MasterVoices Presents NIGHT SONGS AND LOVE WALTZES
MasterVoices, led by its Artistic Director Ted Sperling, presents Night Songs and Love Waltzes, an evening of vocal and piano works on Friday, March 1, 2019 at 8:00 PM at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall. The ensemble's second concert of the 2018-2019 season will feature MasterVoices' 120 singers in a program including Johannes Brahms' Liebeslieder Waltzes and songs by other Romantic-era composers, Felix Mendelssohn, Clara and Robert Schumann, and Franz Schubert; Ricky Ian Gordon's Life Is Love, set to poems by Langston Hughes (new arrangements and a world premiere commissioned by MasterVoices); and the New York premiere of Ted Sperling's Night Waltzes, his arrangements of selections from Stephen Sondheim's A Little Night Music.
A stellar quartet of vocalists - Nicole Cabell, Soprano, Kate Aldrich, Mezzo-Soprano, Nicholas Phan, Tenor, and Nmon Ford, Baritone - as well as renowned piano duo Anderson & Roe, cellists Peter Sachon and Mairi Dorman, and a horn quartet led by Zohar Schondorf, join MasterVoices. The program encompasses multiple configurations: vocal solos, duets, trios, and quartets, men's chorus, women's chorus, and the full MasterVoices chorus. Anderson & Roe will also perform piano instrumental works.
Commenting on the program, Ted Sperling said, "With Night Songs and Love Waltzes, we evoke a time when enjoying music at home meant you had to make it yourself - singing with friends, either a cappella or gathered around a piano, or joined by other musicians. I've wanted to program Brahms' enchanting Liebeslieder Waltzes for a long time and we shaped the evening around this marvelous collection of short songs, which features soloists, chorus, and duo piano, inviting an outstanding roster of guest artists to make music with us. With songs by important Romantic-era composers, and works by contemporary geniuses Ricky Ian Gordon and Stephen Sondheim, interspersed with inspired piano pieces, we hope to create the sense of bonhomie that filled those long-gone salons."
Tickets, starting at $30 for Night Songs and Love Waltzes are available online at lincolncenter.org, by calling 212.721.6500, or in person at the Alice Tully Hall Box Office, 1941 Broadway, at West 66th Street.
Information about MasterVoices' 2018-2019 season can be found at mastervoices.org.
Night Songs and Love Waltzes
Ted Sperling, Artistic Director, Conductor
Nicole Cabell, Soprano
Kate Aldrich, Mezzo-Soprano
Nicholas Phan, Tenor
Nmon Ford, Baritone
Anderson & Roe, Piano Duo
Peter Sachon, Cello
Mairi Dorman, Cello
Zohar Schondorf, French Horn
RODGERS AND SONDHEIM; arr. Ted Sperling Do I Hear A Waltz? from Do I Hear a Waltz?
BRAHMS Liebeslieder Walzer, Op. 52
BRAHMS, arr. ANDERSON & ROE Virtuoso Hungarian Dance (based on Hungarian Dance No. 5 in G minor)
SCHUBERT Ständchen, D. 920
Robert Schumann Jagdlieder, Op. 137
Robert Schumann Mondnacht, Op. 39, No. 5
Robert Schumann Zigeunerleben, Op. 29, No. 3
SONDHEIM, arr. Ted Sperling (NY premiere) Night Waltzes, Choral Suite from A Little Night Music
CLARA SCHUMANN Gondoliera
MENDELSSOHN Verleih' uns Frieden
PIAZZOLLA, arr. ANDERSON & ROE Libertango
Ricky Ian Gordon Life is Love*
*Song cycle to poems of Langston Hughes, new arrangements, and a world premiere commission by MasterVoices.
More About the Vocal Works
Clara Schumann enjoyed a career in the public sphere as a composer and performer, an achievement rare for a woman at the time. She always included at least one of her own works in every performance to promote her compositional skill. Her Gondoliera from 1848, is one of three choral works for mixed voices composed in honor of her husband, Robert Schumann's 38th birthday.
The Robert Schumann works on the program are the well-known part song Zigeunerleben (Gypsy Life) Op. 29, No. 1 for soloists, mixed choir, and piano, set to a poem by Emanuel Geibel, Jagdlieder (Hunting Songs) Op. 137 for men's choir and four french horns, from the composer's Waldszenen, and Mondnacht (Moonlit Night) Op. 39, No. 5 for tenor and piano. These three works showcase the composer's love of poetry that embodies the many facets of Romanticism.
In 1827 Franz Schubert was asked by a friend, Anna Fröhlich to write a serenade to a poem by another friend, Franz Grillparzer, for her female pupil's 24th birthday. Misunderstanding the request, Schubert composed Ständchen (also known as "Notturno") D920 for a male chorus, but Anna and her female friends wanted to serenade the birthday girl. He reworked the song for mezzo-soprano, female chorus, and piano. MasterVoices' program will present this version to showcase the women's chorus, with mezzo-soprano soloist, Kate Aldrich.
The poetry of Langston Hughes has long served as inspiration for composer Ricky Ian Gordon. His two song cycles of Hughes poems for solo voice and piano - Genius Child (1993) and Only Heaven (1995) - received high praise. Reviewing the latter, Opera News said his settings were "melodic, intimate, with an inspired gift for bringing out the inner music of a given poem in unexpected ways." For MasterVoices, Gordon has reworked earlier Hughes settings, and has written a new song, God, commissioned by the ensemble, which will receive its world premiere. The cycle is composed for soloists, chorus, piano four-hands, horns, and cellos. Duo Anderson & Roe are also featured in a piano four-hands instrumental movement.
There is a strong suggestion from a 1868 letter Johannes Brahms wrote to the widowed Clara Schumann, that his Liebeslieder Walzer Op. 52, for two pianists with vocal quartet, written that same year, was borne of his frustration and unrequited love for her. The texts are from Georg Friedrich Daumer's Polydora, a collection of 18 folk songs and love poems.
Stephen Sondheim's 1973 musical masterpiece, A Little Night Music, inspired by the Bergman film, Smiles of a Summer Night, explores the entangled romantic lives of several couples. In his Night Waltzes, Ted Sperling has made soaring new arrangements for soloists, chorus, piano, cellos, and horns to selections from the beloved, Award-winning musical. This performance will be the work's New York premiere.