On Wings of Song
Considerations for listening
1) MENDELSSOHN/LISZT “On Wings of Song” 3:31
Stop what you are doing. Take a breath. Let everything out.
Could anything be more beautiful?
RAVEL Gaspard de la nuit
2) Ondine (the water spirit) 6:51
Essentially, this piece is a glorified sexual fantasy. Before the music begins, imagine the various sounds of water – the sound of stepping into a bath, of waves hitting a shore, of a skipping stone. Now, what would the water sound like if it were trying to tempt you? (read a more racy description of "Ondine" here)
3) Le Gibet (the gallows) 6:57
“Le Gibet” is based on a poem by Bertrand that asks, “What is this uneasy sound in the dusk? Is it the screech of the north wind, or does the hanged man on the gallows let out a sigh?” Is it the profusion of insects pouring over the dead body…or the creeks of the noose? Is it the uncertainty of life after death?
4) Scarbo (the gremlin) 9:04
He looked under the bed, in the fireplace, in the chest: nobody. – Hoffmann (Nighttime Tales)
Scarbo is the terrifying monster from your childhood, as real to you then as terrorists are today. While listening, set your alert level to red and try to predict Scarbo’s next move. From where will he attack?
MOZART Sonata in E-flat, K. 282
5) Adagio 5:26 6) Menuetti I & II 3:49 7) Allegro 3:14
In my estimation, Mozart composed the epitome of purity. His music is genuine and from the heart. Where can one see something so untarnished in today’s world? Sometimes I have to want to see it, and sometimes it’s hidden under several layers, but it’s always there. I see it in the humanity that surrounds me.
8) GRIEG “Air” from The Holberg Suite 6:28
Grieg’s “Air” is such an intimate and personal work that I hesitate to comment. Discover what it means to you. Maybe it’s something simple, or heartfelt, something deeply human, or an untold truth. Take the time and I promise the rewards will be great.
9) LISZT Reminiscences of Norma (by Bellini) 16:50
Have you ever loved someone so much it hurt?
Have you ever been hurt by someone you love?
At the climax of the opera Norma, these underlying themes are melded into one overwhelming emotion, satisfying and painful at the same time.
10) BACH/ANDERSON “Erbarme Dich” from The St. Matthew Passion 6:59 (Elizabeth Joy Roe & Greg Anderson, piano duo)
“Erbarme Dich” is a spiritual lament originally set to the words, “Have mercy, my God, for my tears’ sake. Look hither, heart and eyes weep bitterly before Thee.” The simple desire to perform this work of haunting beauty and emotional power inspired me to transcribe it for two pianos. It makes me cry.
11) Encore – STRAUSS/GODOWSKY “Ständchen” 2:44
(Please see the Program Notes page for extended historical and analytical program notes written by Greg.)
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