O Come You, Spirits of Death:
Halloween Tales of Gore & Folklore
Debut Album from
Danielle Marcelle Bond, Mezzo Soprano
& Milena Gligić, Piano
Translations & Notes from Danielle...
1. Erlkönig (Franz Schubert)
*I chose this as it's a quintessential, classical, haunting poem by Goethe and its setting by Franz Schubert is emblematic of musical realism of the era. I love this essay by Georg Fredrich Haas on the topic.
Who's riding through a forest at night (on a horse...it's the 1800's)? A boy & his dad, holding him safely. The boy suddenly sees the Erlking...a demon of the forest.
demon: "My son, why do you hide your face in fear?"
smart kid: "Dad! Do you see the Elf King with his crown and his tail?"
oblivious dad: "Ah, it's just some mist"
demon: "Come play with me, little boy. I'm totally fun."
kid: "Dad, don't you hear him making weird promises to me?"
dad: "Wind in the trees, kid."
demon: "Why don't you dance with my daughters? They'll lull you to sleep"
kid: "Dad! Don't you see the daughters there?!"
dad: "Ah, it's just willows."
demon: "I love little kids. But if you don't come with me, I'll grab you!"
The kid gets totally mauled by the demon and is like "Seriously, Dad! He hurt me!"
The dad is like "uh oh" and rides really fast, holding his moaning child. He races home as brave as he can. But in his arms, his child.... is dead.
Real translation & a link to a really fun version of this song.
2. The Scena Lady Macbeth by Joseph Horovitz
* I love Shakespeare and Macbeth is just a masterpiece. I love having 2 different settings of these monologues on this album.
Read all of Lady Macbeth's monologues here.
3-10. Jake Heggie's Songs to the Moon
Heggie set Vachel Lindsay's "Fairy-Tales for the Children” poems to music back in 1998. I love how friendly his music is, while still being dramatically and musically rich. This song cycle was commissioned for Fredrica von Stade, one of my favorite musicians. It captures the playful element of Halloween, where the Lady Macbeth pieces definitely focus more on the horror. I love the lightness and beauty of these songs.
11. Ernest Bloch's Macbeth: Lady Macbeth scenes
I was in the west coast premiere at Long Beach Opera back in 2013. The only recording of this music is the French language version. I love Bloch's treatment of her monologues and had to have it on this set. Milena & I arranged her music for this album, and you can hear how well Bloch's use of motifs expands and haunts her through the opera.
12. Hexenlied (Felix Mendelssohn)
You can almost hear the witches swooping around on their brooms in this song! The poem is by Ludwig Heinrich Christoph Hölty. Here's a full translation but I've got to say, my favorite line is "A fiery dragon/ Flies round the roof/ And brings us butter and eggs" What a nice dragon?! He does frighten the villagers in a moment, but hey, witches love frightening villagers too, so I think this is the perfect dragon.
A Halloween album clearly needs a track 13! Luckily, we had a creepy crawling visitor during a recording session. ;)