The Lied and
Song Texts Page
Lieder, melodies, English folk songs, even the odd opera libretto
find almost any musical text you want in this ever-swelling treasure trove,
a clear labour of love by musician and ICT expert Emily Ezust. To be precise
(easy enough, as the homepage wears the statistic with pride) the works
of 1329 poets as set by 622 composers are there for plundering in a couple
of clicks. The Lied and Song Texts Page - some page! - is a workers'
collective of the 'contributions welcome' variety, but it has few of the
weaknesses and all the strengths we'd anticipate in such enterprises. No
accusations of snobbery, please, if I suggest that the high quality of voluntary
input may be down to the type of visitor Ms Ezust must attract to a site
whose substance is never bedumbed by irrelevant colour and movement. (Elitism?
I'd say!) Why, I even found a text that had been e-mailed in by Ted Perry
at Hyperion Records. Not a bad advert for a homespun resource.
With support from Robert Ellis Crawford's REC Music Foundation,
the Ottawa-based Ms Ezust has created one of the most clearly-designed,
no-frills sites on the web for ease of access and cross-reference. A plain-Jane
of a site it may be - almost monastic in the severity of its design - but
despite (or maybe because of) this it's a model of user-friendliness. It's
nigh impossible to get lost or even take a wrong turning, which is just
as well amid such a welter of material.
Of course, the sheer scale of The Lied and Song Texts Page mitigates
against consistency and quality control; yet I've only spotted a small number
of typos, mostly involving accents in French texts, although I guess that
someone with broader linguistic skills than mine might well find a few more.
A bigger drawback for most users will be having to take pot-luck over translations.
You might find a dual text if you're lucky, e.g. for Wagner's Wesendonk
Lieder, but you're more likely to find that just where you most need
an English translation there's nothing on offer. Take the batch of Grieg
songs I unearthed yesterday: delightful material, fully worthy of its inclusion
in the Ezust Hall of Fame
it's a just shame my Norwegian's a tad rusty.
But no, such carping is hardly fair, because this carefully nurtured haven
is regularly updated and the translation picture is improving all the time.
Already in 1999 we've been treated to new English renderings of songs by
Brahms and Schubert, while the ever-fattening repertoire of original texts
by composers familiar and unfamiliar ensures that I for one shall be making
regular visits to catch up with new developments.
The Lied and Song Texts Page is at www.recmusic.org/lieder
Copyright © Mark Valencia, 26 January
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