blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit

blending an assortment of thoughts and experiences for my friends, relations and kindred spirit
By Alison Hobbs, blending a mixture of thoughts and experiences for friends, relations and kindred spirits.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Art songs and Newfie jigs

Jean Desmarais, Denis Lawlor and Isabel Lacroix are described on this page. On a recent Sunday afternoon, we went to a concert to hear them all perform at close quarters at John's house on Marlowe Crescent. For the past several years, John has been organising a series of concerts in his living room (filled with a variety of chairs that he sets out in rows) and we're lucky enough to be on his mailing list!

For this concert, the baritone and the soprano took turns to sing to us from a programme of art songs followed by...

The songs from Europe:

The lengthy and demanding Adelaide by Beethoven, to start with. I always think of my son George during this, who loves its piano part. Then we heard six Schubert Lieder… Liebesbotschaft, Der Neugierige, Frühlingsglaube, Im Abendrot, Gott im Frühling, and Sehnsucht (four of which I know note for note and word for word). Two Mädchenblumen songs (Kornblumen and Epheu) by Richard Strauss were new to me, before Mr. Lawlor sang Strauss' Morgen to the accompaniment of piano and violin. For some reason this one never fails to conjure up the magic of Lake Thun, for me, as seen from Spiez*:
... Und zu dem Strand, dem weiten, wogenblauen, werden wir still und langsam niedersteigen ...
* Am Strand, Spiez
The legato sounds more effective on the violin than it would under the right hand on the piano, which is how I remember it. Chris reminded me that there's also an orchestral version of that accompaniment. Next came Schumann's Widmung and Wehmut and Brahms' Von ewiger Liebe which I actually sang in public once when I was young, though not half as well as Ms. Lacroix. But I learned it, and that was something. What impresses me now in retrospect is that my dad was able to play the accompaniment! I knew Fauré's Lydia too, which is a man's song
O Lydia, rends-moi la vie, que je puisse mourir, mourir toujours!
and recognised his Rêve d'Amour.

In marked contrast to that arch-Romantic selection, the concert finished with ...

The songs from Newfoundland:

On the Newfoundland coast
All of these were sung by Mr. Lawlor, who comes from there. He was on the home straight now in more senses than one. Salt Water Joys was in jig style, to the accompaniment of Isabel's fiddle, as the decorous audience almost tapped its feet. He performed She's Like The Swallow unaccompanied. It's a beauty of a folk song, that I used to sing at school, though I remember slightly different words. And the concert finished with a really funny song or story, the iconic Newfoundland jig about Aunt Martha's Sheep


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