Program Notes

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Program Notes
Program Note – Faculty Chamber Recital
The genre of the melodrama, a dramatic setting for narrator and accompaniment, exists mostly on the
periphery of music history, but its popularity lasted almost consistently from the 1770s until the mid-20th
century. Scholars generally agree that the practice of speaking dramatic text to music probably dates
from ancient times, and is certainly behind the earliest efforts to capture dramatic speech in the recitative
of early opera. However, it was with Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s play Pygmalion that the genre became one
associated with modern theatrical music: in the 1770s alone its text was set by at least four different
composers in France and Germany, for productions that became internationally famous. One of these was
by the Czech émigré composer Jiří Antonín Benda, whose extensive exploration of the melodrama genre
for productions at the German court of Gotha also included Ariadne auf Naxos and Medea. Thereafter,
the technique of using speaking actors with orchestra entered the mixed genres of Singspiel and Opéra
comique, where spoken dialogues began to merge with accompanied song. Major dramatic works in the
1810s and 1820s used melodrama, such as Beethoven’s Fidelio, Egmont, and The Ruins of Athens;
Weber’s Der Freischütz; Berlioz’s Lélio; and an evening-long production by Schubert, Die Zauberharfe
(the origin of the famous Rosamunde overture).
By mid-century, most Romantic composers—including Mendelssohn and Wagner—merely
dabbled in the genre, but a new creative wave emerged by the 1880s on several fronts. For one, the vogue
for public recitation of poems and speeches produced a new breed of performer: the elocutionist, whose
rhetorical arts could be enjoyed in parlors and vaudeville shows across Europe and North America. More
specifically, however, the rise of national feeling in fin-de-siècle Bohemia occasioned a retrospective
glance back to Benda as the originator of what they now considered a “uniquely Czech” genre, and a rash
of melodramas followed, from the Wagnerian orchestral work of Zdeněk Fibich (Hippodamie, 1889-91)
to the immensely popular collaborations of Josef Suk with playwright Julius Zeyer (e.g., Radúz and
Mahulena, 1898). More modest attempts also appeared in the works of most Czech composers in the
early years of the century, including the one on tonight’s program with piano accompaniment.
Otakar Zich (1879-1934) was not especially accepted among the inner circle of Czech composers,
either in his lifetime or since. His musical training came mainly from his older sister after the death of
their father—a village music teacher. As Zich grew into an adult, now a student in Prague, he discovered
that his talents lay in multiple disciplines: he was as proficient in theatre history and aesthetics as he was
in musicology, folksong collecting, and latterly, composition. Such a sidelong route to musical creativity,
however, branded him with the stigma of being “self-taught” among the respected Conservatory graduates
in Prague. Throughout his career, he was continuously shunned by the establishment and performances
of his music were taunted in the press as the work of a mere University Professor. His greatest work, the
opera Vina (1922, ed. Brian Locke, 2014) also provoked a critical scandal that was remembered for
decades after. Zich’s melodrama Romance o černém jezeře (Legend of the Black Lake) is a relatively
early work, but reveals the composer’s stylistic allegiances: the thick textures of Richard Strauss are an
easily recognizable influence. The poem, by the 19th-century nationalist author Jan Neruda, is typical for
its time, looking both backwards to the distant, legendary past and forwards to a glorious, heroic future
for the Czech nation—whose independence was just around the corner.
Ladislav Vycpálek (1882-1969)
Dívka z Lochroyanu, op. 2 (1907, rev. 1911)
Text: Old Scottish Ballad, Czech trans. L. Quis
English translation: B. Locke
„Kdo bude obouvat nožku mou? Kdo rukavice mi as?
Kdo dlouhou stužkou kmentovou mně štíhlý stahovat pas?
Kdo novým hřebenem stříbrným mně bude česati vlas?
Kdo synku mému otcem má být, než přijde lord Gregory zas?“
“Oh who will shoe my bonny foot? Who will glove my hand?
Or who will bind my corset tight with the broad lily band?
Or who will comb my bonny head with the red river comb?
Or who will be my baby’s father before Lord Gregory’s home?”
„Tvůj otec chce obouvat nožku tvou, máť rukavičky ti dá,
Tvá sestra ti bude stahovat pas, než zpět Gregory zavítá.
A stříbrným hřebenem bratr tvůj ti bude česati vlas,
Bůh dítěti tvému otcem buď, než přijde lord Gregory zas.“
“Your father will shoe thy bonny foot, and glove thy bonny hand,
And sister will bind your corset tight, before Gregory comes home.
Your brother will comb thy bonny head with the red river comb;
But God must the lad’s father be till Lord Gregory comes home.”
„Však já si opatřím dobrý člun, plout mořem budu v něm
A půjdu tam, kde lord Gregory, když ke mně on nemůže sem.“
I dala si vystavět dobrý člun, by po moři s ní spěl,
Ten zelené plachty z hedvábí a lana z dykyty měl.
“I’ll set my foot upon the ship, I’ll sail the seas within,
And I will go to Lord Gregory if he cannot come to me.”
And so she had a good ship made, and with it took to sea,
With sails of purest taffeta and ropes of pure green silk.
Než sotva dvacet se plavila mil, mil dvacet sotva v před,
Když sevřepý loupežník s družinou svou s ní pojednou se střet.
„Zda královna vy sama jste, vy mohla byste být jí,
Či z Lochroyanu dívka jste, jíž hledán lord Gregory?“
Before she had sailed twenty miles, just twenty miles ahead,
A barbarous pirate with his band her ship had rudely met.
“Either you are the Queen herself, as certainly you could be,
Or you are the girl from Lochroyan, sought by Lord Gregory?”
„Ó, nejsem královna,“ děla mu, „ni být se nezdám jí,
Však z Lochroyanu dívka jsem, jíž hledán Lord Gregory.“
„Ó, nezříš-li krásné to sídlo tam, cín krytem jeho zdem,
Když opluješ je kol a kol, lord Gregory je v něm.“
“Oh, I’m not a queen,” she replied, “nor would I suppose to be,
But I am the girl from Lochroyan, sought by Lord Gregory.”
“Oh, do you not see the castle there, shining behind its walls,
If all around it you do sail, you’ll find Lord Gregory there.”
Když uviděla mocnou věž, tak samý třpyt a jas,
Jež nad příbojem stála vln, pnouc nad skalin se sráz,
Tu řekla: „Plavci, žeňte člun a k zemi vezte mne,
Neb mílého tam vídím hrad, on u břehu se pne.“
When she saw the mighty tower, all splendor and majesty,
Where waves do break upon the rocks all scattered there below,
Said she: “Rowers, drive the boat and carry me to shore,
For I see the castle of my love, who will rush to meet me there.”
A plula kol, a plula kol a zvedla, zvedla hlas:
„Teď zlom se, zlom, ty kouzlo vil, ať volný můj milý je zas!“
A vzala synáčka v náruč svou a ku bráně šla s ním
A klepala dlouho a volala tam, však nikdo se neozval jim.
And they sailed around and sailed around and up she raised her voice:
“Now break your power, evil spirits, so that my love may be free!”
And she took her son into her arms and brought him to the gate
And knocked for long and called within, though nobody replied.
„Ó, otevři, lorde Gregory! Ó vpusť mne, nedli víc!
Neb vítr mi províví rusý vlas a déšť mi bičuje líc.“
„Pryč odtud, pryč, ty ženo zlá! Ty s dobrou nejdeš v hrad!
Tys čarodějka, neb čarovat chceš, neb mořská jsi víla snad.“
“Oh open, dear Lord Gregory! Oh let me in, and soon!
For the wind does whip my russet hair and the rain, it strikes my face.”
“Away from here, you evil dame! No good you bring to here,
You’re but a witch, or spirit vile, or mermaid from the sea.”
„Ni čarodějka, ni neznám čar, ni mořská panna též,
Však z Lochroyanu Annie jsem, ó, dvéře mi otevřít spěš!“
„Když z Lochroyanu Annie jsi, (však nevěřím, že ty’s,)
Tož dary lásky jmenuj mně, jež dali jsme si kdys.“
“I’m not a witch, nor spirit vile, nor mermaid even still,
But Annie from Lochroyan, oh, open the door to me!”
“If Annie from Lochroyan ye be (though I trust that ye are not),
What gifts of love of mine gave I when we kept company?”
„Ó, nevíš již, lorde Gregory, jak za můj dal’s prsten mi svůj,
Když u vína spolu jsme seděli? A ukázat mohu ti tvůj.
Ó tvůj byl krásný, ba překrásný byl, však za lepší měla jsem svůj;
Neb tvůj byl z ryzího zlata sic, však z démantů byl můj.
A nepomníš, lorde Gregory, když na vršku dleli jsme v dvou,
Jak panenství mého jsi zbavil mne, to přes vši vůli mou?
Nuž otevři, lorde Gregory, nuž otevři dvéře jen,
Vždyť v náruči mojí synek tvůj, a zemře, než bude den.“
“Oh know ye not, Lord Gregory, how you gave your ring to me,
When we at wine did sit together? And I can show you yours.
Oh, yours was fine, even beauteous, though better than I could give;
For yours was made of purest gold, though diamonds ringed round
mine.
And do you forget, Lord Gregory, when we lingered on the hill,
My maidenhood ye took from me, despite my every will?
Now open up, Lord Gregory, just open up the doors,
For your son doth lie here in my arms and will die ere it be day.”
„Když z Lochroyanu dívka jsi, (však neznám tváří tvých rys,)
Víc darů lásky jmenuj mně, jež dali jsme si kdys.“
“If ye be from Lochroyan true (though know I not your face),
More gifts of love do name for me, which we gave to each other.”
Tu Annie otočila se: „nuž dobře! ba docela!
Kéž nikdy žena, jíž zrozen syn, bol takový neměla!
Ó strhněte zlatý stožár ten! Jen dřevěný má se tu pnout!
Neb nesluší ženě, již zapudil choť, tak po královskou plout!“
Here Annie turned her back: “Fine then, for that is quite enough!
For never woman bore a son who suffered more than I!
Tear down the golden mainmast there, a wood one will suffice!
For it serves not a woman scorned of a lord to sail her ship like a
queen.”
A když kohout pěl, a když den se rděl, a slunce počalo plát,
Tu procit a povstal lord Gregory, a velmi jal se lkát:
And when rooster crowed and day did break, and sun began to shine,
Awoke and arose Lord Gregory, and overcome, did cry:
„Ó matko moje, sen jsem snil, kéž pravdu by mi nes!
Že z Lochroyanu dívka sem k mé bráně přišla dnes.
Ó, matko moje, sen jsem snil, ten velký mi přines žel!
Neb z Lochroyanu dívku jsem u nohou mrtvou zřel.“
“Oh, mother mine, a dream had I, which seems to be the truth,
That from Lochroyan a maiden came, right to my gates today.
Oh mother mine, a dream had I, which gives me cause to mourn!
For I saw the corpse of the maiden fair that from Lochroyan came.”
„Když z Lochroyanu Annie to, k vůli níž tolik lkáš,
Ta před tvými dveřmi stála v tu noc, však nevešla ve hrad náš.“
“If Annie from Lochroyan ‘twas, then mourn not so for her;
She came last night up to the door, but naught did enter in.”
„Ó, běda tobě, zlá ženo ty! Kéž zemřeš smrtí zlou!
Že nechtěla jsi vzbudit mne, ni bránu jí otevřít mou.“
“Oh woe to thee! Thou, evil dame, wouldst die an evil death!
In wishing not to waken me, nor open the gates for her.”
A šel on dolů, tam ku břeh, šel, jak rychle mohl jen,
On krásnou Annii v člunu zřel, však větrem se kymácel ten.
And went he down unto the shore, as fast as he could go;
The beauteous Annie he spied, aboard the boat tossed by the wind.
„A hoj, Annie, a ho, Annie! Ó, nechceš zůstat zde!“
Však čím víc Annie volal on, tím dravější příboj jde.
„A hoj, Annie, a ho, Annie! Ó, slůvko jen, drahá mi dej.“
Však hlasněji čím volal ji, tím hlasnější moře rej.
“Ahoy, Annie! Aho, Annie! Oh, here you should not stay!”
The more he called unto the maid, the more the waves did swell.
“Ahoy, Annie! Aho, Annie! My darling, just give me one word.”
The louder he called unto the maid, the louder the sea did roar.
Zněl větru jek, rost moře vztek, vrh člun, kde břehy ční,
Pěnami Annie zmítala se a mrtvé děcko s ní.
The wind it howled, the sea it raged, and crashed the boat on the rocks,
And into the spray poor Annie was tossed, and with her, her darling
boy.
Lord Gregory tore his russet hair and burst forth in a bitter wail;
The body of Annie lay at his feet, and the child was lost to the sea.
Lord Gregory rval svůj rusý vlas a vypuk v hořký kvil;
Trup Anniin u nohou ležel mu a synek ztracen byl.
Ó, ruměnou, ruměnou měla tvář a zlatý měla vlas;
Však chladné její růžové rty, tam všechen život zhas.
Dřív polibky v její ruměnou tvář, pak na bradu jí vžeh,
Pak zlíbal její růžové rty, z nichž nevanul již dech.
Oh, ruddy, ruddy was her cheek and golden was her hair,
But cold her rose-hued lips, alas, all life now from them fled.
First kisses on her ruddy cheek, then on her chin he gave,
Then kissed her rose-hued lips did he, from which no more came
breath.
„Ó, matko krutá, běda ti! Kéž zemřeš smrtí zlou!
Ty od vrat mých, ač z dálky šla, jsi zahnala milenku mou.
Ó, matko krutá, běda ti! Kéž zemřeš smrtí zlou!
Ty’s Annii zahnala od dveří mých, jež zemřela pro lásku svou!“
“Oh cruel mother, woe to thee, to die an evil death!
From my gates you banished my love so dear, tho’ came she from afar.
Oh cruel mother, woe to thee, to die an evil death!
You banished Annie from my door, and she died for love of me!”

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