A survey of vocal literature
George Frideric Handel (1685-1759) was a baroque period composer. "Come and trip it" is from "L'Allegro." This song is a graceful minuet for solo voice and is followed by the chorus. "O sleep, why dost thou leave me" is from the opera, "Semele." This song is quite slow and simple, and includes appropriate ornamentation. Limited vibrato, and the use of straight tone times is appropriate for both these pieces. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) was a composer of the classic period. "Das Veilchen" is a miniature drama. So when we sing it we need to sing as if we are telling a story. "Als Luise die Briefe, ihres ungetreuen Liebhabers verbrannte" is a tiny operatic scene, intensely dramatic and full of passion. This song is just 1 minute long, but the singer needs to express the dramatic emotions well. "Deh vieni, non tardar" is an aria from the opera, "Le nozze di Figaro." Susanna wants to make Figaro jealous by playing a joke on him and pretending that she is waiting for another man. Realistic acting is important in singing this aria of Suzanna's in order to portray her charm and spite. Antonio Leopold Dvorak (1841-1904) was a Czech composer. His work "Gypsy songs" consists of 7 songs. He emphasized the love of freedome in these songs. He confronts the sadness, fun, jokes, and melancholy of life. The singer needs to express the extreme emotional changes in each song. The first and last songs are majestic and poetic in quality, and they highlight the freedom of the Gypsy lifestyle. The second, fifth, and sixth songs are spirited, joyous dances that draw heavily on Czech and Hungarian dance rhythms. The fourth song is by now a familiar tune and also the center of the cycle. The vocal part is written in 2/4 and the piano part is written in 6/8. By using these two simple meters, he maintains a nostalgic atmosphere. Amedee-Ernest Chausson (1855-1899) was a French composer. "Le Colobri" is set in 5/4 meter. The middle section features chromatic passages and rich harmonic textures. Melodic material is shared between voice and piano. "Les Papillons" is a bright miniature song. The vocal line is both fluid and lyric, and under it is a repeated piano figure that represents the fluttering wings of the butterflies. "Le Temps des lilas" is one of Chausson's subtlest songs, both graceful and delicate. This song is really dramatic. He unifies the three songs with a short motive in D minor. This motive appears prominently in the piano accompaniment in several places. At return of the melody, there is a change of register and the tonality shifts from major to minor. Richard Georg Strauss (1863-1949) was a German composer. "Zueignung" was composed when he was 18 years old. Even though he composed it for tenor voice, this song is sung by all voice types. The first two stanzas share identical opening phrases, and the second verse changes only slightly. The third stanza begins with the identical first phrases, then moves to an majestic high note climax supported with thick-texture chords in the piano. "Allerseelen" starts with a piano introduction that quotes the melodic material from the vocal phrase. The piano ends with four measures of shifting harmonies that finally come to rest, but a little inconclusively. Ottorino Respighi (1879-1936) was an Italian composer. His work "Quatro Liriche Peti Armeni" is not well known. The voice line and the piano line have different melodies in these songs. Because he was a musicologist, he took the baroque style in piano part and combined it with a voice part fashioned in the modern style. In "No, non e mort oil figlio tuo," the piano part plays the same melody for the entire time. Both the vocal and piano lines are simple, but together they sound really heavy. "La mamma e come il pane caldo" has three verses; the first talks about the narrator's mother, the second talks about his father, and last talks about the narrator's brother. There is no big climax, but each section builds in its own way to give the sections some excitement . "Io sono la Madre" also starts with a simple piano part in f# minor that eventually goes to F# major in the middle section. Again it returns to f# minor and finally ends with same phrase of the beginning part. The poet repeats "Io sono la Madre" at the beginning and end of each stanza to emphasize, "I am the Mother." Yoshinao Nakada (1923-2000) was a 20th-century Japanese composer. Even though he was a modern composer, most of his works are tonal. Some of his songs are supposed to be sung as if they are childrens' songs. "Mukou Mukou" is a short piece written in strophic style. This song should be sung in a fun, easy manner that suggests an adult speaking to kids. "Sakura Yokocho" is not strophic, but Nakada uses the same phrase as a recurrent theme. He also uses a pentatonic scale in order to recall the melodies of traditional Japanese music. "Uta wo kudasai" is more like an aria. There are three similar messages, however Nakada uses three totally different types of melody and theme to express them. The first verse is clear and simply stated, and the second verse is like a desperate person appealing to people's conscience. So the performer needs to sing gently and courteously. On the other hand, the third verse becomes quite dramatic. The accompaniment part here also features heavy chords while the vocal part has high notes and leaps, which portrays that the character of the poem has become highly agitated. In the ending, Nakada totally changes the theme into a quiet release of emotions.