Modern Muses

Contemporary Treasures for Soprano & Cello

Josefien Stoppelenburg soprano
Jean Hatmaker cello

Release Date: October 22, 2021
Catalog #: NV6377
Format: Digital
21st Century
Chamber
Vocal Music
Cello
Voice

MODERN MUSES is an entirely new presentation of captivating music in its first commercial recording and release, showcasing works composed by women and works representing female perspective. Inspired by Greek and Roman mythology, Josefien Stoppelenburg’s arresting soprano is juxtaposed with Jean Hatmaker’s poetic cello in this recording, fostering a rich musical dichotomy that blends together in a refreshingly powerful way. Join these two female performers on a journey through exotic soundscapes and empowering instrumentation in this diverse assortment of modern music.

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Track Listing & Credits

# Title Composer Performer
01 Alba Alexis Bacon Josefien Stoppelenburg, soprano; Jean Hatmaker, cello 6:48
02 Ionic Willem Stoppelenburg Josefien Stoppelenburg, soprano; Jean Hatmaker, cello 4:38
03 Ah! Sunflower Ronald Tremain Josefien Stoppelenburg, soprano; Jean Hatmaker, cello 1:41
04 Sick Rose Ronald Tremain Josefien Stoppelenburg, soprano; Jean Hatmaker, cello 1:42
05 Ahimsa Jean Hatmaker Jean Hatmaker, cello 5:25
06 This is Just to Say Bernd Johannes Wolf Josefien Stoppelenburg, soprano; Jean Hatmaker, cello 1:50
07 Olga Willem Stoppelenburg Josefien Stoppelenburg, soprano; Jean Hatmaker, cello 7:37
08 Moon Sister Paul Ayres Josefien Stoppelenburg, soprano; Jean Hatmaker, cello 1:25
09 Il Lamento Di Fedra Antonio Bibalo Josefien Stoppelenburg, soprano; Jean Hatmaker, cello 13:54
10 Dawn Stacy Garrop Josefien Stoppelenburg, soprano; Jean Hatmaker, cello 2:49
11 Vocalise Katherine Dudney Josefien Stoppelenburg, soprano; Jean Hatmaker, cello 4:25
12 Canción De Cuna Adrián A. Cuello Piraquibis Josefien Stoppelenburg, soprano; Jean Hatmaker, cello 2:35

Recorded October 2020 at Grace Lutheran Church in River Forest IL
Recording Session Producer & Engineer Yuri Lysoivanov
Cover photo Sally Blood

General Manager of Audio & Sessions Jan Košulič
Audio Director Lucas Paquette

Executive Producer Bob Lord

Executive A&R Sam Renshaw
A&R Director Brandon MacNeil
A&R Morgan Santos

VP, Design & Marketing Brett Picknell
Art Director Ryan Harrison
Design Edward A. Fleming
Publicity Patrick Niland, Sara Warner

Artist Information

Josefien Stoppelenburg

Josefien Stoppelenburg

Soprano

Josefien Stoppelenburg is best known for her dazzling vocal agility and her passionate and insightful interpretations. She performed all over the United States and Europe and sang for the Dutch Royal Family on several occasions.

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Jean Hatmaker

Cellist

Jean Hatmaker is a founding member of the Kontras Quartet, the internationally acclaimed quartet-in-residence at Grace Lutheran Church of River Forest IL. Known for their well-crafted performances, diverse programming, and accessible audience relations, Kontras Quartet has brought their message of inclusivity to concerts across the United States, Europe, and Africa. In addition to classical concerts, Kontras Quartet performs with the bluegrass trio the Kruger Brothers, with whom they have appeared at festivals internationally.

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Notes

Welcome to an intimate gathering of friends: Josefien, Jean…and now you. Together the three of you will navigate a fascinating journey through some rare and exotic musical landscapes and meet some new friends along the way. If you don’t know what to expect, it’s not a surprise. Not much in the way of works for soprano and cello duo has been recorded, or even composed. But here you will find a refreshingly modern sound with captivating music that is powerful and cathartic, none of which has been commercially recorded or released.

Why “Modern Muses”? This is certainly a modern recording. Completed in 2021, the collection’s oldest works were written in 1987, and several of them are from the past few years. Muses derive from Greek and Roman mythology, and you will find ancient and mythological themes among these works. These were goddesses who inspired, and a number of the works here are composed by women or taken from the perspective of a woman—the two female performers have been the catalyst in several of these works as well. Your takeaway: music on universal themes and human experiences, told with a modern voice in an intimate instrumentation.

A broad palette of expression awaits your ears. The journey includes works of secret sensuality, like Bacon’s Alba, a medieval song set in the Occitan language about clandestine lovers who meet in the night and have to flee at the break of dawn, and like Ayres’s Moon Sister, a crystalline setting of a translation/interpretation of Sappho’s translucent imagery. Tremain’s two Blake songs, Ah! Sunflower and The Sick Rose, project a sense of melancholy upon his floral subjects. With Ionic (Stoppelenburg / Cavafy) we feel the nostalgia of the ancient Greek gods for their golden age. There are also some dark passages on this journey: Stoppelenburg’s Olga and Bibalo’s Il Lamento di Fedra both portray women driven to and beyond the brink of sanity, while Hatmaker’s ahimsa for solo cello treats the internal struggle to be good, both to yourself and others. The mood lightens with Wolf’s setting of William Carlos Williams’s This Is Just to Say, and is filled with awe in Garrop’s depiction of Paul Dunbar’s Dawn. The recording ends with two works that radiate tenderness: after an initial stormy introduction, Dudney’s Vocalise oozes warmth, and Cuello Piraquibis’s Canción de Cuna sends us off with a lullaby.

— Ted Hatmaker

Alexis Baconis an award-winning composer recognized nationally and internationally for her acoustic and electroacoustic music. She has received commissions for chamber music from many prominent artists. A Fulbright scholar to France, she completed graduate studies at the University of Michigan and undergraduate studies in music composition and viola at Rice University. She is currently Assistant Professor of Composition at Michigan State University. For Alba, the composer provides the following context:

In 2018, Malina Rauschenfels approached me for a piece that would showcase her unique ability to sing and play the cello at the same time. Knowing that she was skilled in early music performance practice, I researched medieval texts and came across the works of the trobairitz in 12th and 13th century Occitan (today, southern France and northern Spain). The trobairitz were the first known women composers of secular music. Usually noblewomen, they composed songs on similar topics to their male counterparts (troubadours), including themes of courtly love. Most of the music has been lost to history, with only the poetry remaining. They wrote in Provençal, a Romance language with similarities to French and Spanish.

“An alba is a traditional genre of song about clandestine lovers who meet in the night and have to flee the break of dawn (alba), as in the daybreak scene of Romeo and Juliet. I chose “Alba” because of its straightforward language and strophic nature with the repetition of ‘Oy dieus, oy dieus, de l’alba tan tost ve!’ (Oh God, oh God, the dawn! So soon!) Though the author of the text is unknown, it is often included in collections of trobairitz poetry because of its female voice.”

A haunting cello line prefaces the narrator’s chantlike mise-en-scène. Lute-like plucks, grand sweeping gestures, and doleful harmonics accompany the lady’s appeal to her lover and her frantic pleas for the dawn to be delayed. In the end, she grudgingly accepts reality over a slow arpeggio.

www.alexisbacon.com

Willem Stoppelenburg, patriarch of a remarkable family of artists, has worked actively as a conductor and pianist for several decades, particularly in his native Netherlands. As a composer he is self-taught and prolific, with three successful operas, orchestral, and chamber compositions, and many choral and vocal works. He set Cavafy’s “Ionic” as part of Three Cavafy Songs, which were dedicated to his daughter Josefien in 2014 for soprano and cello. At the initial performance, the cellist was suddenly unavailable, and Stoppelenburg rewrote the part on the spot for bassoon. This piece has never been recorded in its original version.

Constantine Cavafy was a Greek poet from Egypt. His poetry is consumed with (among other things) removing the barriers we perceive across time, and between what is imagined and what is palpable. In Ionic, the author offers a salute to ancient Ionia, still loved by the gods, and where even today its “atmosphere is still potent with their life.” Writer and adventurer Leigh Fermor stated that Cavafy’s poetry “skilfully interweaves time and myth and reality.” Stoppelenburg adds one more thread to the fabric, that of musical dimension. The introduction, comprising the single syllable “Ah,” transports the listener to the world of the ancient Greek gods via flute-like harmonics in the cello. The first verse gives harsh musical treatments to ‘the breaking of the statues’ and ‘the gods driven from their temples;’ in verse two, the gods still live and ‘keep Ionia in their memory’ through pizzicato arpeggiations and dulcet tones. In verse three, with its dancelike rhythms in the cello and the soprano’s florid melismas, Cavafy and Stoppelenburg paint a landscape of a god (Hermes?) winging across its hills, coming to rest with an ethereal “Ah.”

www.willemstoppelenburg.com

Ronald Tremain’s mostly academic musical life took him from his native New Zealand to studies at the Royal College of Music in England, followed by teaching positions in New Zealand, London, the United States, and finally to Canada in 1970, where he was Professor of Music at Brock University in Ontario. He was awarded several prizes for composition; many of his works of diverse genres are published and recorded. Tremain described his vocal and choral pieces as probably his “best and most characteristic music. I have always loved good poetry and I find it a fascinating challenge to discover apt musical imagery for verse, to unite verbal with musical rhythm and at the same time to make a satisfying musical structure.” In 1987, he selected four poems by William Blake to set to music; the two from Blake’s 1794 publication, Songs of Experience, “Ah, Sunflower!” and “The Sick Rose,” are represented on this recording.

In Ah, Sunflower!, the narrator infers the ennui of the flower and imagines its aspirations of immortality. Vivid imagery in this poem is mirrored in Tremain’s music. Gestures shoot up from the cello in bright arpeggiations, as the soprano’s yearning lines reflect the journey the flower wishes to make. Earth-bound, it will never reach the “golden clime,” a final, slow cello line reaches upwards to where it longs to be.

On the surface, “The Sick Rose” offers a portrait of a dying rose, infected by an invisible, flying worm, which, in satiating its “secret love,” is destroying the rose. While the short poem’s meaning is open to interpretation, this musical setting plainly draws an irregular but systematic sketch of melancholy in the cello. Its first seven notes carve out most of the musical material for the song. In the soprano melody, we can trace the worm’s course of destruction of the rose’s beauty through twisting, painful turns.

Composer Jean Hatmaker explains the creation of this work for solo cello: “In 2017, I was approached to contribute some quasi-improvised solo cello content for a special spoken-word presentation, and the opening phrases of ahimsa were born. While I felt really drawn to the simple lines that came to me as I mused on the epic tale I was accompanying, I had little need for them, as I was not in the habit of composing for composing’s sake. It wasn’t until I was approached by a friend and collaborator from a local dance/performing arts company that I found an excuse to expand those short phrases into something bigger that could serve as a standalone piece. Ahimsa was designed to be a 6-minute solo cello work that could be performed with dancers, and I completed it in the spring of 2019 for this purpose. When MODERN MUSES was taking shape, we decided it would be nice to include solo features for each of us, and it seemed right to include ahimsa, so I revised it for the occasion of this album, making some changes in sections that just never quite felt satisfying to me.

“Ahimsa is really about the struggle to be good; good to yourself, good to others. The word itself means ‘non-harming’ in Sanskrit, and this had been the theme of that original epic tale. As I was writing, I began to wonder: why is being non-harmful such a challenge sometimes? What is it about the human condition that makes us vulnerable to harming one another, despite our best intentions? I was reminded of Steinbeck’s novel Of Mice and Men, where clumsy, uninhibited love for something fragile causes its very destruction, and how some of the most hurtful experiences I’ve known revolved around people I loved the most. This music is an attempt to wrestle with that.”

www.jeanhatmaker.com

Bernd Johannes Wolf was educated in Bochum (Ruhr University, Musicology / English Studies), Cologne (Music Academy), and Scotland (Central Region, Stirling). In addition to being a music educator, Wolf composes and arranges works ranging from chamber music and vocal compositions to large symphonic settings. Some of his works have been published in print by the music publishing company edition49.

For his delightfully humorous setting of “This Is Just to Say” by William Carlos Williams, to whose work he has been close for decades, Bernd Wolf submitted the following:

“The subject of the poem is a very trivial domestic situation: A person has pinched plums from a fridge that another person, probably the first one’s partner, had been saving for breakfast. The ‘perpetrator’ admits to the deed by leaving a simple note containing the confession and an explanation. Without using specifically poetic language, Williams has cast this note into a form that clearly makes the text stand out as a poem.”

“There is a certain sense of guilt as the speaker asks to be forgiven, the word ‘Forgive’ being the only word in the entire poem beginning with a capital letter other than the pronoun ‘I’). This is what I pick up on in the first part of my composition by using an intense crescendo and accelerando, culminating in the soprano’s dramatic plea for forgiveness, reinforced by the cello. Given the trivial situation we’re dealing with, this seems of course quite over the top and is more like the kind of drama we would associate with a soap opera.

“A second rendition of the confession follows to get the cheeky character of the deed across. It was clear from the outset that to achieve this, the cello would have to play pizzicato – already suggested by the sound of the word ‘plum’ – and playfully interact with the soprano in complementary rhythm.”

“Finally, we come to the explanation why the temptation to eat the plums – being ‘so sweet and so cold’ – could not be resisted. While there is still an awareness of the act of pilfering the plums maybe not being quite correct, there certainly is no remorse. The soprano’s self-absorbed tones are an expression of sheer sensual delight.”

Olga was originally composed for Josefien Stoppelenburg’s performance of a staged version of The Castle by Franz Kafka, directed by German stage director Robert Nemack at the Amsterdam School of Theater in 2004. The story of The Castle is about the soul-eroding anonymity of bureaucracy in the extreme.

In this piece, the young woman — Olga — intimates her rather tragic life story; she and her family are outcasts. All kinds of intense emotions — anger, frustration, sadness, pleading, and a crazy edgy cheerfulness — are conveyed in this virtuosic piece, but towards the end it becomes clear that Olga has lost her hope and her mind, and wanders about in an eerie sort of state, evoking a forlorn, soulless chilliness.

The text is a mixture of Czech, German, Yiddish, and a bit of Dutch. It was created by writer Charlotte Stoppelenburg for this production. As much as we might recognize certain snippets of language, we cannot fully comprehend Olga, which adds to her loneliness. Listeners only witness her being upset, angry, and finally, she disappears into a mental land, so to speak, where no one can follow her. She is lost to all around her, and even to herself.

After being part of that staged version in Amsterdam, the song has become a concert piece in many of Josefien Stoppelenburg’s recitals.

Paul Ayres was born in London, studied music at Oxford University, and now works freelance as a composer and arranger, choral conductor and musical director, and organist and accompanist. His music has been awarded, or shortlisted for, composition prizes in Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, New Zealand, Poland, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. Paul has received over one hundred commissions for new pieces, and he particularly enjoys “re-composing” classical repertoire (Purcell, Bach, Handel, Fauré) and “classicizing” pop music (jazz and show tunes, The Beatles, Happy Hardcore).

As Josefien Stoppelenburg’s artwork forms the cover of his “Rainbow Toccatas” CD (classical organ re-workings of Over the Rainbow, All You Need is Love, Here Comes the Sun, and other songs) he’s delighted that, reciprocally, one of his pieces is featured on this disc. Paul loves word games, bad puns, and cryptic crosswords.

The music of Moon Sister was composed in 1990, setting a text by Brian Patten, Sing Softly, which was used as part of a staged student production of Little Johnny’s Confession. Thirty years later, Ayres revised the score with a new set of words at the suggestion of Josefien Stoppelenburg. This new text is an adaptation of A.C. Benson’s translation and interpretation of text fragments by Sappho.

The crystalline texture of Ayres’ accompaniment aptly complements the refined imagery of Sappho. It’s as if in between the words — in the silences and space created by the lyre-like plucking of the cello — we are straining to listen for the whole poem, for worlds of which we have only some ruins and snippets left.

www.paulayres.co.uk

Antonio Bibalo studied piano as a youth in Trieste, Italy, but his life took an eventful turn when he was drafted into the Italian army during World War II. Imprisoned after desertion, he escaped only to be forced to fight with the German army. Captured and imprisoned by U.S forces, he eventually made his way back from the United States to Trieste, where he worked as a bar pianist. He traveled to Marseilles on foot to study composition, but got swept up into the French Foreign Legion. Once more he escaped, going to London and finally settling in Norway in 1956. From 1962 and on, he had a series of successful operas and became one of Norway’s most highly-regarded composers of the latter 20th century. In 1992, Bibalo was awarded the Royal Norwegian Order of Saint Olav, first class.

Il lamento di Fedra is a little-known monodrama from 2002. It is based on Roman playwright Lucius Seneca’s Phaedra, which is taken from Greek mythology. Written for mezzo-soprano and cello, it follows the story of Phaedra, married to King Theseus, who has been absent for years seeking Persephone in the underworld. Meanwhile, Phaedra falls in love with Theseus’ son, Hippolytus, who is not interested in her or any other woman. This unrequited love drives Phaedra insane, and when King Theseus returns, Phaedra lies and tells him Hippolytus tried to rape her. Incensed, Theseus orders the gods to kill his son. Hippolytus is torn apart by a horned monster, and Phaedra, ridden with guilt and a broken heart over Hippolytus’ death, tells her husband the truth and then kills herself.

Bibalo’s text is drawn from the opening and closing scenes of Seneca’s play. He frames this in a powerful fashion, opening with intense, heart-rending dotted rhythms in the cello. Phaedra’s soliloquy pours out the emotional bitterness of being left alone by her wayward husband. Through her surging emotions, the cello measures her passions. As the guilt of her incestuous impulses takes hold, Phaedra’s monologue becomes more desperate, then pathetic as she reflects on the ravaged body of Hippolytus. In the end, Phaedra can take solace in nothing but her own death, and we are caught in mid-thought as the cello breathes her last sigh.

Stacy Garrop shares stories by taking audiences on sonic journeys – some simple and beautiful, while others are complicated and dark – depending on the needs and dramatic shape of the story. She is a full-time freelance composer living in the Chicago area. She has received numerous prestigious awards, grants, and commissions, and has held several artist residencies throughout America. Her work is well-represented on Cedille Records and other labels, and published by Theodore Presser and her own Inkjar Publishing companies. Stacy’s music is centered on dramatic and lyrical storytelling.

Paul Laurence Dunbar was the first African-American poet and novelist to gain national and international recognition. He was born in Dayton OH in 1872; his mother was a former slave and his father had escaped from slavery prior to serving in both infantry and calvary divisions in the Civil War. During his life, Dunbar penned twelve volumes of poetry, four books of short stories, five novels, and a play. Dunbar’s life was ultimately cut short when he contracted tuberculosis and died at the age of 33 in 1906. “Dawn” was first published in Dunbar’s Majors and Minors (1895), and beautifully depicts the moment that dawn breaks on the horizon.

Garrop set Dawn originally in 2009 for voice and piano. It was arranged in 2020 for soprano and cello specifically for this recording, and dedicated to its two performers. You’ll find her music tonally accessible, yet intriguingly striking. Garrop is able to match Dunbar’s transcendental depiction with her own pure expression. In the cello, she captures the stillness of pre-dawn, with time marked by recurring plucked chords and yawning slides, against which the soprano’s vocal line rises to and falls from celestially high levels.

www.garrop.com

Katherine Dudney is a composer/producer, cellist, and vocalist living in Denver CO. She has created a unique style of singing while playing the cello. Katherine’s original compositions are inspired by a variety of musical genres, including classical, pop, celtic, folk, and electronic. Vocalise was written in 2010, and this is the composer’s description of how it came to be:

“It was based on a dream that had stuck with me. I was lost in this dark, creepy house on a hilltop in the middle of the night. I was terrified, the kind of dread and terror reserved for nightmares. There was no electricity, so I was feeling my way around in the pitch-black darkness of the hallways. I wondered what I could do to be less afraid and I began to sing. The entire roof of the building began to miraculously lift away until I was staring up at a beautiful night sky full of stars. The more I sang, the more colors and auroras began taking shape, until the whole sky was lit up in an otherworldly glow with every color imaginable. All my fear disappeared, and I was in a state of awe, continuing to sing and stare up at the sky. Finally, I realized I had to show others what was happening. I found my way outside and began running down the hill towards the town below to tell the townsfolk. I woke up at that point and later wrote the piece while thinking about the colors I had seen in the sky.”

Vocalise begins with a vibrant, pyrotechnical display on the solo cello, followed by a peaceful, folk-like melody. The wordless voice — at first haltingly, then more confidently — soars as if melting with the night sky and, with sustained cello tones and intermittent counterpoint, dispels the terrifying dread of the song’s beginning. In a short coda, the cello provides warm strains of affirmation.

www.katherinedudney.com

Adrián A. Cuello Piraquibis is a Colombian composer who has been working in Spain since the late 1990s. He drew his love of music from his parents. His initial studies of music at conservatories in his hometown of Barranquilla and at the University of Antioquia in Medellin helped develop his proficiency in voice, choir, piano, and composition. It was in Medellin in 1996 that he wrote his first composition, Canción de Cuna, the last song on this album. From there, he moved to Spain to continue his studies at the Conservatory of Music in Zaragoza. He continues to live in Zaragoza, where he directs several notable choirs and teaches vocal technique. Cuello Piraquibis has published books on aural and vocal skills, as well as compositions in many genres.

Canción de cuna is a lullaby dedicated to a dear friend, María Cristina Castaño Molina. The text, written by the composer, is warm and soothing to the baby in the song. The music, a poignant counterpoint between the soprano and the cello, is tinged with melancholy, as if the mother consoles her child in spite of her worldly anguish; however, the overriding sense is one of comfort and hope for the future.

Texts – Translations

En un vergier sotz fuella d’albespi
Tenc la dompna son amic costa si,
Tro la gayta crida que l’alba vi.
Oy Dieus, oy Dieus, de l’alba! Tan tost ve!

“Plagues a Dieu ja la nueitz non falhis,
Ni’l mieus amicx lonc de mi nos partis.
Ni la gayta jorn ni alba no vis!
Oy Dieus, oy Dieus, de l’alba! Tan tost ve!

Bels dous amicx, baizem nos, yeu e vos
Aval els pratz, on chanto’ls auzellos,
Tot o fassam en despieg del gilos.
Oy Dieus, oy Dieus, de l’alba! Tan tost ve!

Bels dous amicx, fassam un doc novel
Yns el jardi, on chanton li auzel,
Tro la gaita toque son caramelh.
Oy Dieus, oy Dieus, de l’alba! Tan tost ve!

Per la doss’aura qu’es venguda de lay,
Del mieu amic belh e cortes e gay.
Del sieu alen ai begut un dous ray.”
Oy Dieus, oy Dieus, de l’alba! Tan tost ve!

La dompna es agradans e plazens,
Per sa beutat la gardon mantas gens
Et a son cor en amar leyalmens.
Oy Dieus, oy Dieus, de l’alba! Tan tost ve!

In an orchard under the hawthorn leaves
The lady holds her lover by her side,
Until the watchman cries that the dawn is coming.
Oh God, oh God, the dawn! It comes too soon!

“May it please God that this night doesn’t end,
Nor that my friend be parted from me,
Nor that the watchman cry that the day comes!
Oh God, oh God, the dawn! It comes too soon!

Beautiful sweet friend, let us kiss each other
In the meadow where the birds sing,
This we do in spite of the jealous one.
Oh God, oh God, the dawn! It comes too soon!

Beautiful sweet friend, let us play a new game
In the garden where the birds sing,
Until the watchman plays his horn.
Oh God, oh God, the dawn! It comes too soon!

For the gentle air which comes from there,
From my friend, beautiful, noble, and gay.
From his breath I have tasted a sweet ray.”
Oh God, oh God, the dawn! It comes too soon!

The lady is agreeable and pleasing
For her beauty draws the eye
And her heart loves truly.
Oh God, oh God, the dawn! It comes too soon!

That we’ve broken their statues,
that we’ve driven them out of their temples,
doesn’t mean at all that the gods are dead.

O land of Ionia, they’re still in love with you,
their souls still keep your memory.

When an August dawn wakes over you,
your atmosphere is potent with their life,
and sometimes a young ethereal figure
indistinct, in rapid flight,
wings across your hills.

Ah Sun-flower! weary of time,
Who countest the steps of the Sun:
Seeking after that sweet golden clime
Where the travellers journey is done.

Where the Youth pined away with desire,
And the pale Virgin shrouded in snow:
Arise from their graves and aspire,
Where my Sun-flower wishes to go.

O Rose thou art sick.
The invisible worm,
That flies in the night
In the howling storm:

Has found out thy bed
Of crimson joy:
And his dark secret love
Does thy life destroy.

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
saving
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold
(Used with permission of New Directions Publishing)

Olga, di Olga lè mani
Jalôshka, Jalôshka, durban frei zjini.
Valoshka, Valoshka, durban Heim bei mi.
Nayádo, níyada, barung esjt Du ni
Weg bush, môg Di Sie lasch!
Burach kann njet weelach
Komm da bei Kabali!

Jalôschka! Jalôschka!
Früsji ,Früsji Leima
Früsj zjinni Liebna
Tsuri durbán Scheunai friesig
Und wann Sjloss ben koena koena
Burach njet weelach, durbán liga
scheunai schlumma, früsji leima Liebna

Olga bin ai, Olga bin ai
Schlumma vanazjda
Umda Heim
Olga, Olga

Moon sister hung brightly in the high hollow night
Resistlessly pouring tides of silver
Stars withdraw, swiftly hide diminishing glory

The streams through reeds and breezes through orchards
Slipping, slumber, soon to be dripping from dark arms of dusky firs

‘Oh grande Creta! Regina dei mari,
che le tue innumerevoli navi
navigano per ogni lido,
solcando coi rostri l’ocean
fin alla terra d’Assiria!
Grande Creta,
perché mi hai dato in ostaggio
a un focolare odioso,
sposa di un nemico?
perché mi fai trascorrere in pianto
la mia penosa vita?

Ho un uomo che mi fugge,
Teseo, ora lontano, la sua fedeltà
é quella di sempre.
da bravo, a fianco d’un amante, insensato,
va per la notte profonda
della palude
da cui non si torna,
va, complice d’una folle passione
di timore o pudore,
ecco cosa cerca
nel fondo dell’universo
il padre d’Ippolito!

Ma… sull’anima triste
mi pesa un altro e piú grande dolore.
Non mi porta sollievo
né la notte né il sonno:
il mio male s’alimenta e cresce
e brucia qui dentro
come il fuoco che trabocca
dal cratere dell’Etna!
Oh, grande Creta!
Perche questa vita penosa?

Non ho più desiderio, io,
di onorare i templi con offerte,
di unirmi al coro delle donne
agitando, intorno agli altari,
le torce dei riti segreti.
Neanche di rivolgermi,
con caste preghiere e atti devoti,
alla Dea che protegge questa terra,
a lei consacrata.

Ora, prigioniera
d’un amore mostruoso
che mi tiene in suo potere
incestuoso e crudele.
sono troppo avanti
sulla strada del male
che, avvolta dal suo manto sordido
percorro cieca e disperata,
cercando invano l’oblio.

Ippolito non é piú!
Dove sei anima mia?
Chi ha dilaniato le tue membra?
Quel Toro cretese?
Quel mostro dalla testa cornuta?
Dove è finita la tua bellezza?
E quei tuoi occhi
che erano i miei unici gioielli?

No… non ritornerà.
Mai ha fatto ritorno sulla terra
chi é sceso nel regno silente
della notte perpetua.
Oh morte, morte…
unico conforto
di questo amore maledetto!
Oh morte, morte,
rifugio del pudore offeso.
Io corro tra le tue braccia!

Notte! Notte! Stelle!
Oh! Indimenticabile Fedra…

‘O mighty Crete! Queen of the seas,
may your countless ships sail to every shore
cutting with bolts through the ocean
all the way to the land of Assyria!

Mighty Crete,
why have you given me as a hostage to a hated home,
wife of an enemy?

Why do you let me pass my miserable life in tears?

I have a man who flees from me.
Theseus, now far away, his loyalty
is the same as always.
A good man, at the side of a lover, foolish
he goes through the dark night of the underworld
and doesn’t come back.

He wanders, an accomplice of a crazy passion
of fear, or of shame.
This is what he seeks
in the depth of the universe
the father of Hippolytus!

But…on my sad soul
another and greater sorrow is weighing.
Neither night nor sleep
brings me relief:
My pain eats at me, grows
and burns in me
like the fire that overflows
Etna’s craters!
Oh mighty Crete!
Why such a miserable life?

I have no more longing
to make offerings at the temples
to join in the groups of women
dancing, around the altars,
with torches for the secret rituals.
Neither to address the Goddess
with chaste prayers and devout acts
to protect this land
dedicated to her.

Now, prisoner
of a monstrous love
that holds me in its incestuous
and cruel power.
I have gone too far
on the evil path
so that, wrapped in its sordid cloak
I walk around blindly, and in despair
seeking in vain to forget.

Hippolytus is no more!
Where are you, my love?
Who has dismembered your limbs?
What Cretan bull?
What horned monster?
Where has your beauty gone?
And your eyes
that were my only jewels?

No… he will not come back.
No one has ever come back on earth
who has gone down into the silent kingdom
of eternal night.
Oh death, death…
The last remaining comfort
from this cursed love!
Oh death, death,
refuge from insulted shame.
I run into your arms!

Night! Night! Stars!
Oh! unforgettable Phaedra…

An angel, robed in spotless white,
Bent down and kissed the sleeping Night.
Night woke to blush; the sprite was gone.
Men saw the blush and called it Dawn.

Arruru, duermase mi niño
Arruru, duermaseme ya
¡A dormir!
Duermete.
Mira che la noche
Con su manto negro
Estrellitas puso sobre tu cunita
Te dió la luna y las montañas para que juegues.
¡A dormir ya!
El niño chiquito, cierra tus ojitos.
¡A dormir si!
Arruru, Arruru, a dormir.

Arruru, sleep my child,
Arruru, sleep now
To sleep!
Go to sleep.
Look how the night
with his black cloak
put little stars on your crib
He gave you the moon and the mountains to play with.
To sleep already!
Little boy, close your eyes.
To sleep, yes.
Arruru, Arruru, to sleep.

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