Auf dem wasser zu singen – Franz Schubert

Schedule?  What schedule?  I do apologise for the lack of posts recently – I’ve been sick and then uninspired.  I think for the time being, I’m going to abandon my sequence of posts on Monday and Friday and just post things as the mood takes me.

And today, the mood takes me to Schubert land.  I’m in a tired sort of mood, and this is just the sort of music I can float along to and relax…

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Monday Music: Love’s Philosophy (Roger Quilter)

I’m a bit of a latecomer to Quilter, and indeed, English Art Song in general.  But last year, when Allan’s was closing down, I saw a book of Quilter art songs on special, and thought I’d take a look inside.  After all, one shouldn’t shun a whole genre without trying it.  Then I opened the book, and made a marvellous discovery – Art Song in English is basically really gorgeous poems set to music!

(yes, OK, I’m slow, but it hadn’t occurred to me.  I’ve only ever sung art-song in other languages, and hadn’t really registered that the lyrics were written by Real Poets, as opposed to lyricists…)

Anyway, having made this delicious connection, the first thing I did was to take the book along to my singing teacher and basically say “Where do I start?”  And she sang me this.

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Plotting a Programme, and Come Unto These Yellow Sands (Linley)

As I think I’ve mentioned, I’m planning (hoping?) to do my ATCL singing exam this year, and got all excited about creating a Shakespeare / Renaissance-themed programme, with just  a little baroque to spice things up (because I cannot resist baroque music).  Only my programme has been blowing out to a ridiculous length, and is full of depressing Italian arias, which is not ideal.

Then, last week, I found a whole series of John Donne sonnets set to music by an Australian composer, Dorian Le Gallienne.  They are all horribly atonal, which is a pity, and of course, I don’t exactly need *more* repertoire (says she who accidentally downloaded a whole book of 50 songs inspired by Shakespeare last night, including a truly appalling Victorian attempt to make Desdemona’s Willow Song in English scan to the Rossini Italian), but singing through them last night brought me a brainwave – if I take all the arias gleefully out of context, but stay true to the textual and emotional content, I can have a recital not merely with a theme, but with a plot!  Of sorts.  Assuming I can find that top D flat for the Lady Macbeth. And assuming that Trinity isn’t so appalled at my operatic blasphemy that they fail me on the spot.

Anyway, here’s the opening of my story…

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Monday Music: The Blessed Virgin’s Expostulation (Purcell)

I’m planning (hoping is more accurate, at this stage) to do the Trinity ATCL exam this year, so I’m currently collecting repertoire suitable for a recital.  This piece of music is one I ran across a few years ago, and the title immediately piqued my interest.  It isn’t often that you see the word ‘expostulation’ in a song title, after all.

Then I heard it, and fell completely in love.

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