"A Lover's Promise"
Songs of Johannes Brahms
Bonnie Hoke, Soprano
Dalton Baldwin, Piano
"A Lover's Promise"
Our journey of love begins with Des Liebsten Schwur (A Lover's Promise). A young girl is gleefully lecturing her grumpy and doubtful father. She has found the right man - she has been seeing him secretly right under Papa's nose, and will marry him whether he likes it or not! Her delicious revelations launch us into a delightful exploration of love, echoed in Brahms' many love songs that follow.
There is passion and courtship (Vergebliches Stänchen; O komme, holde Sommernacht; Der Jäger; Während des Regens; Der Gang zum Liebchen; Unbewegte laue Luft; Therese; Das Mädchen spricht; Ständchen). There is love lost (An die Nachtigall; Wenn du nur zuweilen lächelst; Ach, wende diesen Blick), and love never experienced (Die Trauernde; Mädchenlied). Brahms plumbs the depths of love beyond the romantic: the love of a friend (Komm bald), love of a lost brother (An eine Äolsharfe), and longing for life itself (Der Tod, das ist die kühle Nacht).
Finally, we return to our gleeful bride and to songs of contentment and triumph (Die Schnur, die Perl' an Perle; Wir wandelten; Von waldbekränzter Höhe, and Botschaft).
Our journey is done; the bride will be wed, and all is well! Or as a poet once said,
All love is sweet,
Given or returned. Common as light is love,
And its familiar voice wearies not ever ...
They who inspire it most are fortunate,
As I am now; but those who feel it most
Are happier still.
--Percy Bysshe Shelly
About the artists:
Bonnie Hoke's warm and radiantly expressive voice has been heard in recital from Tokyo to New York to the south of France, during her long artistic collaboration with pianist Dalton Baldwin. Recent New York recitals include "A Woman's Voice: Songs of Goethe's female characters", "Voyage à Paris!", "Sweet Melody of Night: Songs of Erich Korngold", and "Wild Nights! - Songs to poetry of Emily Dickinson." Winner of the 1991 Salzburg International Mozart competition, Ms. Hoke's solo credits include Mimi in La Bohème in Vienna, Micaela in Carmen, Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro, Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte, Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni, as well as, Handel's Saul, the Mozart C Minor Mass, Mozart Requiem, Poulenc Gloria, and the Beethoven Missa Solemnis. Ms. Hoke has presented numerous lecture recitals in the US and abroad at Keio University in Tokyo, Ferris Women's College, Rowan University, Georgia State University, Westminster Choir College, the Distinguished Artists Series of the Free Library of Philadelphia, the Donnel Library in New York, and the French, Polish, and Romanian Embassies in Washington, D.C. Ms. Hoke has degrees in Music from Oberlin College and Florida State University, and received fellowships from the Franz Liszt Institute in Weimar, Germany; the Académie Musicale de Villecroze in Provence, France; and the Aspen Music Festival.
Dalton Baldwin is one of the most sought after accompanists of our time, and has worked with many internationally famous singers including Elly Ameling, Jessye Norman, Frederica von Stade, and José van Dam. His legendary artistic partnership with French baritone Gérard Sousay is documented in over fifty recordings - he has recorded the entire song literature of Poulenc, Duparc, Charpentier, and Ravel. A committed educator, Mr. Baldwin is well known for his master classes in singing around the world and, in New York, particularly for his leadership in the distinguished "Joy of Singing" competition. Mr. Baldwin was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Music from Oberlin College and received the title of Chevallier des Arts et des Lettres from the French Government.