False Love / True Love
False Love / True Love was commissioned by The English National Opera and first performed at the Almeida Theater, London, in July 1992. With very minor exceptions, the text is entirely by Charlotte Brontë, drawn from the novel Jane Eyre. My adaptation consisted of the selection and condensation of Brontë’s words. The chamber opera has but two characters, Jane Eyre and Rochester, and consists of two pivotal scenes, the meeting between them immediately following their unfulfilled marriage ceremony which is interrupted by the revelation that Rochester’s insane first wife is living in the attic of Thornfield Hall, and their first meeting after many years’ separation, prompted by Jane’s divination of Rochester’s blindness and his need for her. Their concluding reconciliation is thus the true love reconstructed from the first scene’s deceit. As the form of the text is conversation, lively and passionate, the music is not organized as a string of numbers but rather as a continuous flow through which a few motives keep reappearing. The instrumentation of a piano trio was chosen to emphasize the intimacy of the musical texture, in which intricate and delicate modes of playing and constant instruments is the norm.
Three of these pieces began as solo piano works written for Yvar Mikhashoff as occasional requests to fill concerts or theme related commissions. Only the third and fifth of the set were originally conceived for the instrumentation on this
recording. In the three transcriptions, the notes of the original piano version are all registrally present and the new instrumental parts grow out of the originals rather than from a superimposition upon them.
1. A London Nocturne: Ives and Gershwin Meeting at Westminster Bridge
Ives, batting lead-off, strident and canonically craggy, hands off the Human Faith Melody from the Concord Sonata to sweet, doomed Gershwin who turns it into A Foggy Day in London Town.
2. 25th Nocturne
The title suggests its late entry into the genre perfected by Chopin.
3. The Parting Glass
Last call at an Irish pub, environmental sound included.
4. Samantha Smith
A memorial with bells for the teenager who, having written Yuri Andropov proposing an American-Russian student exchange, became a world-wide celebrity and budding actress. She died in a plane crash with her father off the coast of Maine returning from a trip to Russia in 1985.
A brief coda to the cycle.
On the morning of September 11, 2001, when the planes hit the towers, I was teaching in New York City. In the school, all were soon aware of the chaos only eight miles south, but outside at the corner of 122nd Street and Broadway one saw only the seemingly normal happenings of an unusually beautiful day. Not until the crowds started surging north in search of escape from the island some hours later was there any indication in that landscape of the enormity of what had occurred. For the rest of that day and the day that followed, I found myself accepting music, playing and writing, as though sound could offer a counterforce to the incomprehensible. These twenty minutes of music were written in those two days.
False Love / True Love
based on Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
adapted by Nils Vigeland
Scene 1: Thornfield Hall
Rochester: You have come out at last. Well, I have been waiting for you here, and listening; yet not one movement have I heard, nor one sigh. So you shun me? — you shut yourself up and grieve alone! I would rather you had come and upbraided me with vehemence. You are passionate: I expected some scene of some kind. I was prepared for the hot rain of tears; only I wanted them to be shed on my breast. Now a senseless floor has received them, or your drenched handkerchief. But I err: you have not wept at all! I see a white cheek and a faded eye, but no trace of tears. I suppose, then, your heart has been weeping blood? Well, Jane; not a word of reproach? Nothing bitter — nothing poignant? Nothing to cut a feeling or sting a passion? You sit quietly where I have placed you, and regard me with a weary, passive look. Jane, I never meant to hurt you thus. Will you ever forgive me? Jane, you know I am a scoundrel?
Jane Eyre: Yes, sir.
R: Then tell me so roundly, sharply.
JE: I cannot: I am tired and sick. Please, some water.
R: How are you now, Jane?
JE: Much better, I shall be well soon.
R: What — How is this? You won’t kiss the husband of Bertha Mason? Are my arms too full, my embraces appropriated?
JE: There is neither room nor claim for me, sir.
R: So you seek to destroy me. You will shun me, keep out of my way, just as you now refuse to kiss me.
JE: All is changed about me. I must change too. Adèle must have a new governess.
R: Ah, Adèle. She will be sent to school. And Thornfield Hall will be shut like a tomb! I’ll give Grace Poole two hundred pounds a year to live with my wife as you call that fearful hag.
JE: Sir, you are inexorable for that poor, unfortunate lady: you speak of her with hate. It is cruel. She cannot help being mad. She is your wife, sir.
R: Jane, hear me please. Will you listen?
JE: For hours, if you wish.
R: I was the younger of two sons, my father, an avaricious, grasping man. It was his resolution not to divide his property. All went to my brother. So that I should not be a poor man I was to be provided for by a wealthy marriage. I was found a partner, daughter of the richest merchant in the Indies. She was beautiful. She was rich. I thought I loved her. We were married. My bride’s mother I never met. I understood she was dead. Soon I discovered my mistake. She lived shut up as a lunatic, her son also an idiot! All this my father and brother knew. But they thought only of thirty thousand pounds. I held this not against my bride. But as the months wore on, I grew aware the curse of madness was on her also. Four years went by of such a life of torment I cannot describe. My brother died, fast then my father. Now I was a rich man and master of Thornfield Hall. Here I brought my wife and kept my secret torment hidden from all. Grace Poole I found to care for her. Ten years now she has lived in the house, made a wild beast’s den, a goblin’s cell.
JE: And what did you do, sir, after you had settled your wife there?
R: What did I do, Jane? I transformed myself into a will o’ the wisp. I sought the continent, devious went through all its lands. Ten years I roamed — Petrograd and Paris, Rome, Naples, Florence. I sought my ideal of women amongst English ladies, French contessas, Italian signoras, German graffinen. I could not find her, yet I could not live alone. A string of mistresses followed. Of Celine Varens you already know. There were others — Giacinta and Clara. I tired of all of them. But Jane, I see by your face that your opinion of me has grown small. You think me an unfeeling, unprincipled rake.
JE: I don’t like you as well as I have done before, sir. Did it not seem to you in the least wrong to live in that way? You talk of it as a matter of course.
R: It was with me and I did not like it. Now the recollection of that time fills me with loathing. Now Jane, why don’t you say your Well, sir? You disapprove of me still? Oh, Jane - can you imagine how it was for me to find you here in Thornfield Hall! From the first moment when Mansour fell and you gave me help. Childish and slender creature! It seemed as if a linnet had hopped to my foot and proposed to bear me on its tiny wings. I was surly; but the thing would not go; it stood by me with a strange perseverance, and looked and spoke with a sort of authority. I must be aided, and by that hand; and aided I was.
JE: Oh, my beating heart. Be still my wild heart.
R: Jane, you took hold of me, charmed the beast within me.
JE: Please, sir, speak no more of that time.
R: Yes, you are right, Jane. Let us think only of our bright future. You see now how the case stands — do you not? You are my sympathy — my better self — my good angel. I have found for the first time what I can truly love. I have found you. I acted cowardly. Forgive me — but that I have a wife is empty mockery. I was wrong to deceive you but feared your stubborn persistence. Let me correct that now. I give my pledge of fidelity. Jane, give me yours now. Jane, you understand what I want of you? Just this promise — I will be yours, Mr. Rochester.
JE: Mr. Rochester, I will not be yours.
R: Jane, you mean to go one way and me go another?
JE: I do.
R: Jane, do you mean to now?
JE: I do.
R: And now? Oh, Jane, this is bitter! This is wicked. It would not be wicked to love me.
JE: It would to obey you.
R: One instant, Jane. Give one glance to my horrid life when you are gone. What should I do?
JE: Do as I do: trust in God, trust in yourself. Believe in heaven. Hope to meet there again.
R: Then you will not yield?
R: You condemn me to live wretched, die accursed?
JE: I advise you to live sinless and I wish you to die tranquil. We were born to strive and endure — you as well as I: do so.
R: What distortion in your judgment. For you it is better to drive me mad than to break laws of human conduct. Who is injured? Who is offended? Who but I cares for yourself?
JE: I care for myself. The more alone, the more friendless, the more I will respect myself. Stringent are the laws of God, worthless when broken. This is all I have to stand on. Here I plant my foot.
R: You are going, Jane?
JE: I am going, sir.
R: You are leaving me?
R: You will not come — be my comforter, my rescue? My deep love, my wild woe, my frantic prayer — are nothing to you? Oh, Jane, my hope, my love, my life!
JE: God bless you, my dear master. God keep you safe from harm or wrong — well for your past kindness to me.
R: Little Jane’s love would have been my best reward. Without it, my heart is breaking. But Jane will give me her love: yes, nobly, generously.
Scene 2: A modest cottage
R: This is you, Mary, is it not?
JE: Mary is in the kitchen.
R: Who is it? What is it? Answer me. Speak! Again!
JE: Will you not have a bit more water, sir? I have spilt half of what was in the glass.
R: Who is it? What is it? Who speaks?
JE: Pilot knows me, and John and Mary know I am here. I came only this evening.
R: Great God — what delusion has come over me? What sweet madness has seized me?
JE: No delusion -— no madness: your mind, sir, is too strong for delusion — your health too strong for frenzy.
R: And where is this speaker? Is it only a voice? Oh! I cannot see, but I must feel, or my heart will stop and my brain burst. Whatever—whoever you are—be perceptible to the touch or I cannot live! Her very fingers, her small slight fingers!
If so, there must be more of her. Is it Jane? What is it? This is her shape —this is her size.
JE: And this her voice. She is all here: her heart, too. God bless you, sir! I am so glad to be near you again.
R: Jane Eyre! — Jane Eyre!
JE: My dear master, I am Jane Eyre. I have found you out — I am come back to you.
R: In truth —in the flesh? My living Jane?
JE: You touch me, sir — you hold me. I am not cold like a corpse, nor vacant like air, am I?
R: My living darling! These are certainly her limbs, and these her features: but I cannot be so blest after all my misery.
It is a dream; such dreams as I have had at night when I have clasped her once more to my heart and kissed her — and
felt that she loves me, and trusted that she would not leave me.
JE: Which I never will, sir, from this day.
R: Never will, says the vision? But I always awoke and found it an empty mockery; and I was desolate, abandoned
— my life dark, lonely, hopeless — my soul athirst and forbidden to drink. My heart famished and never to be fed. Gentle, sweet dream, nestling in my arms now, you will fly, too; as your sisters all have fled before you: but kiss me before you go —embrace me, Jane.
JE: There, sir — and there!
R: Is it you — is it Jane? You are come back to me then?
JE: I am.
R: And you do not lie dead in some ditch, under some stream? And you are not a pining outcast amongst strangers?
JE: No, sir. I am an independent woman now.
R: Independent! What do you mean, Jane?
JE: My uncle in Madeira is dead, and he left me five thousand pounds.
R: Ah, this is practical — this is real! I should never have dreamed that. Besides, there is that peculiar voice of hers, so animating and piquant, as well as soft: it cheers my withered heart; it puts life into it. What, Janet! Are you an independent woman? A rich woman?
JE: Quite rich, sir. If you will not let me live with you, I will build a house close to you and you may come and sit in my parlor when you want company of an evening.
R: But as you are rich, Jane, you have now, no doubt, friends who will look after you, and not suffer you to devote yourself to a blind lameter, like me?
JE: I told you, sir, I am independent, as well as rich. I am my own mistress.
R: And you will stay with me?
JE: Certainly — unless you object, I will be your neighbour, your nurse, your housekeeper. I find you lonely: I will be your companion —to read to you, to walk with you, to sit with you, to wait on you, to be eyes and hands for you. Cease to be so melancholy, my dear Master; you shall not be left desolate, so long as I live.
R: No — no — Jane; you must not go. No — I have touched you, heard you, felt the comfort of your presence —the sweetness of your consolation: I cannot give up these joys. I have little left in myself — I must have you.
JE: Well, sir, I will stay with you: I have said so.
R: So, Jane, you are to be my nurse and I your father!
JE: I will think what you like, sir. I am content to be only your nurse, if you think it better.
R: Ah, Jane, but I want a wife.
JE: Do you, sir?
R: Is this unwelcome news?
JE: That depends on whom you choose.
R: Jane, you choose for me.
JE: Choose then, sir, who loves you best.
R: I will at least choose whom I love best. Jane, will you marry me?
JE: Yes, sir.
R: A poor, blind man whom you must guide?
JE: Yes, sir.
R: A crippled man, twenty years older, whom you must wait on?
JE: Yes, sir.
R: Oh! my darling! God bless you and reward you!
JE: If ever I did a good deed — if ever I thought a good thought — if ever I prayed a blameless prayer — if ever I wished a righteous wish — I am rewarded now. We know that God is everywhere. We feel his presence most as when the cloudless night sky wheels His worlds their silent course.
R and JE: As countless systems in sweeping space trace their soft light — so moves each treasured soul of earth in the
strength of God. The source of life is saviour, too, of spirits. He saves what he has made.
About the Artists
Nils Vigeland, a native of Buffalo, NY, made his professional debut as a pianist in 1969 with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Lukas Foss, conductor. He later studied composition with Foss at Harvard University. As a student of Yvar Mikhashoff, he earned an MFA in Piano, and as a student of Morton Feldman, he earned a Ph.D. in Composition at The State University of New York at Buffalo. From 1981 to 1989, he directed The Bowery Ensemble, a new music group that performed an annual series of concerts at Cooper Union in New York City. As pianist, with Eberhard Blum and Jan Williams,
Vigeland has recorded all of the extended-length works of Morton Feldman for flute, percussion and piano on the HAT ART label. As composer, Vigeland’s music is available on the Lovely Music label. His choral music is published by Boosey and Hawkes. He has taught at Manhattan School of Music since 1984, where he is presently Chair of the Composition Department.
The Locrian Chamber Players, represented on this CD by Amy Goldstein, soprano, Calvin Wiersma, violin, Jonathan Faiman,
piano, Marianne Gythfeldt, clarinet, and Peter Seidenberg, cello, are a NYC based group of performers and composers whose programs are made up only of music written within the past ten years. The artistic directors and founders are the composers David Macdonald and John Kreckler. Since their first concert in 1995, they have presented over thirty premieres and have given the first NY performances of works of both emerging and established composers including George Crumb, Philip Glass, Joan La Barbara, Morton Subotnick, Nils Vigeland and Julia Wolfe.
In recording the role of Rochester in False Love/True Love, Brad Cresswell adds to a career-long identification with operatic
performance, including appearances with New York City Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, and Glimmerglass Opera. He has recorded for Deutsche Grammaphon, Carlton Classics, and New World Records and is also a composer with works presented by Sarasota Opera and Lake George Opera Festival.
Amy Goldstein, who performs the role of Jane Eyre in this recording of False Love/ True Love, has performed a remarkably diverse repertoire. A professional cantor for many years, she has recorded on the Naxos label as part of the Milken Archive of American Jewish Music. Operatic performances include Anchorage Opera, Center for Contemporary Opera, Banff Opera Theater and Central City Opera. European performances include the Britten-Pears Festival, Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, and the Wienerkammerorchester.
Jonathan Faiman, piano, enjoys an active career in New York City as pianist, composer, and educator. He has been a member of the Locrian Chamber Players since its inception and regularly appears as solo recitalist and in concerts with cellist Lawrence Stomberg and his wife, soprano Amy Goldstein. His own work has been commissioned by Sinfonia da Camera, Chappaqua Orchestra, and The Actors Company Theatre, amongst others. His CD, Hie Up The Mountain, of recent piano works by seven composers is available on MSR Classics.
Marianne Gythfeldt, clarinet, a native of Norway, is now active in many New York City ensembles including the Locrian Chamber Players, Absolute Ensemble, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and Ensemble Sospeso. She has recorded on the Koch label.
Peter Seidenberg, cello, is equally experienced as a soloist, orchestral player, and chamber musician. He has performed with the Chicago Symphony and Eastman Philharmonia and performs regularly with the Queen’s Chamber Trio. He is a founding member of the Elements Quartet and has recorded for French National Radio, Scandinavian National Radio and
NHK Broadcasting (Japan) as well as CDs for RCA and Pantheon.
Calvin Wiersma, violin, is particularly well known for his advocacy of new music, performing often with ensembles including
the Locrian Chamber Players, ISCM, Ensemble Sospeso, Cygnus Ensemble, and Ensemble 21. He is a founding member of the Figaro Trio and the Meliora Quartet. He has recorded with the Cleveland Quartet for the Telarc label.
Producers: Jonathan Faiman, David
Macdonald, and Nils Vigeland
Recording engineer: Louis Brown
Mastering and editing: Silas Brown
Cover design: Madeline Burke-Vigeland
Layout: Jenette Dill
All tracks recorded in Greenfield Hall,
Manhattan School of Music, New York City
All scores are available from Nils Vigeland
Copyright CP 2007 Nils Vigeland
Copyright CP 2007 Electronic Music
This CD was made possible in part by the
generous contributions of Bloomingdale
School of Music, Brother Mark Brown,
Robert Guttmann & Gina Philogène, Anne &
John Haskell, and James & Alice Murtaugh.