OK, in honor of my trip tomorrow…here is some pottery for you. More papertrey, more fun. I love how my shading of the pot came out. So I have been asked by a couple of people what my favorite German song is. First of all, that is like asking a mother which of her children she loves the most. This is a topic that is very close to my heart. Very. I almost get emotional thinking about it. German composers and their work mean a great deal to me, so much so, that I would do everything in my power to just sing that repertoire if I had a choice. So, I had to broaden this answer a little bit to include some of my favorites from different time periods, OK? Because really, picking one would be unfair and unjust. So, let’s start at the earliest and work our way up to the latest in terms of time periods. Huh. This is hard. This list will change to different things as I grow as an artist…I reserve that right!
Heinrich Schütz: Auf dem Gebirge (from the mountains) (from Geistliche Chormusik op.11). This was a hard choice. Love so much of his music. This is a duet for two altos and six, count them, six sackbuts (no silly, it is just an early version of a trombone). Come on, how cool is that.
JS Bach: Come on! Everything! OK…well I just finished performing the St. John’s Passion, so I will go with that. More specificaly? Es ist Vollbracht this is the alto aria sung after Jesus dies on the cross. “It is finished” is the translation. Very, very moving.
Schumann: Frauenliebe und Leben (A womans love and life) This is a song cycle about a womans life and love from childhood wooings through adulthood and the death of her spouse. Wonderful. Always been a favorite.
Brahms: Zwei Gesänge (Two songs for alto and viola) op. 91. Perfect for Christmas. Oh yes, perfect. Especially the second one which intertwines an old German Christmas hymn “Joseph lieber Joseph mein”.
Mahler: Das Lied von der Erde (Songs of the Earth), Kindertotenlieder (Songs on the Death of Children). Mahler is hard for me. I used to like his vocal stuff more when I was younger, but now after having children, it has taken on almost a dark quality that is too sad to bear if you really become one with the music. Kindertotenlieder was expressed by a writer in Wikipedia as this:
The songs are written in Mahler’s late-Romantic idiom, and the mood and feeling they express is very much what their title implies. The final song ends in a major key and a mood of transcendence.
The poignance of the cycle is increased by the fact that four years after he wrote it, Mahler lost his daughter, Maria, aged four, to scarlet fever. He wrote to Guido Adler: “I placed myself in the situation that a child of mine had died. When I really lost my daughter, I could not have written these songs any more.”
So, sorry to end on a sad note, but that is my list of all-star greats. Maybe I should burn these and add them to Blog Candy soon. Blog Candy is Coming!