February 10, 2014

Dream a little dream with me…

MartiniI thought it might be nice if we put the denials and disasters on hold for a day, and dream. Besides, I am beginning to worry that you are expecting all dismal, tragic love when next we meet for Love with a Twist. Not so! I, for one, will be offering two of my dreamiest songs: “Rheinlegendchen” of Mahler, a dear old friend of a song, and “Ya eres mia, reposa con tu sueno en mi sueno” of Lieberson, a relatively new love.

Rheinlegendchen (Rhein Legend) comes from a group of folk poems that Mahler encountered as young boy. Well, encountered doesn’t quite say it… truer to say that they became his world of escape. And escape he needed, but that’s a story for another day…

For now, I’ll just say that this dreamy song has charmed me for 20 years. Picture a young girl, “mowing” the grass on the Rhein, swaying in her dirndl, her scythe whipping side to side. She says “What good is having a sweetheart if he’s not here with me?” She then proceeds to make up an delightfully preposterous scenario: she shall throw her ring into the river! It shall be eaten up by a fish which is then caught, cooked and presented to the king.  The king shall discover the ring and ponder aloud “Whose ring might this be?” The steward shall step forward (none other than her sweetheart) and say, “Why, the ring is MINE!” And then he shall come bounding over hill and dale bringing it back to her.

Now THAT is a daydream. And here to present it to you, is my favorite mezzo in a gem of a clip!  Please enjoy these two incredible artists – the their dewy youth –  Leonard Bernstein and Christa Ludwig, from 1967 in Mahler’s Rheinlegendchen.

And my second dream now, a setting by the unparalleled poetic voice of Pablo Neruda by Peter Lieberson.

Ya eres mia, reposa con tu sueno en mi sueno
And now you are mine, rest with your dream in my dream

Sonnet LXXX

And now you’re mine. Rest with your dream in my dream.
Love and pain and work should all sleep, now.
The night turns on its invisible wheels,
and you are pure beside me as a sleeping amber.

No one else, Love, will sleep in my dreams. You will go,
we will go together, over the waters of time.
No one else will travel through the shadows with me,
only you, evergreen, ever sun, ever moon.

Your hands have already opened their delicate fists
and let their soft drifting signs drop away; your eyes closed like two gray
wings, and I moveafter, following the folding water you carry, that carries
me away. The night, the world, the wind spin out their destiny.
Without you, I am your dream, only that, and that is all.
– Pablo Neruda

To hear this song, and the magnificent singer it was written for, Lorraine Hunt (RIP), follow this link, and courtesy of NPR.

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