Monday, March 31, 2008

When Irish Eyes are Smiling

A lovely "Irish folksong" written in the United States in 1912 for "The Isle O' Dreams". The lyrics are by Chauncey Olcott and George Graff, Jr. and the music by Enerst Ball. And who wouldn't fall for that Irish blarney: "When Irish hearts are singing all the world seems bright and gay"?!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

A Policeman's Lot is not a Happy One

This is the famous Policeman's Lament, from "The Pirates of Penzance" by the inimitable Gilbert and Sullivan. (The familiar repetition of "happy one" an octave lower at the end of each chorus is a bit low for me and I chickened out in the recording.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Ave Maria (Gounod)

This is Gounod's famous adaption of the Prelude from Bach's "Well Tempered Clavier"; one of my favourite pieces. It requires a lot of control for the softer parts, and I hope to make another, better recording of it soon. Headphones would help me sync. better with the keyboard part (a recording by John Wustman); perhaps I should buy a pair.

The photo is of the amazing and awe-inspiring vaulted ceiling at Bath Abbey.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Arm, Arm Ye Brave!

Here's the famous Baritone aria from Handel's Oratorio "Judas Maccabeus", where Simon calls his brethren to arms. (I very slightly altered the text in two places to avoid the Tetragrammaton, which we are forbidden to pronounce.)

The illustration is Machabeusze (Maccabees), an oil painting dated 1842 by Polish artist Wojciech Korneli Stattler (1800-1875), from the National Museum in Crakow.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Hamal'ach Hagoel ("Wiegenlied")

This is a recording of the first verse of the famous Brahms lullaby ("Wiegenlied"), followed by "Hamalach Hagoel" sung to the same piano accompaniment.

For the Hebrew part I thought of using the Yekkish pronunciation (as being closer in sound to the original German), but in the end used the Sephardi pronunciation with which I used to sing it to my own kids at bedtime.

The Hebrew words are, of course, those of Jacob's blessing to his grandchildren Ephraim and Menashe, hence the associated picture, by Rembrandt, of the scene of that blessing.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Chishki Chizki

The poem "Chishki, Chizki" was written in 1675 for the inauguration of the Spanish and Portuguese "Snoge" (synagogue) in Amsterdam, by Rabbi Isaac Aboab de Fonseca, chief rabbi of the community. It was set to music by Abraham de Casseres in the early 18th century.

I have made a one-page PDF with the full Hebrew text and an English translation that you can download here.