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Sun, May 09



Songs of Rebirth

Join us as we celebrate a season of rebirth with music by Hahn, Ireland, Gounod, Brahms, and more. With Alastair Stout at the piano.

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Songs of Rebirth
Songs of Rebirth

Time & Location

May 09, 2021, 4:00 PM

Rutland, 8 Court St, Rutland, VT 05701, USA

About the event


Robert Schumann (1810-1856) composed a song-cycle of sixteen songs called Dichterliebe (Poet’s Love). It is one of the most cherished song-cycles in all of the classical repertoire. Featured in this recital are the first two pieces of the cycle. Im wunderschönen Monat mai drips tears from its melodies. While the poetry by Heinrich Heine (1797-1856) is rather uplifting, Schumann composes with unique tonal material that keeps us from grasping whether the song is happy or sad. There is tonal ambiguity which parallels the ambiguity of this season of our life. None of us have been quite sure of anything for the last year, but as is hinted in Aus meinen Tränen sprießen, we have Hope to grip on to.

Gustav Mahler (1860-1911) treats us with a piece too perfect for this Spring 2021 season. The piano accompaniment playfully paints the sounds of Spring and the pillow-side stirrings of a late sleeper. The poem by  Richard Leander (1830-1889) commands us to wake from our sleep to these sounds of rebirth.

Johannes Brahms (1833-1897)

There is a particular lushness in the quality of Brahms’ compositions. His music often features delightful folk-like melodies, enriched with chromaticism in the accompaniment and a vast spectrum of pitch material. In other words, he augments simple melodies to create music that utilizes the entire range of the keyboard. Sonntag delights us with colorful motifs and sweet simplicity – without the chromatic undercurrent. It is plain. Simple. Romantic. Beautiful. On the other side of the spectrum, Brahms’ compositional talent is made clear through Botschaft. This piece so skillfully paints the sound of the wind and its perpetuity as it carries a message of love through the atmosphere. It is lush. Bold. Romantic. Beautiful.

John Ireland (1879 -1962) gifted us with this little known collection of songs that was too precious not to include in our program. Composed in 1918, Mother and Child features poetry by Christina Rosetti (1830-1894). It serves as a tribute to our mothers, our ancestors, and all things that nourish the fragility of Life.

Charles Gounod (1819-1883) brings us the lively enthusiasm of Spring. In the piano, we hear a rumbling current of energy in the form of arpeggiated sixteenth notes that span the entire piece until the final few measures of music. Chanson de printemps is very French in its style; however its sing-songy nature may be a reflection of his interest in Irish folk melodies.

Reynaldo Hahn (1874 -1947) contributed mélodies of such vibrancy that stick out as a splash of color against a backdrop of other “overrated composers”. His creations are the lipstick of French art song. The symbol of the Nightingale recurs throughout the poetry selected for today’s recital. From as far back as Homer’s The Odyssey, poets have utilized the nightingale as a symbol for creativity, longing, virtue, and the purity of nature. Poet Léopold Dauphin (1847-1925) pairs the image of the Nightingale with the image of the Lilac, symbolizing renewal. Le rossignol des lilas serves as a welcoming into a new time of creativity and rebirth. The real charm of Hahn’s compositional style is exemplified in A chloris, an ode to the goddess of Spring in Greek mythology. It is a nice example of neoclassicism as it gives new form and intimacy to a baroque style of music.

Andrew Ager (1962-  )

With Ager’s enthusiasm, we are excited to present the American premier of A Lover and his Lass which takes its text from William Shakespeare’s play As You Like It.  The Canadian composer lives in Ottawa where he composes full-time.

Dana Rosemary Scallon (1951-   ) is a musician, composer, and former politician in Ireland. Her song Lady of Knock has become one of the most well-known and cherished Irish ballads. It describes the events at Knock Shrine (Knock, Co. Mayo, Ireland) on August 21st, 1879 where there appeared the apparition of Our Lady, St. John, and St. Joseph, and a lamb. Many witnessed this event and shared their testimonies. Today, we dedicate the piece to Margaret Callahan and Marie Mangan.

Theodore Morse (1873-1924) was an American composer of popular radio songs. This piece, M-O-T-H-E-R, A Word That Means The World To Me is said to have been a popular song shared among soldiers who passed many days in the trenches during the first World War.

Amy Beach (1867-1944) made an enormous impact on American art music as she was the first successful female composer in the United States. Her musical contribution includes choral works, symphonies, songs, piano works, and no shortage of chamber music. We chose her super-charged The Year’s At The Spring with our eyes directed toward uplifting and exciting prospects.

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