Love is patient, love is kind, love is a battlefield, love is a verb, love is all around, love is all you need, love is… Love is a reliable artistic inspiration, that’s what it is. And we don’t mean only that twitterpated kind of love, though plenty of cash will be coughed up this month roses and chocolates and chintzy teddy bears bombarded with hearts and glitter. Love also means sacrificing oneself for family, putting their needs first. It means sticking together even when you’ve both become all sags and wrinkles. It means reflecting fondly on those who’ve left this world too soon. It means sharing your life, both the happy and the heartbreaking parts of it.
Immerse yourself in this music, study the stories behind these songs, and see how love truly is a thing of Many Splendours.
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7. Jón Leifs – Erfiljóð (Elegies): III. Sjávarljóð (Sea Poem) – Leifs was estranged from his family when his teenage daughter Líf drowned in 1947, and he composed four different works as a way of seeking forgiveness from her. In Erfiljóð, composed for a male chorus accompanied by female soloist and violin, one can hear both his profound grief and his tender love for her, and the song ends with “I shall gladly await my own death…long hours I think of you.”
8. Georgy Sviridov – 3 Choruses from Tsar Fyodor Ioannovich, No. 2: Sacred Love – Sviridov is best known in the West for his choral work, including his set titled Pushkin’s Wreath and his 3 Choruses from Tsar Fyodor Ioannovich, based on Tolstoy. The second of these three choruses is featured here, its text translating to “Sacred love, you are persecuted, soaked in blood. You are sacred love.”
9. Peter Lieberson – Neruda Songs, No. 5: Amor mio, si muero y tu no mueres (My love, if I die and you don’t) – This song cycle, taken from poetry by Pablo Neruda, was composed for Lieberson’s wife, singer Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, and she gave the premiere performance in 2005. The work is rendered all the more poignant when considering that Hunt Lieberson was battling breast cancer, to which she succumbed a year later.
10. Friedrich Von Flotow – Martha, Act III, Aria: Ach so fromm, ach so traut – Martha tells the story of two rich girls who, for amusement, take up work as maids. The farmers who hire them quickly fall in love with them, and recognizing this, the girls run away. One of them, Lyonel, sings this aria upon encountering his “Martha” in her real life as lady-in-waiting to Queen Anne.
12. Ludwig van Beethoven – Andante in F Major, “Andante favori” – Beethoven’s love for Countess Josephine von Brunsvik is well-documented, and she is the most likely candidate to be his mysterious “Immortal Beloved”. His Andante in F Major is one of his many musical declarations of love for her, a love that went unfulfilled, largely due to his lower social status and lack of title.
13. Sergey Prokofiev – Romeo and Juliet, Op. 64, Act I: Balcony Scene – There is certainly no story more widely associated with young love than Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Apparently the epitome of romance involves teenagers dying in the end. Prokofiev’s imposing “Montagues and Capulets” portion might be the most immediately recognizable, but the lovely passage here, depicting the star-crossed lovers’ balcony scene, is also quite noteworthy.
16. Henryk Górecki – Symphony No. 3, "Symphony of Sorrowful Songs": II. Lento e largo – Tranquilissimo – This text uses words scrawled on a prison wall by Helena Wanda Błażusiakówna, a teenaged Gestapo prisoner in 1944: “Oh Mama do not cry – Immaculate Queen of Heaven support me always.” Said Górecki, “The whole wall was covered with inscriptions screaming out loud: ‘I’m innocent’…while here is an 18-year-old girl…[who] only thinks about her mother: because it is her mother who will experience true despair.” Now that is love.
Each month, Naxos Music Library presents a themed playlist for our
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can be a bit daunting, so we'd like to highlight some of the amazing
music that is available to you. Let it kickstart discovery!