Back in May of 2012 I posted an item about that glorious little song cycle and videos featuring Anna Caterina Antonocchi sing five of them. For some reason Miss DiDonato omitted La Biondina in gondoleta in her set while Anna Cat didn't give us La primavera.
Of the six the most delightful - and most often performed - is La barcheta (the Little Boat). Rather than given preference to either lady - both of whom I treasure as artists - I thought I'd post a wonderful performance by the elegant French baritone Gérard Souzay.
A translation of Pietro Buratti's text by Lara Sarti can be found here.
Hahn was a friend of Winnaretta Singer, Princesse Edmond de Polignac. The Princesse was one of the great patrons of the arts and humanities in early 20th century Europe. It was on one of his visits to the Polignacs in Venice that Hahn composed his song cycle. The programme for the Salzburg recital included the composer's description of the premiere:
Madame de Béarn asked me to sing - just me and a piano - on the 'Piccoli Canale'. Just a few gondolas - one or two friends hastily gathered together [..] I was in one boat, lit up for the occasion, with my piano and a couple of oarsmen. The other gondolas were grouped around us. We found a place where three canals met beneath three charming bridges and I sang all my Venetian songs. Gradually passers-by gathered on the bridges: and audience of ordinary people, pressing forward to listen. The Venetian songs surprised and delighted this little crowd, which made me very happy. "Ancora, anocra", they called from above. These songs that were both light and melancholy sounded well beneath the starry skies and I felt that emotion which reverberates in the composer's heart when it has truly been shared by those around him.
|Reynaldo Hahn - without his piano - photographed in a Piccoli Canale much |
like the one where he first performed his Venezia song cycle.
July 2 - 1777: Vermont becomes the first American territory to abolish slavery.