Karim Al-Zand

composer

date

2004

duration

23 minutes;
12 minutes;
11 minutes

instrumentation

mezzo-soprano, baritone, piano

awards

Winner: ArtSong Competition
(The Secret of Your Heart)

Winner: American Modern Ensemble Composition Competition
(The Secret Of Your Heart)

2nd Place: National Association of Teachers of Singing Art Song Composition Award
(The Secret Of Your Heart)

Finalist: San Francisco Song Festival 2005 American Art Song Competition
(The Secret Of Your Heart)

Finalist: San Francisco Song Festival 2006 American Art Song Competition
(The Sky With All Its Stars)

premiere

April 4, 2005
Aidan Soder, mezzo-soprano;
Paul Busselberg, baritone;
Calogero Di Liberto, piano

Duncan Recital Hall
Houston TX

Tagore Love Songs

for mezzo-soprano, baritone & piano

The Secret Of Your Heart

for mezzo-soprano & piano

The Sky With All Its Stars

for baritone & piano

about the piece:

Tagore Love Songs is a song cycle for mezzo-soprano and baritone. The singers alternate six songs each (the last two of which use the same text) then sing a final duet. The work may also be divided and performed as two solo cycles (omitting the final duet): The Secret Of Your Heart for mezzo-soprano, and The Sky With All Its Stars for baritone. The two song cycles may be performed independently. The order of the songs for each possibility is given below. The poems, drawn from various collections, are not given titles by Tagore; they are titled here by their first line (which may be given in a program).

Rabindranath Tagore (1861–1941) is one of India's most beloved literary figures. He is known primarily for his poetry, but his works also include numerous novels, plays, short stories, imagetravel diaries, autobiographical writings and many essays on philosophy, religion, education and social topics. He was also an accomplished painter and composer (of his over two thousand songs, two are now used as national anthems of India and Bangladesh). He was a close friend of Gandhi and was active in Indian political life before independence. Much of Tagore's money and time went towards an experimental school he founded at Shantiniketan, based on his ideals of an enlightened and free-thinking educational system. He wrote most of his important works in Bengali, but translated many works into English himself, including Gitangali [Song Offerings], for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1913.

The poems chosen for Tagore Love Songs are typical in their simple and elegant lyricism, buoyant humor, and striking imagery. They are drawn from three collections (The Gardener, 1913; Lover's Gift and Crossing, 1918; and The Fugitive and Other Poems, 1921) and are here arranged in a quasi-narrative, alternating solo songs between mezzo-soprano and baritone. The two last solo songs use the same text, though they are set quite differently, and the final song combines the voices in a duet. The complete text (public domain) is here.

image

Key: (Mezzo-Soprano) (Baritone) (Duet)

Tagore Love Songs

1. Do not keep to yourself
2. When she passed by me
3. When the two sisters go to fetch water
4. I would ask for still more
5. My heart, the bird of the wilderness
6. It was in May
7. My songs are like bees
8. Do not go, my love
9. He whispered, my love
10. If you would have it so
11a. Then finish the last song
11b. Then finish the last song
12. There are numerous strings in your lute

The Secret Of Your Heart

1. Do not keep to yourself
2. When the two sisters go to fetch water
3. He whispered, my love
4. Then finish the last song
5. My songs are like bees
6. My heart, the bird of the wilderness

The Sky With All Its Stars

1. When she passed by me
2. It was in May
3. Do not go, my love
4. If you would have it so
5. Then finish the last song
6. I would ask for still more