I've been a huge fan of Emily Ezust's Lied, Art Song, and Choral Texts Archive since its inception way back in 1995. Although this huge repository of song texts is free and open to all, it is a labor of love, and Emily receives very little income from it. Enter Nicola Davies, who is planning a fundraising recital this weekend. Here is her press release:
Have you ever watched a classical singer perform, and wondered what it’s like to sing in front of hundreds or thousands, in a language you don’t speak? Language study is a large part of a singer’s training, and students at the University of Manitoba are presenting a concert February 2, to raise funds for one of the most useful websites you’ve never heard of; The Lied, Art Song, and Choral Texts Archive.
Founded by Emily Ezust, a Toronto-based amateur musician, the Archive lists over 20,000 song translations, mostly written by volunteers, which would not otherwise be readily available. This project has been a labour of love for Ms. Ezust, who started the site in 1995 while completing her M.Sc at McGill. However, the site is financially supported by 0.01% of visitors and currently is much in need of funds in order to survive.
Joining U of Manitoba in this project are music students from across Canada, with UBC singers planning their own recital, and another recital at U of Toronto in the works. Organizers of the Winnipeg event aim to bring more voice departments on board.
One of the first prerequisites of singing in another language is having a thorough understanding of the text, and poetry poses special challenges, as it is impossible to translate the exact meaning, along with rhythm, meter, and rhyme. The Art Song page presents a clear, literal, line-by-line translation, an invaluable tool for singers with limited knowledge of a language. The translations are also used to create program notes for recitals.
The recital presented at U of Manitoba, How Do I Translate Thee, will feature a wonderfully diverse array of music from the art song repertoire, presented by students of the university in support of the Archive. The recital takes place February 2, 7:30pm, at the U of Manitoba music faculty, in the Eva Clare Hall. Admission by donation, suggested $10. For info: nicoladavies [at] live dot ca, www.lieder.net.
If you can't make it to Winnipeg this weekend but would still like to donate, you can donate directly on Emily Ezust's site. Best of luck to everyone performing!