Songs from Colin’s Kisses                                                      James Oswald (1711 – 1797)

The Tutor                                                                                                                  

The Borrow’d Kiss

The Parting Kiss

The Imaginary Kiss

The Meeting Kiss

You may remember James Oswald from our October concert – he was one of the Scottish Enlightenment’s most important composers.  Tonight we hear songs from his collection “Colin’s Kisses”, whose text illustrates the different types of kisses to provide hints to gentlemen in the arts of love.

Songs from the Chinese                                                                        Britten (1913 – 1976)

The Big Chariot                                                                                                   

The Old Lute

Autumn Winds

The Herd-boy


Dance Song

Written in 1957, these songs formed an important addition to the repertoire for guitar and voice, and were given their first performance by Peter Pears and Julian Bream.  The texts are taken from a translation by Arthur Waley of classical Chinese poems, and the songs cover familiar Britten themes of innocence, loss and regret.  Particularly haunting are The Old Lute with its nostalgic reminiscence of the instrument’s ancient melodies, the gently swaying rhythms depicting the ox journey in The Herd-boy and the melancholy guitar glissandi that sound throughout Depression, a meditation on age and decay.  The exuberant final Dance Song, however, brings the cycle to a rousing conclusion.

Corpus Christi Carol                                                                             Britten (1913 – 1976)

arranged for cello and guitar                                                                        

The ancient mediaeval text of the Corpus Christi carol was used by Britten in his opus 3, “A Boy was Born”, written when he was only nineteen.

Scottish Songs                                                                                    Respighi (1879 – 1936)

My Heart is in the Highlands                                                                               

The Piper of Dundee

Born in Bologna, Ottarino Respighi moved to Rome in 1913, teaching at the Conservatorio di Santa Cecilia.  He is best known as the composer of tone poems on the city – Fountains, Pines and Festivals of Rome – but he also wrote several operas and a quantity of songs, including in 1924 these settings of Scottish poems for voice and piano.

Larghetto and Allegro K 229 for solo guitar                                        Mozart (1756 – 1791)

The five divertimenti K229 were originally written for three basset horns (a tenor version of the clarinet).  The distinguished guitarist and lutanist Julian Bream made transcriptions of some of the movements for the guitar.

Variations on Mozart’s “O Cara Armonia” op. 9                                   Sor (1778 – 1839)                                                             

Fernando Sor was a Catalonian guitarist and composer, born in Barcelona.  After fleeing Paris at the Napoleonic invasion of 1809, he arrived in London, where he did much to raise the profile of the guitar, becoming the only player to appear at one of the Philharmonic Society’s concerts there.  One of Sor’s most famous works, this set of variations for solo guitar seems to have been inspired by the first London performance of Mozart’s Magic Flute in May 1819.  It begins with a fairly sombre original introduction before announcing Mozart’s beguiling theme, played by Papageno on his magic bells, O cara armonia.  On this Sor builds five variations, ranging from plaintive to pompous in mood.

Last ACMC Performance: Matthew McAllister, December 2008

 Zigeunerweisen op. 20                                                                      Sarasate (1844 – 1908)                                           

The Spanish composer Pablo Sarasate was born in Pamplona, and at the tender age of 12 was sent to study the violin at the Paris Conservatoire, where he won the Premier Prix.  As a composer, perhaps his best known work is Zigeunerweisen, Gypsy Airs, for violin and orchestra, written in 1878 and showing off his own dazzling technique.

 Two Operatic Arias:

“Ach, ich fühl’s, es ist verschwunden” from the Magic Flute          Mozart (1756 – 1791)                                                

This comes from the second act of the opera, when the heroine Pamina expresses her distress at the seeming inconstancy of her lover Tamino, who in fact cannot reply to her as he is bound by a vow of silence.

 “Myself I shall Adore” from Semele                                                  Handel (1685 – 1759)                                               

Written in 1743, and one of Handel’s most expressive and inventive works, this oratorio/opera tells the story of Semele, betrothed to another, but secretly in love with Jupiter, who has wooed her in disguise.  In this aria Jupiter’s wife Juno (also in disguise of course) holds up a magic mirror to Semele, who is overcome with admiration of herself.

December 2013 Programme Notes