Purcell / Britten Schumann Williams Haas

Tuesday, February 20, 2024, 7:00 PM, P- Song Evening
Small Hall of SP,
Price: 18 €
Simon Wallfisch baritone
Edward Rushton
Henry Purcell / Benjamin Britten
Robert Schumann
Ralph Vaughan Williams

Pavel Haas
Let the dreadful engines of eternal will
Dichterliebe, Op. 48
The House of Life
Four Songs on Chinese Poetry

The romantic German song is an achievement of the 19th century. Until then, the songs had the character of inconsequential miniatures, to which composers paid attention only marginally. In Poet’s Love, a cycle of 16 songs to texts from Heinrich Heine’s Book of Songs, Robert Schumann perfectly expresses the ambiguity of poetry. Love is interpreted as gentle caresses and flights of fantasy, while poetic melancholy is veiled behind images of flowers and birds. Other song cycles introduce a more contemporary approach to working with the text. Ralph Vaughan Williams works in his cycle with six sonnets by Dante Gabriel Rossetti. The four songs by Pavel Haas are considered the pinnacle of the author’s vocal work. The piece was created at the initiative of the singer Karel Berman, who was imprisoned together with Haas in a camp in Terezín. The book New Songs of Old China, from which Haas set four texts to music, was either from the library of the Terezín ghetto, or someone smuggled it into the camp. The lyrics refer to an extraordinary desire to return home: “Home is there, far away there”, “you should go home, stray heart!”, “Sleep, give me a dream of returning home”. Verses written in a different life situation took on a new meaning in the ghetto: the songs had such a positive response among the prisoners that Berman had to sing them at least fifteen more times. The German-British cellist and baritone Simon Wallfisch must possess the ability to convey a broad spectrum of emotions.