The music of Antonín Dvořák has brought into my singing life perhaps the most pure joy. Dvořák’s blend of sophistication and rustic folk traditions yields melodies that are like rivers; you start floating among that beauty and you never want it to stop. One of the most inspiring and heart wrenchingly beautiful performances I ever had the honor to be a part of was NYFOS’s Dvořák and the American Soul (2012, repeated from 2002). This program examined the work of Dvořák arising from his stay in America. It featured the music of Henry Burleigh and considered the two composers’ influence on one another. Beyond this concert, singing Rusalka has been tremendous privilege and my fondest memory. Dvořák can make you ache at the beauty of what he’s written, breaking your heart and gifting you with the deepest appreciation of the musical art and its connection to humanity.
My Song of the Day is “Dobrú noc, má mila” (“Good Night, My Darling”), the first one in the cycle, “V národním tonu” (In Folk Manner), op 73. The text is taken from a Slovalk folk song, but Dvořák preserved only some melodic elements from the original, which he developed into an expansive, soulful melody. My chosen performances is by Lucia Popp.
Good night, my darling,
Let God himself
Be your Guardian.
Good night, sleep well,
I wish you only
Dream yourself a dream, please do,
When you get up, give the dream credence,
That I love you, that my heart
I give to you.