Peter Lieberson ::::: Schirmer News Spring 2010

Peter Lieberson ::::: Schirmer News Spring 2010


Schirmer NewsNews Web Page Songs of Love and Sorrow, Peter Lieberson's newest work, premieres on March 25 featuring Gerald Finley, baritone, with James Levine and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. In this work, Lieberson sets five poems from Pablo Neruda's Cien sonetos de amor (100 Love Sonnets), the same volume from which he selected texts for Neruda Songs — his 2005 work written for his wife Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, which later won Lieberson the prestigious Grawemeyer award. The lush, romantic tonality, which gives Neruda Songs its raw, haunting emotion and reflects Lieberson's musical realization of love, is infused in Songs of Love and Sorrow with gestures of subtle dissonant harmonies and floating, introspective melodies.

Peter Lieberson

The first movement, Sonnet 46 "Des las estrellas que admiré..." (Of all the stars I admired), proclaims the speaker's sole choice of his love, "...Of all the waves...I chose only one wave, the indivisible wave of your body...From all the graces my homeland offered I chose only your savage heart."

In the second movement, Sonnet 12 "Plena mujer, manzana carnal, luna caliente..." (Full woman, flesh-apple, hot moon...), the speaker recounts the passionate, inimitable act of love.

Click here to view the
piano/vocal score of the
final movement.
 In the third movement, Sonnet 52 "Cantas y a sol y a cielo con tu canto..." (You sing, and the sun and the sky with your song...), he praises her voice: "it soars with the zing and precision of an arrow, it drops with the gravity of accompanies me through the sky."

In the fourth movement, Sonnet 69 "Tal vez no ser es ser sin que tú seas..." (Maybe nothingness is to be without your presence...), he ponders what life would be without her and what life is since coming together: "...since then I am because you are, since then you are, I am, we are, and through love I will be, you will be, we will be."

Finally, movement five, Sonnet 82 "Amor mío, al cerrar esta puerta nocturna..." (As we close this nocturnal door, my love...) he examines their passing into the world beyond "the cruel daylight." Here, "through the shadowy places," he questions "who it is who lives or dies, who rests or wakes..." but he determines that, "In this ship, or water, or death, or new life, we are united again, asleep, resurrected..." and that it is his love who "distributes all the graces of the daybreak, in my breast."

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