offered my body and soul!

 

Do you still remember that?

Do you still remember that?

 

Now you aren't my only faith any more,

My immense desire  nor my dream of love:

I don't long for your kisses, and don't think about you anymore:

I dream other dreams:

I don't love you anymore.

 

Mattinata (Morning)

Text by Ruggero Leoncavallo (1857-1919)

 

The dawn, dressed in white,

has already opened the door to the sun,

and caresses the flowers with its pink fingers.

A mysterious trembling seems to disturb all nature.

And yet you will not get up, and vainly

I stand here sadly singing.

 

Dress yourself also in white,

and open the door to your serenader!

Where you are not, there is no light;

where you are, love is born.

 

Where you are not, there is no light;

where you are, love is born.

 

Be My Love

Lyrics by Sammy Cahn (1913-1993)

 

Be my love, for no one else can end this yearning

This need that you and you alone create

Just fill my arms the way you've filled my dreams

The dreams that you inspire with every sweet desire

 

Be my love and with your kisses set me burning

One kiss is all I need to seal my fate

And hand-in-hand, we'll find love's promised land

There'll be no one but you for me

Eternally

If you will be my love

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