Academic journal article Journal of Singing

Five Love Songs

Academic journal article Journal of Singing

Five Love Songs

Article excerpt

Composed for the rich soprano voice of Maria Spacagna, these songs are unabashedly romantic in style. The musical romanticism ranges from the almost constant trills in "The First Time He Kissed Me," a device that was often found in songs of the Victorian era, to a lush American romanticism drawn from the popular love songs of thel930s and 1940s-a time when popular singers were often classically trained and could sustain long lyric phrases. Mollicone says in another context that he "attempted to translate this beauty into music" (Program Note to Images and Reflections, the set of songs on nature poems reviewed below). The term "translate" perhaps gives a clue to his approach to these poems also. The composer goes straight for the sensual feelings called up by the poet's subject rather than for any underlying element and does indeed "translate" them into musical feelings.

The trills of the first song accurately translate the physical thrill of a first kiss, and the widely spaced open chords of "The Face of All the World" translate the spacious feeling of having the whole world opened through love and of all of life taking on "a new rhythm." The certainty of feeling of "Doctor Fell" ("I do not love thee, Doctor Fell,/ The reason why I cannot tell") is translated in a whimsical manner. …

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