This week I have had such a wonderful time! Continuous blue skies with a sprinkling of sun rays and the opportunity to perform for a variety of audiences.
On Monday morning, before taking ‘The Little White Town of Never Weary’ on tour we performed the show at the Scottish Opera Studios in Glasgow, for staff of the institution and a local primary school. My lovely teacher Judith Howarth also came along to support me and gave me some great pointers to aid my singing.
Francis Thorburn, Me, Stuart Semple and John Kielty ( copyright Tim Morozzo )
This was very exciting as it was our first public practise in costume to iron out any wrinkles, but more importantly to make sure it was entertaining for the target audience of 5-8 year old children. To add to the nerves, it was recorded for Scottish Opera records and the wonderful photographer Tim Morozzo took some snaps of it for promotion. The piece ran smoothly and the children were really enthusiastic and enjoyed the jokes which was very exciting ahead of our first public performances. As a company we were able to relax into the characters and take more risks during the later run. After the performance we stayed in costume and created this short video to advertise the show. It was fun to work with camera! A new experience for me.
Iain Piercy ( one of the set designers )
On Wednesday morning at 10:00 I performed my final recital of my undergraduate degree at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. It took place in the Stephenson Hall and some of my family were able to come and watch, along with some friends and staff from the school. Who all gave me lovely feedback afterwards. I performed alongside George Todica, who did an amazing job of the accompaniment. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and I will always remember the lessons I have learnt during my time at the RCS.
After this I got changed quickly and made a mad dash to the Scottish Opera Building and I travelled to Kirkcudbright with Jane and Ian who very kindly took me with them so I didn’t have to drive after my adrenaline filled morning. We had a lovely trip in the most beautiful countryside. After lunch I went straight into a rehearsal in the new performance space so that the company and I were ready for our opening performance on Thursday morning.
In between performances we were able to relax in the beautiful town, everyone was wonderful company. We took some lovely walks around the town and I visited the toll booth clock and Jessie M King’s house which both inspired the stage design for the opera.
By Saturday lunchtime we had performed five shows and then my family and George and Alex came and watched the public show in the afternoon. It was such a treat to perform for them and they got stuck in and helped the young children with the art workshop that takes place during the performance. After that the company and I took down the stage and started to pack it all into the van like a huge game of Tetris! Once completed we hit the road ready for a restful Sunday today.
This coming week we are performing two shows in Musselburgh and three in Falkirk.
• As part of my course this year I have elected to take part in a Critical Writing course, where I am taught how to analyse performances and offer my opinion in a critical way.
• The teachers are very enthusiastic which makes the course seem very exciting.
• We discuss and write about dance, acting and music.
Samantha Quillish And Me after the concert
On Friday 17th October, I went to watch a concert with my friends Samantha Quillish and Chelsea Plaskitt and I thought I would use the opportunity to try and see if I could have a go at writing a piece for my module. This is my first attempt so I would love any feedback that you could give me :).
Scottish Chamber Orchestra (SCO) : Haydn & Mahler
Glasgow City Halls
The evening started with the powerful and emotional performance of Howokawa’s Meditation. An incredible interpretation and dedication to the victims of the Tsunami on 11th March 2011, focusing on the children lost in the disaster. It included a ferocious duet from violins who appeared to embody demons, their bows striking and hair whipping, which created a visual element to the piece. However the energetic music was interrupted by deathly silent pauses and animalistic sounds created using modern playing techniques. These sounds made me imagine the shrieking cries and the wailing of the school walls crashing into the ground. Then this sound world was disturbed aggressively by thunder claps from percussion which made your ears ring, and your heart race. Waves of music and a sense of destruction filled the pauses after each three consequential hits. ROBIN TICCIATI allowed the sound to reverberate around the hall and die into terrible nothingness. A dynamically active and emotionally hard hitting opening to a Friday evening.
The Scottish Chamber Orchestra (SCO) then welcomed KAREN CARGILL to the stage to perform ‘Kindertotenlieder’ by Mahler, continuing the theme of mourning of lost children. From the opening Cargill captured the solemn landscape of this music honestly and gripped the audience’s attention. Standing tall and free from physical tension she displayed with clear consonants and richly dark vocal tone the suffering a parent encounters after losing a child. The cycle continued to develop and an unsolvable pain resonated through the interpretation, through to the last song where Cargill gripped her hands into fists during the introduction. The first sign of physical embodiment of the text. This arriving at the end of the cycle left the audience spellbound and overtaken.
After the interval the SCO performed Mahler’s ‘Blumine’ which caused me to imagine a Disney scene of a park in the spring, surrounded in flowers, where two loves meet to celebrate their love with a first kiss. With a regal tone setting the mood this delicate piece painted a sweet and enjoyable scene, a great contrast after a deeply moving first half.
The concert ended with the rich and sonorous performance of Haydn’s London Symphony. Ticciati had a creative control over the orchestra and executed echoes and the shape of the piece with enthusiasm and excitement. The music was very merry and triumphant. However, I couldn’t help but wonder how the piece could be interpreted to represent modern London. With all the characters and experiences it has to offer now. But it was a magnificent way to finish the concert. But for me the opening piece of the evening was outstanding and really got my blood pumping!
My final recital of the Summer was held at St George The Martyr Church in Preston on the 19th September. My parents were taking me up to Glasgow after the recital and I was so happy that they would be there to watch me perform. The day started well, we had packed the car so tightly with all my essentials and with just enough room to squeeze me on the back seat we set off to Preston. It was a warm sunny day and the time passed quickly, when we arrived in the town my Dad parked in the shopping centre and we all set off to find the church.
St George The Martyr
We came out on the wrong side of the shopping centre and it took a little time to find the church but when we arrived Edmund Crighton was there to welcome us and I got down to my warm ups and rehearsals with Russell Lomas. I performed alongside Elizabeth Lawton a flautist and we so enjoyed performing there as the audience was so receptive.
After the recital Glasgow beckoned and so we jumped back in the car and headed north to Scotland, still part of the United Kingdom after the vote, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and the start of my third year there 🙂
Here is one of the songs that I performed in my recital, “Love’s Philosophy” by Roger Quilter and I do hope that you enjoy it.
This beautiful song was inspired by the lyrics from a poem by Percy Shelly which I believe tries to remind us that harmony and love are all around 🙂
The fountains mingle with the River
And the Rivers with the Ocean,
The winds of Heaven mix for ever
With a sweet emotion;
Nothing in the world is single;
All things by a law divine
In one another’s being mingle.
Why not I with thine?
See the mountains kiss high Heaven
And the waves clasp one another;
No sister-flower would be forgiven
If it disdained its brother;
And the sunlight clasps the earth
And the moonbeams kiss the sea:
What are all these kissings worth
If thou kiss not me?
I’m so excited and I just can’t hide it, eeep!! The third year of my four year full time degree programme starts from this weekend when I’ve headed back North to Glasgow. You can read more about my course at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland website I‘m asked on twitter a lot for more details. The vocal department has around 100 first study singers over the six years on BMus and MMus courses, with a further 20 singers taking the advanced MMus Opera route.
We have a new principal this year an American pianist, composer and educator called Jeffrey Sharkey who was previously the Director of the Peabody Institute of the John Hopkins University in Baltimore. Prior to that he was Dean of the Cleveland Institute of Music and before that he was the Director of Music at the Purcell School in London. He is a graduate of the Manhattan School of Music, Yale University and the University of Cambridge, it’s always exciting for me to be a part of any change and he has told us in his statement that he has great enthusiasm and excitement for our future together. He intends to “hit the ground running” which is just how I like it.
Welcome To The RCS To Our New Principal – Jeffrey Sharkey
In all four years of the course amongst other modules there are two singing lessons per week with fabulous teachers and classes in Performance. On a rota basis each singer performs for about 15 to 20 minutes for the whole group to build confidence and create a supportive environment amongst each other.
Year one was Italian language and repertoire.
Year two was more demanding repertoire and starting the study of German language and coaching in Lieder.
Year three is French language and repertoire with a first assessment at the end of the first Trimester, as I’ve not sung much French repertoire this is pretty much is how I feel about that 🙂
Seriously though, I love a challenge and can’t wait to get stuck in, “au revoir à bientôt”.
Well we dropped Tom off at Glasgow University he’s studying Geography and the university was in the top 5 in the UK for Geography in the 2014 guide he used, he is also taking archaeology and philosophy as extra modules in his first year. Then we dusted and vacuumed my flat ready for me to move back in next week. The weekend was a little emotional for me as this was my little brother venturing out into the world and as his big sister I felt just a little protective of him 🙂
Inside the quadrangle which house the Geography department.
Glasgow University As Night Draws In
“Did you pack every item of clothing in your wardrobe!” Mum said on the Friday evening as Tom’s student wardrobe was bulging. “Nearly” said Tom “then I don’t have to wash and iron clothes for a couple of weeks!” he added. The student village houses about 1000 students and we’d just done the car parking dance where there are about five spaces per block of flats and twelve cars vying for each of them, with abandoned cars blocking the roads. “Why on earth do they give everyone a 5pm start time!” Mum cried, she thought that was just his slot, but it seemed it was everyone’s. But once we managed to get the car unloaded it all seemed a little more relaxed and the number of people frantically running around started to dwindle.
The Murano Street student village in Glasgow
I thought my older brother Matt and I had given Tom all of our six years of collective University advice but we still forgot to tell him to take a padlock for the kitchen cupboard and a mat for the floor near his sink in the bedroom. We’d remembered plasters, headache tablets, Andrews Salts in case he gave himself an upset tummy, an extension cable and all of his clothes hangers (all essential 🙂 ) along with a long list of items you just cant live without as a student.
We lined his new Stabilo colour markers, pens, pencils, lever arch files, refill pads and notebooks on his desk shelves, I don’t know why but I love new stationery. Everything else was found a place to live for the next year and in the end it looked a lot more homely. The one thing we had to do once we had his new address was buy his TV licence £145 so that he could watch his football on his iPad (sadly no actual TV ). I think he’d want to come home if he couldn’t watch his beloved Manchester City.
Tom stood with the Capital One Cup and the Premiership Trophy on his last visit to watch Manchester City at the Etihad stadium.
I’m proud of my little brother today; he text us to say he’d walked to Tesco and checked the prices, OK he was buying unhealthy Pepsi Max but six cans for £3.49 and eight cans for £2.00 really was a no brainer but at least he noticed! He added three pasta meals for £6.00, bread and a bag of apples all for under a £10 so he was happy.
He just had to share his great find with us 🙂
The best thing is that I am only 30 minutes away if he wants to visit and chill out or pop around for his Sunday dinner. We are also invited to some of the Freshers’ activities and I’ve been invited to a fancy dress party with friends as a character I just love, all will be revealed next week he he.
I will let you know what next year has in store for me at College after I am all settled in on Sunday.
Finally, if you missed it I added my end of Second Year Rusalka’s Song to the Moon onto my Soundcloud page if you’d like to take a listen.
Sometimes on my lunch break from work, I enjoy getting crafty with my Mum and my friend Gill. So when Gill offered to show me a new technique to colour cards and paper I jumped at the chance. It was going to be fun as it involved shaving foam, card dyes and possibly getting messy. 🙂
To start, I sprayed an even layer of (bargain priced) shaving foam onto a plastic tray.
After adding the shaving foam to the messy tray I sprayed the dye on to the surface of one side.
I then added a second colour to the surface.
Then to add a little texture to the surface I used a wooden stick to create straight lines up and down the shaving foam mixing the colour on the surface of the foam.
Then take the piece of card or paper that you want to transfer the pattern to and place it gently on the surface of the shaving foam.
Once the paper is resting on the surface of the shaving foam press it gently to get an even coating of colour.
Peel back the paper or card gently and evenly lift it out of the tray.
Place the paper or card flat on your work surface.
Then gently scrape off any shaving foam that has stuck to surface with a ruler or other straight edge.
The ink dries quickly to the paper or card and you can wipe away any foam that might be left.
The swirls and patterns can make lovely backgrounds for cards or other craft projects.
It is really quick to do and the only other thing that I would recommend to you is using latex gloves to keep the dye off your fingers. You can use the shaving foam in your messy tray more than once just add a little extra dye.
If you give it go I would love to hear from you, Oh and don’t tell my Dad it was me that took his shaving foam 😉
On Matt’s birthday we made chocolate cake. Whilst it was baking in the oven we talked about our late break holiday that my Dad had booked us all on to Paris, France.
It was only a one hour flight from Manchester and it was somewhere that Matt, Tom and I had always wanted to visit.
We were looking forward to seeing all the sights and with a bit of luck some sunny weather was predicted.
We arrived in the early evening so we decided our first foray into Paris would be along the River Seine to see Notre Dame Cathedral. The views along the banks of the Seine were exquisitely beautiful and it made for a fabulous first evening in Paris.
Outside “The Louvre” with my lovely brothers.
We decided to walk along the banks of “La Seine” to “Notre-Dame de Paris”
Outside “Notre-Dame de Paris”
In the “Square Jean XXIII” where small concerts are often performed.
Lover’s padlocks on the “Pont de L’Archeveche”.
Just taking 5 minutes before heading back to the hotel.
River boat cruises are very popular.
We saw Graffiti on the tops of buildings and you have to ask “How” and “Why”.
Intriguing, does anybody know what this is ?
Paris art, “Oh La La, does my bottom look big in this?” lol
We visited the “Opera National de Paris” later in the week. We saw it when we first arrived and I’ll tell you more about it in my next post.
The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is a mixed discipline conservatoire that covers a wide spectrum of training in the arts. One aspect is Film Studies and Digital TV and one of the friends I made last year, Michael Ferns, is just about to release a short film called ‘A Cold Day in June’ after graduating in 2012. He promised me an interview for my blog so even though he’s busy in London I nagged, scratch that, reminded him politely to tell me more about what he’s been up to:
What is your educational background Michael?
I went to Balfron High School, to the west of Stirling, you leave school after just 6 years, instead of the seven years you have in England, the Scottish system is a little bit different, so I started at the RCS age 17 and I was there for three years, then I graduated with a BA in Digital Film and Television. I really enjoyed my time at the RCS the place is great, the contacts you make there are great, the cross curricular collaboration is good.
Who were your favourite people to work with: singers, actors, dancers?
Talking to you Charlotte I’m going to have to say singers 🙂 but it depends what for, music videos: I enjoy creating videos with singers and bands and of course with my films with actors obviously. I met Billy Boyd when he contacted me after seeing and liking my website. it was a dream come true as he was a star of one of my favourite film franchises of all time Lord of the Rings (he played the part of Pippin Took). He wanted a music video to ‘Please Stay’, we started the first video which was a basic concept just at the end of my 3rd year before I graduated; we used a lot of people from my class. He was really happy with that. We did the second video with him on location in Penrith in the North of England and in Glasgow called ‘The Clown’ which was rather more ambitious than the first. We filmed it in November. It involved sinking Billy Boyd in a boat into a freezing cold loch.
Were you in the water or were you dry?
I wasn’t dry it was pouring down with rain, but I wasn’t actually in the water, it was a very arduous experience.
Can you see the music video on-line?
Yes , I will send you the link.
Here it is, well worth watching, a message that not everyone you know with a smile is happy:
Congratulations for your BAFTA how did you win and what were you awarded for?
When I was 17 we got funding from the Lottery and The Co-op to make a period feature film called ‘Kirk’ based on the Scottish Legend of this Reverend in the 1600’s who believed fairies lived on the top of the hill of the Parish where he lived, everyone in the village thought he was crazy. He wrote a book called ‘The Secret Commonwealth of Elves, Fauns and Fairies’ published in 1691 it’s still available now. The film was based on his writings, his wife thought he was crazy too. He died on the top of the hill and loads of people believe he was taken by the fairies and we made the film based on his story, it was very low budget, everyone was doing stuff for free. We won the best feature film at the Manchester Film Festival and I won the best Director at the BAFTA New Talent awards 2010.
Wow that’s impressive. Were you nominated or did you put yourself forward?
We were nominated. There were three nominees that year. We had no idea we’d won.
Did you get a red carpet treatment?
Yes there was a red carpet actually and there is even an embarrassing acceptance speech on line somewhere. I don’t particularly enjoy being in front of the camera. I certainly wouldn’t want to act. I would love to be able to sing but I can’t, I would love to be able to do that but as my singer friend Lawrence will testify its not my area of expertise.
Ahh but do you enjoy your own singing? Could I tempt you to do me a Vox-pop to go with this interview?
Maybe totally alone singing to myself, but no I wouldn’t want to inflict it on too many people at once. I’m quite good at auto-tuning software though so I could get you a polished version later 🙂 .
So what’s next for you and what are your hopes for the future?
Having moved to London I’ve signed with a commercial agent to make tv commercials but I’d love to make big budget feature films, like Lord of the Rings or Jurassic Park, something big and impressive.
So what is the definition of a ‘feature film’?
What everyone would consider a film at the Cinema, the bigger the budget the better something with heart, not really Transformers for me as I like films where you care for the people in the movie?
What are you favourite Top movies?
Lord of the Rings Trilogy, so many but those are my two favourites.
Did you like the Hobbit?
I didn’t really like the Hobbit, maybe because my friend Billy isn’t in that one. I don’t know, it was ok I thought it lacked a bit of heart. It was a big CGI spectacular but I missed the funny characters. It was good for what it was but it wasn’t what Lord of the Rings was.
I agree with you on the Hobbit.
How many people are normally on your production team?
On the latest couple of short films and adverts its normally about 20 to 25 and I would say it depends on the cast number on top of that and if there are children you need chaperones.
Have you swapped into other roles or do you stick to the directing?
Not on set but I edit a lot of stuff and work as an editor but I don’t really get involved in sound, lighting on the set. You can get editing work for experience and earnings whilst you’re waiting for directing opportunities.
What made you decide to get involved in this line of training/work?
It was from my Grandfather who was the Director of the Scottish Film Council and he set up the Glasgow Film Theatre and the Edinburgh Film House, he was the youngest director of the Edinburgh Film Festival, he had a camera and stuff he could give me and he knew a lot of contacts although many of them have passed away now. I think through his knowledge I was exposed to it and I got the bug when I was about 12 getting family to act in home videos for me, you know it went from there.
Do you ever write stories for yourself?
Generally if you’re a Director – you’re a director and you work with writers, my latest short film I wrote myself with my partner Lawrence Smith, we shot it three weeks ago and that’s being edited at the moment, I have a trailer for it you can link to. It’s called ‘A Cold Day in June’. Its set over an hour (the film is twenty minutes long) following a tragic accident where a young girl falls off the end of a pier and drowns and the aftermath of that. There are two sisters, the mother and her sister who is visiting, who suspect the younger son of potentially being involved, the mother worried that her husband who is the boys stepfather will blame the son because it’s not his son and it’s his daughter that has died. So it’s about her in this horrible moment thinking about what to tell her husband.
Sounds very hard hitting
So are you planning on filming any opera singers one day soon?
I’d absolutely love to collaborate with Charlotte Hoather on her first epic music video.
Ah that would be cool, awesome.
On the top of a hilltop or something.
Definitely this is starting to come together, maybe involve dance as well if it’s going to be epic!
So that’s the dream Charlotte. I’ll keep you posted on my progress on my Website and Facebook.
Fabulous Michael, thanks so much for this interview I bet your fingers are itching to edit this piece after you read it 🙂 .
Hmmm I best not suggest a Ruselka’s ‘Song to the Moon’ video as he seems to like submerging people waist deep into freezing cold lochs. I think I’ll re-learn Summertime 🙂
The other day I decided to try my hand at BIG CURLS 🙂 I had seen the look on several pictures and wanted to experiment with a softer look. So my day started really well. Whilst my hair was drying I spent some time catching up with some of my friends on their blogs and reading what they were getting up to.
I started to read an article about creativity and inventiveness and I caught sight of this picture 🙂
This was originally a Mercedes Benz Advert
I guess this is what the inside of my head looks like 🙂 I am sure that most of you already thought that anyway. I love the idea of someone’s creativity simply just bursting out and engulfing those around them.
Then this morning I took a walk down to the RCS to see what was going on. I found myself in the foyer and there was certainly a bit of a buzz going on. I found out that there was a TEDx conference being held there and although I had seen some TED videos on-line I had never attended such an event before. I asked if there were any tickets left and the staff arranged an amazing deal for me allowing me to get hold one of the few remaining tickets, with lunch included 🙂
From one of my earlier blog posts in which I wrote about inspirational speakers I knew that TED was an organisation devoted to sharing and developing ideas to enable a deeper understanding of the world around us. So for a creative dreamer on a Sunday morning who loves to explore new things this seemed too good to miss.
The Stage was set up with a projection screen, a red carpeted circle on the floor to show the speakers where to stand and two small screens on the floor, one was the dreaded timer for the speakers so they could see how they were using their 15 minutes. And the other was a screen with their presentation so they could see what was being projected behind them.
There were so many incredible speakers and I wrote lots of notes!
It was actually a great day and I found it very enriching to listen to the speakers and take on-board some of their ideas and suggestions.
Is a musician, craftsmen, furniture-maker and father of five, Alex still finds time to work closely with his business team to build the world’s largest psychographic database with over 300 million profiles.
Alex’s talk brought me to the subject of what makes us who we are and how technology can be used to help us communicate effectively. He explained why we communicate the way that we do and the importance of this communication in building a better understanding of our societies.
Alex helped me understand a little better why I love to share my experiences with my friends on the internet and how in turn these friends provide me with help and support at each fork in the road.
Alex was a lovely man who took time after his speech to talk with me, very memorable.
Is a Design Director of 4C Design Ltd, Will graduated from The Glasgow School of Art and has spent 15 years working in a wide range of industries as a specialist engineer.
William sparked my interest with his approach to learning through questioning. He explained that in order to move forward and achieve your goals you have to constantly question everything that you encounter. He explained that no matter how much you think that you understand about your chosen subject there is always something new that you can learn His approach of being super curious reminded me of my younger brother Tom, as he constantly questions everything until he thoroughly understands it.
Entrepreneur Josh Littlejohn is the business brain behind Social Bite, a sandwich shop in which 100% of profits are given to good causes and 1 in 4 of the team has been homeless until offered a fresh start and job.
It was great to listen to his views on social enterprise and get a feel for what drives him. I understand his drive and his utter belief in what he is doing.
I know that moving forward I have to positively ooze belief in what I want to achieve as I know I am going to face loads of obstacles in the year to come.
Josh’s talk helped to put a little perspective on what you can achieve if you set your heart on a goal and then focus all your energy on achieving that goal.
The other speakers were :
Mark Shephard, Corinne Hutton, Remzjie Sherifi, Katherine Trebeck, David Sibbald, Colin Birchenhall, Laura Montgomery, Martin Hendry, Talat Yaqoob, Paul Stallan, Cam Donaldson and Sir Harry Burns. Who each delivered splendid speeches and gave me loads to think about .
So the weekend started great and finished even better, which just goes to show that sometimes it is the unplanned things in our lives that provide some of the best experiences.
In closing I am posting a picture for George Todica to help promote his forthcoming recital in London this coming Thursday 12th June. George has been a tremendous help this year providing beautiful piano accompaniment for me and inspiring my performances. If you can catch his performance I am sure that you will have a wonderful afternoon.
Last weekend I was reflecting on my progress as a practitioner for my end of year critical commentary. One of the area of my practice that I want to improve upon over this next year is : Repertoire and contextual analysis.
In order to improve this, I have started a project which will entail, analysis of texts, research into Historical eras as well as researching into composers lives and possible influences on a compositions. I feel this research will give me even more to imagine about when I perform my pieces in order to give an exciting performance.
In this piece I will be focusing on a piece called ‘O Lieb’ by Liszt.
At first I created a word by word translation of the German Text and then I created my own poetic English translation:
Oh love, Oh love as long as you can! Oh love, Oh love as long as you wish! The hour will come, when you will stand by graves and mourn. And worry, that your heart glows, And cares for and carries love, So long as his, a different heart beats lovingly in reply.
And whoever opens their heart to you. Oh to him, love as much as you can! And make each of his hour’s happy And make no moment dull for him And look after your happy tongue, Too soon a bad word can be said Oh God, even if it was not said with bad intentions It can cause the other to leave and cry.
Oh Love, oh love as long as you can!
Ferdinand Freiligrath (1810-76) wrote the original German poem in 1845. In 1838, he wrote his first poems, ‘Gedichte’. The popularity of these poems enabled him to leave his career at the Bank as he received a pension from the Prussian King Frederick William IV. However in 1844, Freiligrath renounced his pension in order to release a collection of radical, political poetry. This publication exposed him to political persecution and Freiligrath fled Germany only to return in the last years of his life.
Franz Liszt (1811-86) was a virtuosic pianist, conductor and composer. Often Liszt’s Lieder can be found in two or more versions. In a letter to Josef Dessauer, Liszt wrote “Meine früheren Lieder sind moistens zu aufgebläht sentimental, und häufig zu vollgepropft in der Begleitung.” (My earlier songs are often too inflatedly sentimental, and frequently too overladen in the accompaniment). The later editions tend to be more serious, and the melody tries to match the syllabic rhythms of the text more. This song was later arranged for solo piano under the new title ‘Liebesträume’.
In this video the famous German actress and singer Marlene Dietrich recites the poem ‘O Lieb’ alongside Maximilian Schell who was a Swiss film and stage actor who later filmed extensive autobiographies of Dietrich. An interesting fact about Dietrich is that when her daughter was doing a Circus Benefit show in Madison Garden (1953) and all the famous stars were sitting on elephant backs, she asked if instead she could be the ring master. This fashion concept was then highlighted by Vogue and could be the inspiration for modern short shorts! 🙂
Marlene Dietrich is in the centre.
This video is really interesting as it shows the power of the text at the end of the clip. Where Dietrich appears lost for words. At the end I can roughly translate her words to:
“I know it might be considered a cheesy poem, but my mother loved it very much.
Maybe too sentimental nowadays…maybe.”
Her uneven spoken tone and possible whimpers could demonstrate how powerful these texts can effect peoples lives.
Here is one of my favorite recordings of the piece by the wonderful Diana Damrau. I would love to hear her perform live.