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Music: Instructions for Printed Recital Programs: Program Notes/Translations

Instructions for music students to use in formatting their recital programs, including a guide to researching the program content.

Program Notes/Text Translations

Having translations or program notes is not required but here are some suggestions should you decide to include these as an insert to your program.

Program notes are combined with the summary or translation of the song/aria and should first cite the composer and the name of the song or aria in bold print. Notes for songs may include a paraphrase with three or four sentences summarizing the idea and atmosphere of the poem. (Examples of this may be found in Singer’s Repertoire, Part V: Program Notes for the Singer’s Repertoire by Berton Coffin and Werner Singer from Scarecrow Press Inc. available in the reference section of the Music Library under Ref. ML 128.V7 C67 1960).

IMPORTANT: Program notes should be original compositions. The information should be researched via several sources, often offering the same information, but the wording and syntax must be unique—DO NOT PLAGIARIZE. The performer will be credited in the program for compiling the notes.   

For arias from operas, cite the act and scene from which the aria comes and summarize the action that takes place before and after, including any pertinent storyline information, as well as a summary of the aria translation. Year of composition and time and place of opera’s premiere can also be included. Arias from oratorios may be similarly summarized. For cantatas, a translation of sacred text is normally used.

Translations of poetry should be single spaced (double spaced between stanzas). Maintain the visual form of the poetic stanzas as much as possible for both the original texts and translations. English texts should be included in programs. Cite the title of the poem (in the original language and in the translation), and, if applicable, the collection from which the poem comes, the name and dates of the author, and the name of the translator. The following websites, containing thousands of classical song texts, arias, and translations, are helpful resources:

There are also numerous print sources of texts and translations in the Music Library reference sections under the numbers ML 48  - ML 54.6.

EXAMPLES

Gaetano Donizetti (1797–1848) was one of the brilliant triumvirate (Donizetti, Bellini, Rossini) who were primarily responsible for the development of Italian opera in the first half of the 19th century. Donizetti was quite prolific, composing 67 operas, but only a handful have remained in the modern repertoire. La Fille du Régiment (The Daughter of the Regiment)was first performed by the Opéra Comique in Paris, in 1840. The action takes place in the Swiss Tyrol during the Napoleonic wars.

“Chacun le sait” takes place in Act I of the opera. After inducting a young Tyrolese peasant into their regiment, the grenadiers from the 21st French Regiment call on Marie to sing the invigorating song of the regiment.

“Chacun le sait”
      from La Fille du Regiment
Libretto by Jean Francois Bayard
and J.H. Vernoyde Saint-Georges

“All know”
 

Chacun le sait, chacun le dit,
Le regiment par excellence.
Le seul a qui l'on fass' credit
Dans tous les cabarets de France.
Le regiment, en tous pays,
L'effroi des amants des maris,
Mais de la beaute bien supreme!

Il est la, morbleu!
Le voila, corbleu!
Il est la, il est la, le voila,
Le beau Vingt unieme!

Il a gagne tant de combats,
Que notre empereur on le pense,
Fera chacun de ses soldats,
A la paix, marechal de France!
Car, c'est connu, le regiment,
Le plus vain queur, le plus charmant,
Qu'un sexe craint, et que l'autr aime!

All know, all say,
The regiment above all.
The only one to whom credit is given
In all the cabarets of France.
The regiment in all the land,
The terror in love and in war,
But of beauty most supreme!

They are there, by the devil!
There they are, by Jove!
They are there, there they are,
The smart 21st!

They so completely win their battles,
That our emperor, one would think,
They will all be, who are now soldiers,
At peacetime, Marshalls of France!
For, it's known, the regiment,
The most victorious, the most charming,
That one sex fears, and the other loves!

 

Gabriel Fauré (1845–1924) was one of the most influential composers of late-19th-century impressionism in that he was a champion of the harmonic and melodic language emulated during that musical era. Highly influenced by his teacher and mentor, Camille Saint-Saëns, he began his career working as a choral accompanist and organist. As many other artists, Fauré struggled to make a living, experiencing fame only at the end of his life. Nevertheless, his influence is evidenced by the output of his famed students, Maurice Ravel and Nadia Boulanger.

Adieu (Farewell) speaks of the fickleness of the world—how quickly everything dies. The rose wilts, our sighs disappear in smoke. Our dreams and our hearts change. Even the longest love affairs are, in essence, short. The poet goes on to say that in light of the temporary nature of all things, he must say “farewell” almost at the moment of the first meeting.

Adieu
     Poetry by Charles Jean Grandmougin

Farewell

Comme tout meurt vite, la rose
Déclose,
Et les frais manteaux diaprés
Des prés; 
Les longs soupirs, les bienaimées,
Fumées! 

On voit dans ce monde léger
Changer,
Plus vite que les flots des grèves,
Nos rêves,
Plus vite que le givre en fleurs,
Nos coeurs!   

À vous l'on se croyait fidèle,
Cruelle,
Mais hélas! les plus longs amours
Sont courts!
Et je dis en quittant vos charmes,
Sans larmes, 
Presqu'au moment de mon aveu,
Adieu! 

Like everything that dies quickly,
the blown rose,
the fresh multicolored cloaks
on the meadows.
Long sighs, those we love, 
gone like smoke.  

One sees in this frivolous world,
Change.
Quicker than the waves on the beach,
Our dreams,
Quicker than frost on the flowers,
Our hearts.  

One believes oneself faithful to you,
Cruel,
But alas! the longest of love affairs
Are short!
And I say on quitting your charms,
Without tears, 
Close to the moment of my avowal,
Adieu!