I gave this performance of Syrinx at my Dolce Suono Ensemble’s closing concert of the 2012-2013 season on May 19, 2013 (but did not have it ready for posting on the actual day). The concert was entitled “Debussy as Painter of Song,” in which I performed with stellar musicians Sarah Shafer, soprano and Natalie Zhu, piano. Our program featured Debussy’s song cycle Ariettes oubliées, songs I arranged for flute and piano, Arabesques for piano, and Syrinx, and the seven winning works from Dolce Suono Ensemble’s first Young Composers Competition. It was a festive afternoon of wonderful and varied music at the lovely Field Concert Hall at Curtis Institute of Music, where all three of us performers studied.
Today’s Syrinx made me think of Debussy’s song setting of Paul Verlaine’s poem Green, in his song cycle Ariettes Ariettes oubliées. Soprano Sarah Shafer and pianist Natalie Zhu’s marvelous performance of the songs at Dolce Suono Ensemble’s May 19 concert “Debussy as Painter of Song” is still with me. Here, the text:
Paul Verlaine, Green
Voici des fruits, des fleurs, des feuilles et des branches
Et puis voici mon cœur qui ne bat que pour vous.
Ne le déchirez pas avec vos deux mains blanches
Et qu’à vos yeux si beaux l’humble présent soit doux.
J’arrive tout couvert encore de rosée
Que le vent du matin vient glacer à mon front.
Souffrez que ma fatigue, à vos pieds reposée,
Rêve des chers instants qui la délasseront.
Sur votre jeune sein laissez rouler ma tête
Toute sonore encore de vos derniers baisers;
Laissez-la s’apaiser de la bonne tempête,
Et que je dorme un peu puisque vous reposez.
Translation by Rita Benton:
Here are fruits, flowers, leaves and branches,
And then here is my heart, which beats only for you.
Do not tear it apart with your two white hands,
And to your eyes so lovely, may this humble present seem sweet.
I arrive all covered still with dew,
That the morning wind turns to frost on my brow.
Permit my fatigue, reposing at your feet,
To dream of the cherished moments which will refresh it.
On your young bosom, let my head lie,
Full of ringing still from your last kisses;
Let it be calmed after the good tempest,
And let me sleep a little, since you are resting.
Soprano Lucy Shelton is guest artist with Dolce Suono Ensemble for the premiere of Fang Man’s song cycle Earth this Sunday, April 14, 2013 at 3:00pm at Delaware County Community College in Media, PA. I am delighted to be working with a magnificent group that includes in addition to Lucy: Evan Hughes, bass-baritone;Tim Early, choreographer/dancer; Brittany Flaherty-Ryan, dancer; Jeremy Gill, conductor, and my wonderful colleagues in Dolce Suono Ensemble.
After rehearsal, I asked Lucy if she would be willing to do something with me for my daily Syrinx, and she joined me inan improvisation filled with dazzling vocalizations. It was a thrilling experience!