Music in the Making

Music In The Making: Poetry, Part II

This week, the written word comes alive in songs by Brahms, Vaughan Williams, Coleridge-Taylor, and Martin.

On this week’s episode, we continue our celebration of National Poetry Month. We’ll hear settings of an array of poetry by a diverse set of composers.

Johannes Brahms
Johannes Brahms

Johannes Brahms: Two Songs for Alto, Viola and Piano, Op. 91
Thomas Jaber (Piano), Andrea Jaber (mezzo-soprano), Ivo van der Werff (viola)
9/23/2012
Stude Concert Hall

Our first selection tonight, Two Songs for Alto, Viola, and Piano, was written by Johannes Brahms as a gift for famed violinist Joseph Joachim and his wife, singer Amalie Weiss. The two songs in the set were written, however, for very different occasions. The first was presented on the occasion of the birth of the couple’s first child, and is a tender lullaby. The second was written after the two had separated, and was intended by Brahms to help them reconcile. It utilizes a poem by Friedrich Rückert.

Ralph Vaughan Williams
Ralph Vaughan Williams

Ralph Vaughan Williams – Five Mystical Songs for Baritone and Orchestra
Moores School Chamber Orchestra, Charles Stanton (baritone)
10/30/2010
Moores Opera House

Our next work fits not only into our theme this evening, with poetry by George Herbert, but also manages to celebrate Easter, with two movements dedicated to the holiday. Though composer Ralph Vaughan Williams himself was not religious, this work is decidedly spiritual in nature, as it draws text from Herbert’s 1633 collection of poems, “The Temple: Sacred Poems.”

Poet George Herbert
Poet George Herbert
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor

Samuel Coleridge- Taylor: selections from 6 Sorrow Songs, Op. 57
Timothy Jones, baritone; Katherine Ciscon, piano
10/5/2012
Moores Opera House

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, another British composer, lived contemporaneously with Vaughan Williams. Coleridge-Taylor was of mixed racial heritage, and was one of the first prominent Afro-European composers. In his “Sorrow Songs,” he utilizes the poetry of Christina Rossetti, a prolific Victorian poet.

Christina Rossetti
Poet Christina Rossetti

 

Frank Martin: Sonnets a Cassandre
Katherine Ciesinski (mezzo soprano), Sydney Carlson (flute), Matthew Dane (viola), Kevin Dvorak (cello)
6-6-2006
Moores Opera House

Our final work, titled Four Sonnets to Cassandra, is by Swiss composer Frank Martin. It is paired with poetry by Pierre de Ronsard, a French writer from the Renaissance. Martin, a 20th century composer, honors the time and style of the poetry by utilizing modal melodies.

Pierre de Ronsard
Pierre de Ronsard

This episode originally aired Sunday, April 16th, 2017. Catch Music in the Making every Sunday at 7:06 PM on Classical.

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