Three Songs (1955)

  • Donald Martino
  • James Joyce

Abstract

These three brief songs are Webernian in the delicate conciseness and richness of expression that is concentrated within a modest framework. The composer is acutely sensitive to subtle sounds of syllables, and how they can be used as an aid to effective vocalising. The smallest sound is precisely gauged and placed well in the vocal range, which is comfortable and wide so that the singer can both relax and exercise the voice. The darker colours of the bass voice will sound particularly fine against the wide-ranging and angular piano part although there is also a version transposed by the composer for high voice. It is a good idea for a young singer to practise moving his voice about more than is sometimes required by slow-moving and ponderous bass parts. Each phrase is mellifluous; they are all of a comfortable length to be sung in one breath, and some are very short. Although the songs are somewhat difficult to pitch a skilful artist will find them a delight to sing. The wonderfully sensuous texts are beautifully captured in the music and should come across clearly without further emphasis. Each song has its own character: the first uses flowing melismas to highlight special words and in the second the melodic line is more fragmented; the last song is much more dramatic and intense. The singer is given the opportunity to show a full range of emotions and sensibilities within a very short span; it is a fascinating task.

Keywords

Verse 

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Copyright information

© Jane Manning 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • Donald Martino
  • James Joyce

There are no affiliations available

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