The Song of Love Pt.2

December 08, 2020
Sibelius Academy R-house, Pohjoinen rautatiekatu 9, 00100 Helsinki

The Song of Love – Pt.2

Kristina Bogataj, voice Teacher: Päivi Kantola

Kristian Attila, piano

Katariina Malmberg, oboe d’amore Nahoko Kinoshita, oboe Kristiina Hirvonen, baroque cello Kirill Kozlovski, organ positiv

Tuesday, 8.12.2020, 12:00 Sibelius Academy R-house Concert Hall Pohjoinen rautatiekatu 9 00100 Helsinki


J. S. Bach (1685–1750) Recitativo (12.) and Aria (13.) Ich will dir mein Herze schenken (Matthäus-Passion BWV 244) C. F. H. Picander (1700–1764) With baroque ensemble

F. B. Conti (1681/1682–1732) (attr. B. Marcello) Il mio bel foco Anonymous

J. Mysliveček (1737–1781) (attr. W. A. Mozart KV 152 210a) Ridente la calma Anonymous

R. Schumann (1810–1856) Er, der herrlichste von allen (from Frauenliebe und leben) A. von Chamisso (1781–1838)

J. Michl (1879–1959): Nezakonska mati (Unwed mother) (from Four Prešeren songs) F. Prešeren (1800–1849)

E. Elgar (1857–1934) Speak, Music A. C. Benson (1862 –1925)

L. Madetoja (1887–1947) Yrtit tummat etelän yössä L. Onerva/H. O. Lehtinen (1882–1972)

C. Gounod (1818–1893) Faites-lui Mes Aveux (Siébel’s aria from Faust) J. Barbier (1825–1901)

Everything in movement seems to be the only stable element in how a human being perceives the world around them. This paradox has been an endless source of discussion and exploration for centuries – regarding both an individual and society. The more flexible one’s mind, the more content life one seems to live – with themselves and their surroundings. As nature is always in movement with her longer and shorter cycles, so is the development of human perception – of themselves and people around them. Let’s call that perception empathy – the sensitivity and respect towards an individual’s values and feelings. Especially two relationships of endless social roles either thrive or die through empathy: love towards oneself and love towards significant others. The program opens with sharing everything in one of the holiest relationships in Western history: an individual offers everything towards God in endless love and gratitude for all that manifests in one’s life. The duality of triplets and “half-bar swing” might suggest an union of holy and human nature, keeping the playfulness of the texture in balance with the solemn middle part of the aria in minor. Descending to the earth, love takes a more earthly shape – however not necessarily more tangible: the fire in the eyes of an individual passionately in love. The piece by Conti (as the newest research reports) exists in numerous versions: at this occasion performed with a realised continuo part for piano, however following the signature elements of the era.

If one’s passion is met with a similar passion from the other, they might become one. Ridente la calma is a classical aria that follows the classical style (including the freely added ornamentation). In the timeline, the couple has started to trust each other and are ready and willing to continue together in bliss, with no fear.

Somehow contemporary is Chamisso’s text, set by Schumann, one of the big masters of lied – it is a maiden’s ode to her beloved, and not the other way around, as it might be more expected for the era. If the relationship lacks the will to grow, clear communication and the empathy to be able to read and accept each other’s feelings, then it might be doomed. Sometimes a relationship has unfortunately not even been anything more than corporal attraction. To the text of the most known Slovenian poet Prešeren, Michl’s elaborate and emotional piano accompaniment and clear storyline paints the mother’s love for her child, the frustration of being abandoned by both her beloved and her family, and finally expressing her eternal love – it is not clear whether she keeps or gives the baby away, despite the triumphant ending of the piece.

Even if people let the individual down and betray their trust, there are refuges that accept a suffering soul with open hands. Music is always there for us – enhancing our feelings, making our memories, expressing our thoughts. Elgar’s setting praises these properties, although the “and pray for me”, “bid me rest” parts might balance out the lightness and lyrical character with the earthly darkness. The solemn setting of Yrtit tummat carries one’s longing for their homeland. The virtuoso piano part is as if equal to the singer’s part, distilling the longing after the northern homeland to a teardrop. If one is in peace with themselves, they will easily be in peace with their beloved ones too. In Gounod’s aria of a young boy, being in love lives in a playful setting, starting the cycle of a relationship all over again – a stage when one feels a strong need to become one with another. As it is impossible to predict the outcome, we can find peace in the fact that the only stable element of life is change. No matter the outcome – we might add another one: love, be it towards whoever or whatever – starting with oneself.