Songs of Travel and Distant Loves

(May 2012)

An evening of beautiful melodies: The song tradition of the British Isles is rich in folk melodies and folk-inspired songs.  Benjamin Britten’s arrangements of folk tunes are paired with Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Songs of Travel, which set the words of Scottish poet Robert Louis Stevenson.  Crossing the North Sea to the Scandinavian peninsula, we visit the melodies of Sweden.  The folk like songs of Petterson Berger are rounded out by those of Allan Pettersson and Wilhelm Stenhammar, who was an admirer of the German tradition.  The idea of folk song inspiring art song is not new.  It was indeed sparked by the rise of Nationalism in 19th century Europe.  In Ludwig van Beethoven’s An die ferne Geliebte, the music upholds the simplicity of folk melody though dressed with the obsessive nature that is unquestionably Beethoven.

Swedish baritone, Magnus Billström, was trained at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm.  He has appeared on tour with the Swedish Radio Choir and Eric Ericsson Chamber Choir.  An active performer in opera, oratorio, and concert repertoire, Mr. Billström’s recent appearances include Gothenburg Opera’s production of Verdi’s Don Carlodie Meistersinger von Nürnberg; Mozart’s Don Giovanni at Drottningholm Court Theatre, and the Royal Swedish Opera’s production of Wagner’s Lohengrin.

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012 @ 8 p.m.

Greenwich House Music (Renee Weiler Hall)

46 Barrow Street (near 1 train Christopher Street stop)

Tickets @ door (cash only): $15 general, $10 students/seniors


The Storm (1890) William McTaggart at the Scottish National Gallery

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