Arthur Espiritu and Najib Ismail interpret Schubert’s monumental song cycle
METRO Manila music lovers are in for a special vocal treat on Aug. 26 at the Ayala Museum when tenor Arthur Espiritu and pianist Najib Ismail interpret the monumental Schubert song cycle “Die Schone Mullerin” (The Maiden on the Mill), to be concluded with selected French arias.
The song cycle is a story of unrequited love, but its special appeal is that the pianist paints the setting of the story while the tenor reenacts the story of a young man who falls in love with a maiden on the mill.
Espiritu told the Inquirer: “The challenge of this song cycle is that you have to maintain extra concentration because the space between pieces is quicker and develops rather faster. Because they are all made up of different poems within a storyline, there is no proper chronology of specific scenes. It is also challenging because you have to match, in the best way you could, what the piano is doing.
In this particular piece, the piano sets the paintings of each scene and the emotional situation of the character. So one must be in sync with the structure of the text and the music. This is the ultimate collaborative work between singer and pianist, and also the poet and the composer. If we are successful, you will hear it and feel the emotional roller-coaster dynamics of the piece.”
Added pianist Ismail: “Indeed, the challenges in this song cycle are many. For one, it is lengthy, and you have to keep the intensity of the music for an hour. I must say that it is mentally and musically exhausting. The understanding of the underlying musical color given by the piano, along with the complexity of the text, is very important in drawing out the sincerity and truth of this Schubert cycle.”
The last line of the song cycle conjures imagery of the full moon rising into the heavens, and hinting at the ultimate victory of harmony and beauty in the realm of the infinite.
The unique evening of Schubert song cycle was made possible through grants from Ayala Museum, 98.7 DZFE-FM The Master’s Touch and Lyric Piano. Call Cultural Arts Events Organizer at 0920-9540053, 0906-5267241.
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