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This pair of recitals was programmed with the intent to evoke emotions that we have all experienced, whether it be the intense sorrow of solitude or the unbridled joy of companionship. Also, in compliance with the guidelines set by the concentration in Latin American and Iberian Studies, half of the music from these recitals was composed by Spanish and Mexican composers dating from the late 19th century to modern day. Each concert was meant to illustrate some kind of narrative around their respective themes.
The first concert, “Verlust & Pérdida: On loss of love and innocence,” consists of two basic narratives, each belonging to their respective half of the concert. The title of the concert simply means “loss” in both of the languages that appear in the program. Each half is separated by language - German and subsequently Spanish - allowing for more consistent storytelling in each segment. The programming of this recital was determined largely in part by the selfish indulgence of wanting to learn and perform a full song cycle in German, a favorite language of mine for singing. After settling on Schumann’s "Liederkreis, op. 24," the rest of the program fell into place based on the continuation of the primary theme set forth in this cycle: the loss of love. The Strauss songs that precede the Schumann establish the existence of love (particularly in “Der Nachtgang”) and then its fading away is narrated by "Liederkreis." Likewise, the Spanish half of the program depicts not only the loss of love, but the loss of innocence that comes about from worldly exposure. This portion of the recital is made up of Silvestre Revueltas’s "Cinco canciones de niños" and perhaps the most well-known Spanish art song collection, Manuel de Falla’s "Siete canciones populares españolas." By transitioning from the children’s songs of Revueltas (set to the surrealist poetry of Federico García Lorca) to the popular songs of Falla, there is a distinct shift from the world of imagination to the stark groundedness that comes about from undergoing life’s trials.
The second concert, “Entre mis brazos: On belonging,” takes its title from the Spanish half of the program: the works of living composer Anton García Abril. “Entre mis brazos” is a line of poetry that appears in two of the songs that García Abril set, and captures the essence of this recital’s theme: belonging and intimacy. The two collections of García Abril’s songs that appear in this recital - "Canciones de Valldemosa" and "Siete canciones de amor" - epitomize the theme of the recital, as they were selected first when programming. After performing a concert entirely of non-English texts, the aim of this second concert was not only to make beautiful music, but also music that the audience would be able to understand without reading a translation. Thus the second half of the concert, I decided, should be art songs set to English poetry; the collection of Samuel Barber songs (op. 10) and a smattering of Charles Ives fit the bill. These American songs also play into the theme of belonging, and so a coherent theme was born. In contrast to the first recital, the majority of these songs revolve around the idea of embracing love and the things which we so rarely are able to grasp, though some of the selections inevitably lead also to loss. Regardless, the overall tone is far more upward-looking than that of “Verlust & Pérdida.”
It is my sincere hope in sharing this music, along with a truly genuine part of my heart, that I have called to mind the so often neglected importance of listening and have sparked some shared resonance within us all.
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Capaccio, Sonny Phillip David, "Verlust & Pérdida: On loss of love and innocence; Entre mis brazos: On belonging - A set of voice recitals featuring German, Mexican, Spanish, and American composers" (2020). Senior Projects Spring 2020. 210.
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