Our German Recital conducted by Master Vocal Coach Richard A. Raub features the Resident Artists performing repertoire from the start of the German expressionist period, the very beginning of the 20th century. Prominent composers of this era include Arnold Schoenberg, Anton Webern, Alban Berg and Paul Hindemith. Let’s take a brief walk through the evening’s program and explore the history of this storied repertoire.
The recital opens with Two Songs for Baritone and Piano, Op. 1, which itself is divided into two parts: Dank & Abschied. One of Schoenberg’s earliest compositions to feature an opus-in fact his first-and was the first in what would become a series of sorts consisting of his first songs with opus featuring prominently-with Four Songs and Six Songs to follow shortly thereafter. We then skip ahead to Zwei Lieder, Opus 14, itself divided into the two parts Ich darf nicht dankend (George) and In diesen Wintertagen (Henckell).
Next, we continue to Berg’s Zwei Lieder and Schliesse mir die Augen beide (1900/1925). The latter is widely considered one of Berg’s ‘greatest hits’, so to speak, and was the first of his 12-tone pieces (parts of Schliesse later would show up in other work). Written as a love song to his future wife, the text translates as follows:
Close both my eyes
with your beloved hands!
Let all my suffering
gain rest beneath your hand.
And as gently the pain
wave upon wave lies in sleep,
As the last blow falls
you fill my whole heart.
Afterwards, we move to Webern’s Five Songs after Poems by Dehmel. A somewhat obscure selection from Webern’s catalogue, the work is titled reference to one Richard Dehmel, naturally a well-regarded poet of the pre-World War era. Many German composers of the period set his poems to music, easy to do as Dehmel found himself oft inspired by the Greek god Eros-god of love.
The artists will then return to Berg’s overture for Lied der Lulu, a piece from his opera Lulu. Typically performed incomplete (as the resident artists will do), it is among the composer’s most acclaimed late-career works.
They will then come back to Webern for Three Songs after poems by Avenarius. A early-career partner to the Dehmel piece for Webern, Ferdinand Avenarius was a recognized lyric poet noted for providing lyrics to composers of the period and for his work in publishing.
Finally, we’ll return to Berg for Sieben Fruehe Lieder. Originally produced in 1907, the infrequently performed piece makes a rare appearance in this recital.
Come join AVA on March 29 & 30 in our home at the Helen Corning Warden Theater and take the journey with us. Get your tickets now by calling 215-735-1685 or going to www.avaopera.org.