In Tennyson’s poem, “Flower in the crannied wall,” the poet articulates a belief in the ultimate coherence between nature, the human heart, and the entire universe, as a macrocosmos. In the “Songs of Seasons” program, Rachel Lee Priday offers works that speak to this pattern: from nature, song arises, inspiring music that expresses the seasons of the heart. To begin, Beethoven’s Sonata No. 10 in G Major, Op. 96 “The Cockcrow” opens with a gentle figure reminiscent of a bird call, which develops into one of the most sublime pieces ever written for violin and piano. Next are three works for solo violin. Bright Sheng’s The Stream Flows is based on a well-known Chinese Yun-nan folk song:
The Stream Flows
The rising moon shines brightly
It reminds me of love in the mountains
Like the moon, you walk in the sky,
As the crystal stream flows down the mountain.
A clear breeze blows up the hill,
My love, do you hear I am calling you?
With Ernst’s Variations on the “The Last Rose of Summer,” a popular Irish tune and poem by Thomas Moore, the program edges toward the autumnal; it then journeys to winter with Ysaÿe’s Chant d’Hiver. Circling back to the violin and piano duo, the program concludes with a work in cyclic form. In Brahms’s Sonata No. 1 in G Major, Op. 78 “Regen,” a “rain” motif borrowed from Brahms’s Op. 59 songs “Regenlied” and “Nachklang” appears throughout the sonata, becoming in the middle movement a funeral march.
Works to be performed on the “Songs of Seasons” program include:
Beethoven, Sonata No. 10 in G Major, Op. 96 “The Cockcrow”
Bright Sheng, The Stream Flows (solo violin)
Heinrich Wilhelm Ernst, Variations on “The Last Rose of Summer” (solo violin)
Eugène Ysaÿe, Chant d’Hiver, Op. 15
Brahms, Sonata No. 1 in G Major, Op. 78 “Rain”