Emotional expression in variety of musical styles: art song recital for soprano

Programing art songs and arias of deep emotional expression, from the classical period through the modern period reveals the variety of vocal repertoire, for the soprano voice. Different style periods represent emotional expressions in different music settings. Mozart’s Motet K.V 165 is written in four sections: “Exsultate Jubilate,” Recitativo, “Tu virginum cora,” and “Alleluja” .The texture of “Exsultate Jubilate” describes joyful emotion directed towards God. The content of the recitativo relates that, “storms have stopped, the dark has gone, do not be afraid, enjoy the lucky dawn.” This section expresses hope. “Tu virginum cora,” in an Andante tempo and long vocal phrases display devotion to God. The “Alleluia” is in a blissful and an exciting coloratura passage that reflects passionate devotion to God. All of three art songs composed by Schubert included in this program are about nature, and two of these songs have texted by Goethe (1749-1832). Frantic movement throughout the accompaniment in “Rastlose Liebe” is alternatively set in sixteen notes and triplets. The vocal line keeps ascending in pitch to express emotions from high to low and then going on to the musical climax. The poem of “Nachtviolen” depicts one’s charming and gentle features represented by the night violet. The simplicity of vocal line describes nature, and the simple accompaniment supports the vocal line. “Gretchen am Spinnrade” expresses dramatic tensions and varied emotions, which about lost love, and the character Gretchen is from Goethe’s famous poem Faust. The accompaniment vividly imitates the spinning wheel and the sound of the treadle. It leads the growing arch of the vocal line to the climax. French méolodie often chooses romantic love in nature as the text, as it is found three songs by Fauré: “Notre Amour”, “Ici-bas”, and “Mandoline”. “Notre Amour” texts by Silvestre (1837-1901), talks about “our infinite love like perfume, romantic song, and forests’ mysteries”. The accompaniment uses strophic rustling to build arching vocal lines, and also an exciting underpinning of the whole piece. Compared with “Notre Amour”, “Ici-bas” is a simple and spiritual art song. Its chromatic vocal lines and accompaniments use rising musical phrases to deepen the feeling of passion. The song “Mandoline” inspired by an oil painting. It expresses youthful and liberated passions in music. The lyrics describe a picture that a young man is playing the mandolin accompanying a beautiful day outside of the park while another young man is dancing with two women. Accompaniment parts vividly imitate the sound of mandolin, and the independent voice line describes the painting. In the Hermit songs, Op.29 by Samuel Barber, short poems of the medieval period were written in illuminated manuscripts of the bible. The poems set are very different depending on the experience person who wrote them. “At Saint Patrick’s Purgatory” is written about a pilgrimage to see Patrick’s church. He is walking and beating himself as penance for his sins. The accompaniment imitates the walking rhythm, and embellishments create the sound of whipping. In the “Church Bell at Night”, the piano parts imitate the sound of a bell, and set the background for the singer’s low simple murmur. “St. Ita’s Vision” is a kind of lullaby which contains a short recitative. The arching phrase of the vocal line expresses deep devotions to Christ. “The Crucifixion” uses fourths and fifths to inspire singers’ intense emotion in singing, additionally, the piano imitates the “bird-like” motive in the music. There are only two sentences in “Promiscuity”, they tell a humorous story about the promiscuity of a character Edan. Simply words and discord in accompaniments increase the impact of the sly content. “The Monk and His Cat” captures the playfulness of the cat on the piano. In the “The Desire for Hermitage”, the vocal line is shaped like a meditative chant which builds on arches throughout the piece, which expresses the blissful soaring of the spirit towards god. The arching vocal lines are taken over in a sublime piano solo. Barber uses no time signatures in the Hermit songs. But the rhythm changes all the times, he uses the rhythm to reflect and set the rhythm of the text in unchanging eighth and quarter notes. “È strano…Sempre libera” is an aria composed by Verdi from opera La Traviata. Verdi’s changing coloratura passages and different tempos to represent the changing emotions of the character. In this aria, Violetta is surrounded by passionate struggling after meeting the young gentleman Alfred. At the beginning, she expresses her strange feeling in the recitative. Then, singing through the first coloratura passage to confess that she is falling love with Alfred, and her emotions turn to joyful arching coloratura passages. The Chinese opera Zang Yuen was produced in 1995, and the aria “Love Song” comes from this opera. This aria is similar in style to Puccini’s writing in its long vocal phrases. It is different from Chinese traditional music because most musical elements are based on folk music from Mongolian regions. As human beings, we desire emotional expression. This program provides us with vary emotional experiences set in a variety of musical styles.

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