Frost Amphitheater

 

PROGRAM INFORMATION

 

Jakub Józef Orliński, counter-tenor 
and Michał Biel, piano

 

Friday, March 11, 2022
7:30 PM
Bing Concert Hall


Artists


Jakub Józef Orliński, counter-tenor
Michał Biel, piano


Program


Texts and translations can be viewed here

 

JOHANN JOSEPH FUX (1660-1741)
   Non t’amo per il ciel (Il peccator contrito) [I love you not for the heaven (Repentant
   sinner)]
   
From the oratorio Il Fonte della salute, aperto dalla grazia nel Calvario K. 293
   (1716)

 

HENRY PURCELL (1659–1695)
   Music for a While (1692)
   Fairest Isle (1691)
   The Cold Song (1691)
   Strike the Viol (1694)

 

HENRYK CZYŻ (1923–2003)
From the song cycle Pożegnania (Farewells) (1948):
   I. Kochałem Panią (I loved you)
   II. Na wzgórzach Gruzji  (Over the hills of Georgia)
   III. Ostatni raz (For the last time)

 

HENRY PURCELL (1659-1695)
   Your awful voice I hear, from The Tempest

 

INTERMISSION

 

HENRY PURCELL (1659-1695)
    If music be the food of love (1692)

 

MIECZYSŁAW KARŁOWICZ (1876-1909)
From 6 Pieśni, Op. 1 and 10 Pieśni, Op. 3 (From 6 Songs, Op. 1 and 10 Songs, Op. 3)
    Nie płacz nade mną (Don't cry over me), Op. 3 No. 7 (1896)
    Z erotyków (From the Love Poems), Op. 3 No. 2 (1896) 
    Mów do mnie jeszcze (Speak to me still), Op. 3 No. 1 (1896)   
    Śpi w blaskach (The radiance of the night), Op. 3 No. 5 (1896)    
    Przed nocą wieczną (Before the eternal night), Op. 3 No. 6 (1896) 
    Na spokojnym, ciemnym morzu (Upon the calm, dark ocean), Op. 3 No. 4 (1896) 
    W wieczorną ciszę (In the evening stillness), Op. 3 No. 8 (1896)    
    Smutną jest dusza moja (My soul is sorrowful), Op. 1 No. 6 (1896) 
    Skąd pierwsze gwiazdy (Where the first stars), Op. 1 No. 2 (1896)   
    Czasem gdy długo na pół sennie marze (Sometimes, when I spend a long time
    dreaming, half asleep) (1895)
    Zaczarowana królewna (An enchanted princess), Op. 3 No. 10 (1896)  

 

STANISŁAW MONIUSZKO (1819-72)
    Łza from 7. Śpiewnik domow y (Tear from Home Songbook VII)
    Prząśniczka from 3. Śpiewnik domow y (Distaff from Home Songbook III)
    (pub. 1851)

 

GEORGE FRIDERIC HANDEL (1685-1759)
    Amen, Alleluia

 

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PROGRAM SUBJECT TO CHANGE. Please be considerate of others and turn off all phones, pagers, and watch alarms. Photography and recording of any kind are not permitted. Thank you.

HEALTH AND SAFETY: Masks are no longer required for indoor performances but are strongly recommended.


Program Notes


JOHANN JOSEPH FUX
Born in Hirtenfeld, Styria, 1660; died in Vienna, February 13, 1741
            Non t’amo per il ciel (Il peccator contrito) [I love you not for the heaven
            (Repentant sinner)

            From the oratorio Il Fonte della salute, aperto dalla grazia nel Calvario K. 293
            (1716)

From humble origins, Fux rose to become the highly respected Kapellmeister at the Viennese court. He wrote at least 80 masses for services in the Imperial Chapel and St. Stephen’s Cathedral. His 1725 treatise, Gradus ad Parnassum, not only gave Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven a solid grounding in fugal writing but remains in print to this day. Fux’s oratorio Il Fonte della salute includes the beautiful da capo aria Non t’amo per il ciel (I love you not for the heaven you can grant me). In it, the Repentant Sinner addresses the allegorical figure "La Grazia," proving that Fux, who wrote some 18 operas, did not save all his best melodies for the opera house. This oratorio was first performed in the Imperial Chapel in Vienna on April 10, 1716.


HENRY PURCELL
Born in London, England, 1658 or 9; died in London, November 21, 1695
               Music for a While (1692)
               Fairest Isle (1691)
               The Cold Song (1691)
               Strike the Viol (1694)

Henry Purcell was all but born to be an English Court musician. Both his father and uncle were members of the Chapel Royal. He was trained as a chorister there and by the time he was 20, Purcell was organist of Westminster Abbey, adding the Chapel Royal three years later. He also continued to sing, as both counter-tenor and bass. Thereafter, he produced the main part of his catalog to order: anthems, birthday odes, welcome songs, and coronation music for the four monarchs he served. Music for the Restoration theater filled the last five years of a productive life and resulted in incidental music for about 50 plays. Many of Purcell’s more than 300 solo songs were published three years after his death in a memorial collection called Orpheus Britannicus: a collection of the Choicest Songs . . .compos’d by Mr. Henry Purcell. A second volume followed four years later. Together, these collections confirmed Purcell as the English Orpheus, a role many would argue he maintains to the present day.

Music for a While is one of two songs Purcell wrote for the 1692 adaptation of the Sophocles play Oedipus by John Dryden and Nathaniel Lee. In this famous air from Oedipus, King of Thebes, Z.583, constructed over a recurring bassline, or ground, the ghost of Laius, father of Oedipus, has been summoned from the underworld to name his murderer and help lift the curse laid on the city of Thebes. Music provides a solace, but only “for a while.”

Fairest Isle is drawn from the final act of King Arthur, Z.628, a close collaboration between playwright John Dryden and Purcell in a genre known as semi-opera. Here, in a closing masque within the production, Venus lauds the birth of Britannia, the isle where the formerly warring Britons and Saxons will live together in peace and harmony.

In an earlier masque scene known as the Frost Scene, in Act 3 of King Arthur, Z.628, the air What power art thou is sung by the Cold Genius. This spirit awakens icily to Cupid’s call and only wishes to go back beneath the ice and snow to freeze again to death. Purcell’s vivid score, with its shivering effects in both voice and strings, paints the picture with all the frostiness of cold bones stiffly rising from the grave.

Strike the Viol again demonstrates Purcell’s mastery of the "ground"—the recurring bassline which becomes the foundation on which the melody is built. This song comes from the ode Come ye sons of art away, Z.323, which Purcell wrote for Queen Mary’s birthday on April 30, 1694.


HENRYK CZYŻ
Born in Grudziądz, Poland June 16, 1923; died in Warsaw, January 16, 2003
From the song cycle Pożegnania (Farewells) (1948):
               Kochałem Panią (I loved you)
               Na wzgórzach Gruzji  (Over the hills of Georgia)
               Ostatni raz (For the last time)

Polish conductor and composer Henryk Czyż was artistic director of the Łódź and Kracow Philharmonics, and Warsaw Opera, during the 1950s and 1960s, followed by the position as Generalmusikdirektor in Düsseldorf until 1972. In the 1960s, he conducted the world premières of several works by Penderecki including the St. Luke Passion and opera The Devils of Loudun. Czyż guest conducted throughout Europe and taught conducting for 15 years at the Warsaw Academy of Music, until 1995. He is remembered as an advocate for contemporary Polish music through his recordings, writing, memoirs, and television programs. A modest size catalog of compositions includes three stage works, orchestral, and chamber music often with a jazz, blues, or popular music flavor. His early song cycle Pożegnania (Farewells) is set to poems by Pushkin and dates from 1948. 


HENRY PURCELL (1659-1695)
              Your awful voice I hear (c1695) from The Tempest

There were many Restoration adaptations of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, including one by Dryden in 1667. This was later revived, further adapted, and "made into an opera" by Thomas Shadwell in 1695. Purcell wrote at least one song for this production, the other music being of uncertain origin. In the surviving score, the Act 5 recitative and aria Your awful voice I hear (Z.631) is an Italianate virtuoso da capo aria for countertenor with viola da gamba obbligato. It includes much illustrative word painting on such words as "storm," "down," and "trembling."


HENRY PURCELL (1659-1695)
                If music be the food of love (1692)

Purcell set If music be the food of love three times, all carefully drawn with varying emphases and all for solo voice and keyboard. The song is set to a text describing love’s transports by Colonel Henry Heveningham (1651-1700), with its first line from Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night.     


MIECZYSŁAW KARŁOWICZ
Born in Wiszniew, Święcany district, Lithuania (now Belarus), December 11, 1876; died nr Zakopane, Tatra Mountains, Poland, February 8, 1909
From 6 Pieśni, Op. 1 and 10 Pieśni, Op. 3 (From 6 Songs, Op. 1 and 10 Songs, Op. 3)
                Nie płacz nade mną (Don't cry over me), Op. 3 No. 7 (1896)
                Z erotyków (From the Love Poems), Op. 3 No. 2 (1896)  
                Mów do mnie jeszcze (Speak to me still), Op. 3 No. 1 (1896)    
                Śpi w blaskach (The radiance of the night), Op. 3 No. 5 (1896)
                Przed nocą wieczną (Before the eternal night), Op. 3 No. 6 (1896)  
                Na spokojnym, ciemnym morzu (Upon the calm, dark ocean), Op. 3 No. 4
                (1896)
                W wieczorną ciszę (In the evening stillness), Op. 3 No. 8 (1896)    
                Smutną jest dusza moja (My soul is sorrowful), Op. 1 No. 6 (1896) 
                Skąd pierwsze gwiazdy (Where the first stars), Op. 1 No. 2 (1896)   
                Czasem gdy długo na pół sennie marze (Sometimes, when I spend a long
                time dreaming, half asleep) (1895)   
                Zaczarowana królewna (An enchanted princess), Op. 3 No. 10 (1896) 
 

Born on the family estate in what is now Belarus, Mieczysław Karłowicz spent the first decade of his life following the path of his linguist-father’s studies in Heidelberg, then Prague, then Dresden, before the family eventually settled in Warsaw in 1887. Here Karłowicz received musical training in violin and musical theory with the encouragement of his father, who was also an amateur cellist, composer and writer on music. The foundations laid, Karłowicz set off for Berlin, initially with the intention of studying violin with Joachim, but, failing this, he turned to composition, studying from 1895 to 1901 with violinist-composer Heinrich Urban (whose other pupils included Paderewski and Wanda Landowska). While in Berlin, Karłowicz composed most of his 22 songs, publishing 17 of them as his Opp. 1, 3, and 4 when he was 20. The "missing" opus number is the attractive, if conventionally lyrical Serenade for Strings, Op. 2 from 1897. A violin concerto and programmatic symphony were also written in Berlin.  

Back in Warsaw, Karłowicz was associated with the "Young Poland" group of composers, who included Szymanowski, and who embraced the modernism of the late 19th and emerging 20th century musical language. Karłowicz left behind the songs of his youth and turned instead to the symphonic poem. He composed a series of six, notably Stanisław and Anna of Oświecim, little known outside Poland, yet on which his reputation is built. His death at the age of 32 in a skiing accident in the High Tatra mountains left Poland without one of its more promising young composers. 


STANISŁAW MONIUSZKO
Born in Ubiel, nr Minsk, then Russia, now Belarus, May 5, 1819; died in Warsaw, June 4, 1872
               Łza from 7. Śpiewnik domow y (Tear from Home Songbook VII)
               Prząśniczka from 3. Śpiewnik domow y (Distaff from Home Songbook III)
               (pub. 1851)

With his more than 20 operas and operettas, Polish composer Stanisław Moniuszko became the leading Polish opera composer of the 19th century. Like Glinka in Russia and Smetana in Bohemia and the other Czech lands, Moniuszko chose Polish subjects and settings to foster a national style. However, based in Warsaw and composing, largely, in the periods between the insurrections of 1830 and 1863, his musical language tended to be conservative and, essentially, music for the people. Chopin, a fellow student at the Warsaw Conservatory, found this atmosphere stifling and quickly left for Vienna, then Paris. Moniuszko had great success with Halka (1848/58) a tragic tale of the love of a peasant girl for a wealthy landowner, underpinned with choral polonaises representing the nobility, while its krakowiak and mazurka arias and dances represent the people. In other operas he and his librettists had to steer a cautious course around the Russian censor.

With songs, Moniuszko was on safer ground and provided what a conservative audience needed—a form of Polish hausmusik, with a set of 12 immensely popular Śpiewnik domow y (Home Songbooks), issued from 1843 until well after his death. He wrote, in all, some 360 songs, many of them deeply imbued with the spirit of Polish folksong. 

Łza (Tear) is found in the posthumously published seventh book of the Home Songbooks (1876). Its melancholy message is reflected in the song’s falling musical lines.

In Prząśniczka (Distaff) (pub. 1851), the busy piano part portrays an angelic young woman spinning at her spinning wheel while her young man bids a temporary tearful farewell. The song has an ironic edge since she spins away for three days until approached by another young man, with whom she is evidently pleased. “Shame on you” the song concludes. 


GEORGE FRIDERIC HANDEL
Born in Halle, Germany, February 23, 1685; died in London, England, April 14, 1759
                Amen, Alleluia

No, this is not Handel’s Messiah; there’s no need to stand! . . . Handel, in fact, wrote a series of nine Amen, Alleluia arias for solo voice and continuo, now neatly catalogued as HWV269-277. They date from c1728 to the 1740s, according to editor Stephan Blaut who has done watermark analysis of the manuscript paper they were written upon. He believes they were written primarily for the private music-making of the devout and were possibly sung by the daughters of George II. Little known today, as in Handel’s day, a performance of one of these often vocally virtuoso pieces (setting just the words "Amen" and "Alleluia") remains a rarity on the concert stage.

 

—Program notes © 2022 Keith Horner. Comments welcomed: khnotes@sympatico.ca


About the Artists


Jakub Józef Orliński, counter-tenor
Polish countertenor Jakub Józef Orliński has established himself as one of the world’s leading artists, triumphing on stage, in concert, and on recording. An exclusive artist on the Warner/Erato label, his first rcording, entitled Anima Sacra, earned him the prestigious Opus Klassik award for Solo Vocal Recording, while his second, Facce d’amore, earned him the Recording (Solo Recital) of the Year at the 2021 International Opera Awards. His sold-out concerts and recitals throughout Europe and the United States have attracted new followers to the art form, and his live performance of Vivaldi’s “Vedrò con mio diletto,” filmed at the Aix-en-Provence Festival, has amassed more than seven million online views. Television appearances, including the “Concert de Paris” at the Eiffel Tower and “Rebâtir Notre Dame de Paris,” both with the Orchestre National de France and Les Victoires de la Musique Classique awards concert accompanied by the Orchestre de l’Opéra National de Lyon, have been broadcast to millions worldwide. In 2019, he was the subject of a major profile in The New Yorker and featured in Polish Vogue. His third album—entitled Anima Aeterna, featuring sacred arias and motets from the Baroque era—was released in October 2021 and toured throughout Europe with Il Pomo d’Oro. His next album, Farewells, will be released soon.

This season, Mr. Orliński makes his much anticipated debut at the Metropolitan Opera as Orpheus’s Double in the Met premiere of Matthew Aucoin’s Eurydice, under the baton of Yannick Nézet-Séguin. He also makes his house and role debut at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, as Didymus in Handel’s Theodora in a new production by Katie Mitchell. On the concert stage, he joins Il Pomo d’Oro for two European tours featuring his new album, Anima Aeterna, with stops in Bayreuth, Hamburg, Milan, Madrid, and Barcelona, as well as Ensemble Matheus and conductor Jean-Christophe Spinosi for performances in Bratislava and at the Lednice-Valtice Music Festival. In recital, he embarks on tours of both North America and Europe, joined by his longtime collaborator, pianist Michał Biel. He performs on three occasions at Wigmore Hall as part of a season-long residency. 


Michał Biel, piano
Polish pianist Michał Biel studied at the Juilliard School, where he was taught by Brian Zeger, Margo Garrett, Jonathan Feldman and J.J. Penna. He has also studied under Eytan Pessen at Teatr Wielki’s Opera Academy, Warsaw, as well as Andrzej Jasiński and Grzegorz Biegas at the Karol Szymanowski Academy of Music, Katowice.

Michał’s collaborations have already taken him to the world’s most celebrated concert halls, including Wigmore Hall, London, Carnegie Hall and the Alice Tully Hall in New York. He has also appeared in recital on such eminent international stages as at the Oper Frankfurt, Opéra de Lille and the Polish National Opera. Michał regularly collaborates with countertenor Jakub Józef Orliński, with whom he has performed at many prestigious festivals including the Verbier Festival, Life Victoria Barcelona and Pierre Cardin’s Festival de Lacoste. Their work together has been broadcast by Medici TV, BBC3 and TVP Kultura, amongst others.

In partnership with American bass Alexander Rosen, Michał won 2nd Prize at the Hugo Wolf International Art Song Competition in Stuttgart in 2018, and together they are laureates of the Academy Orsay-Royaumont. Michał’s numerous other accolades include Outstanding Young Pianist at the Stanisław Moniuszko International Singing Competition, Warsaw, Best Young Accompanist at Le Grand Prix de l’Opéra in Bucharest, and Outstanding Accompaniment at the L. Różycki Vocal Competition in Gliwice.

Michał holds residencies as a collaborative pianist at the Juilliard School Vocal Arts Department as well as the Internationale Meistersinger Akademie in Neumarkt. Deeply invested in collaborating with singers since the start of his career, he has worked at the Winter Singing Course in Duszniki Zdrój and the Wratislavia Cantans Festival, and continues to coach singers at the Chautauqua Institution School of Music Voice Program.

 

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