Message from the Director, February 2017

My child, my sister,
Think of the sweetness/ Of going to live there together! To love free from care/ To love and to die,
In the land that is the image of you!
The misty sunlight/ Of those changeable skies
To my mind has the same mysterious charm
Of your treacherous eyes,/ Sparkling through their tears. There all is harmony and beauty,
Luxury, calm, and pleasure.

Baudelaire: “L’Invitation au Voyage”

Dear friends,
These simple, affecting lines may lose something in translation (‘Luxe, calme, et volupté’ is the original famous last line), but whether you are reading them here for the first time, or have known them for decades, they lure you into a world of yearning, idealism, and love.

I have memories of studying this Baudelaire poem as a student in Paris, when I spent endless hours wandering the misty quais, pining for a kindred soul (remember our 20’s?). I was seduced by the sensual nuances and beauty of the French language, the way the words formed in the mouth. Only much later did I discover that countless poems of this era had been set to music, in mesmerizing Art Songs, or Mélodies Françaises, that evoke in music the heart rend and rapture of the texts, and which open today’s program.

It was thrilling to discover a new piece to “borrow” from the violin repertoire: the beguiling piano trio of an eighteen-year-old Claude Debussy, lost for 100 years and only reconstructed and published in the 1980’s! It is relatively unknown to the music world, but offers a rare and early glimpse into the young composer Debussy was before he led the new sound worlds of Impressionism. I hope you find it as charming as I do.

Finally, the brooding, beautifully fervent Piano Quartet No. 2 of Gabriel Fauré, lesser known than the C minor which Mistral performed a few years back (and recorded- Cd available!) has the emotional power to whisk you all away from the issues of today, personal and global, and send you out into the night feeling a renewed sense of love for your friends, romantic partners, and the world!

Happy Valentine’s Day!