Wednesday, January 25, 2012:Memory’s Treasure

Memory’s Treasure

Mezzo-soprano Michaela Kapustová performed a musical treasure recently at The Atrium

Have you ever heard a melody or theme which you know well but can’t identify?

Trying to remember the name or composer of a piece of music can be one of the best ways people drive themselves towards heated arguments or even temporary insanity.

Well, here’s some help.

Antonín Dvořák’s “Songs My Mother Taught Me” is a beloved and popular song you probably know because it’s often featured as part of concert programs or as an encore.

You can see mezzo-soprano Michaela Kapustová, accompanied by pianist Daniel Wiesner, perform the main theme in this video. She’s an award-winning graduate of the Brno and the Prague conservatories and has completed several master classes. In addition to concerts, Mrs Kapustová appears with the National Theatre and other opera companies.

So watch this video, and you’ll always be able to recognize Dvořák’s “Songs My Mother Taught Me:”

As is clear from Mrs Kapustová’s singing, “Songs My Mother Taught Me” is a romantic, somewhat melancholic and nostalgic piece. “I recommend this song,” Mrs Kapustová tells Opus Osm, “because it’s very melodic and makes everybody feel the love and the pain.”

Dvořák composed it in 1880 for voice and piano as one of four songs in his Cigánské Melodie (Gypsy Songs) cycle (Opus 55/4), to poems written in German by Adolf Heyduk. The words to this song are:

Songs my mother taught me in the days long vanished;
Seldom from her eyelids were the teardrops banished.
Now I teach my children each melodious measure.
Oft the tears are flowing, oft they flow from my memory’s treasure.

Mrs Kapustová continues, “In the world of music, Cigánské Melodie is very preferred and often interpreted by many soloists.” Although “Songs My Mother Taught Me” has been recorded by everyone from Joan Sutherland to Glenn Miller to Yo-Yo Ma, the Czech mezzo-soprano says of the four songs her own personal favorite is the last one, “Dejte Klec Jestřábu” (Give the Hawk a Fine Cage).

Mrs Kapustová is currently planning roles in Ponchieli’s La Gioconda in Pilsen and in Rigoletto in Česky Krumlov.

And apart from those, just in case you see her in concert performing “Songs My Mother Taught Me,” you’ll be able to fully relax and just enjoy the music with no maddening frustration, because now it will be part of your own memory’s treasure. — oo

– Mary Matz

Photo Credits: Miroslav Setnička

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