Song of the Day for May 3 – 9, 2021: Laurie’s Week!

Monday Morgan, thank you for letting me act as DJ for a week!

Leontyne Price, one of my favorite singers (and I hope one of yours, too) sings Death of Butterfly (from Puccini’s Madama Butterfly) as an encore. This video of a live performance has a glitch in it towards the end, but I think the rest of the performance makes the glitch well-worth overlooking.

Leontyne Price-Death of Butterfly. Rare private film.

Butterfly tells her child not to feel sorrow for his mother’s desertion but to keep a faint memory of his mother’s face. She bids him farewell.

You? You? You? Little idol of my heart. My Love, my love, flower of the lily and rose. Never know that, for you, for your innocent eyes, Butterfly is about to die…so that you may go away beyond the sea without being subject to remorse in later years for your mother’s desertion. Oh, you who have come down to me from high heaven, look well, well on your mother’s face, that you may keep a faint memory of it, look well! Little love, farewell! Farewell, my little love! Go and play.

Tuesday This simple Schubert song—”Seligkeit” or Bliss—is my favorite. I know there are more weighty, important, and profound lieder, but this one always makes me happy.

Seligkeit  Performed by Dutch soprano Elly Ameling and pianist Joerg  Demus

 Joys without number
 Bloom in the halls of Heaven
 For angels and transfigured souls,
 As our fathers taught us.
 How I’d love to be there
 And rejoice eternally!
 A heavenly bride smiles
 Sweetly on everyone;
 Harp and psalter resound,
 And there’s dancing and singing.
 How I’d love to be there
 And rejoice eternally!
 I’d sooner stay here
 If Laura smiles on me
 With a look that says
 I’ve to grieve no more.
 Blissfully then with her
 I’d stay forever here! 

It’s short—let’s do two! Schumann’s Widmung, also with Elly Ameling, and pianist Dalton Baldwin.

You my soul, you my heart,
 You my rapture, O you my pain,
 You my world in which I live,
 My heaven you, to which I aspire,
 O you my grave, into which
 My grief forever I’ve consigned!
 You are repose, you are peace,
 You are bestowed on me from heaven.
 Your love for me gives me my worth,
 Your eyes transfigure me in mine,
 You raise me lovingly above myself,
 My guardian angel, my better self! 

Wednesday I drove my family crazy with this, not your parents’ Red Army Choir!  “Bella Ciao” was a late 19th century Italian protest song that was taken up by Italian partisan/anti-fascists during WWII. But you only have to hear a few notes to know that these aren’t Italians doing the singing. The Red Army Choir sing what has become one of their calling cards. My favorite YouTube comment: “This is what happens when you eat pasta and drink vodka.”

Bella Ciao

One morning I woke up
Ciao my Beautiful
and I found the invader

O partisan, take me away
Ciao my Beautiful
oh partisan, take me away
That I'm feeling like dying

And if I die as a partisan
Ciao my Beautiful
and if I die as a partisan
You must bury me

You will bury me over there, on the mountain
Ciao my Beautiful
You will bury me over there on the mountain
Under the shadow of a wonderful flower

All all the people passing by
Ciao my Beautiful
And all the people passing by
Will say "What a wonderful flower!"

And this is the flower of the partisan
Ciao my Beautiful
Dead for our freedom
And this is the flower of the partisan
Dead for our freedom

Thursday Chopin Nocturnes: How do you choose from these? Start with the first in B Flat Minor, and just keep listening. Tunisian-born French pianist Brigitte Engerer.

Friday Edith! I’ll always be grateful to my high school French teacher, who introduced our class to Edith Piaf by having us sing along with her recording of “La Vie en Rose.” Every Friday.

Saturday “Mom, maybe you should listen to something you don’t like so much.” My six-year-old son’s comment when I got lost taking him to a friend’s house. Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue—something I no longer listen to while driving. George Gershwin – Rhapsody in Blue – Leonard Bernstein, New York Philharmonic (1976)

Sunday From Poulenc’s Banalities, because sometimes you just want to smoke, even though you shouldn’t.

Hôtel“ Regine Crespin and John Wustman

My room is shaped like a cage
The sun slips its arm through the window
But I who want to smoke to make mirages
I light my cigarette on daylight's fire 
I do not want to work, I want to smoke.