The Music House

408 West 5th Street, Greenville NC 27834
Sunday July 28, 3:00 p.m.

Jessie Wright Martin, Mezzo-soprano

Patrick Howle, Baritone

John O’Brien, Piano


Italienisches Liederbuch
Hugo Wolf  (1860-1903)


Auch kleine Dinge können uns entzücken – Man/Woman

Even little things can delight us, even little things can be precious. Think how gladly we adorn ourselves with pearls; their price is high, yet they are only small. Think how small is the olive, yet how sought for its goodness.  Only think of the rose, how small it is–and yet as you know, its scent is so sweet.

Mir ward gesagt, du reisest in die Ferne – Woman

They told me you journey far away. Oh, where are you going, my dearest life? If I but knew the day of your leaving!  I would go with you and water your path with my tears, but think of me, and hope will glimmer. My tears are with you everywhere. Think of me–do not forget, dear heart!

Ihr seid die Allerschönste weit und breit – Man

You are the fairest far and wide, fairer than the blossoming in May! Neither Orvieto’s cathedral, nor Viterbo’s greatest fountain surpass such great beauty; such grace and enchantment are yours alone–even Siena’s cathedral must bow before you.  Oh, you are rich in charm and grace, even Siena’s cathedral is not your equal!

Mein Liebster ist so klein – Woman

My sweetheart is so small, that even without stooping he sweeps the room with his hair. When he went into the garden to gather jasmine, he was badly frightened by a snail.  He went and sat indoors to get his breath, but a fly knocked him over backwards. When he stepped up to my window, a horsefly bumped into his head. A curse on all flies and gnats, and all those with sweethearts from Maremma! A curse on all flies and midges and all who have to stoop so low to kiss!

O wüsstest du, wie viel ich deinetwegen – Man

If you only knew how much I’ve suffered each night for your sake, you fickle one! While you lay behind locked doors, I spent the night in the open. The rain was my rosewater, lightning brought me messages of love; I played at dice with the storm, as I kept watch beneath your eaves. There I made my bed; the sky spread overhead was my blanket, your doorstep served me for a pillow–oh, most miserable of men, what I must endure!

Gesegnet sei das Grün und wer es trägt! – Woman

Blessed be green and those who wear it! I’ll have a dress made in green–the meadows also wear green in spring, and the darling of my eyes wears green. To dress in green is the hunter’s custom, and my love too wears green.  Everything looks charming in green, each lovely fruit grows out of green.

Gesegnet sei, durch den die Welt entstundt – Man

Blessed be He through whom the world began; how admirable He made it on every side! He made the ocean with its endless deeps; He made the ships which glide across it; He made Paradise with its eternal light; He made beauty–and your face.

Wohl kenn’ ich Euren Stand, der nicht gering – Woman

I know full well your station is no mean one; you didn’t have to stoop so low and love such a poor humble creature, for the finest of the fine bow down to you. You conquer so easily the most handsome men, so I know you’re only trifling with me. You make fun of me–they’ve tried to warn me. But you are so lovely! Who could be angry with you?

Der Mond hat eine schwere Klag’ erhoben – Man

The moon has made a grave complaint, and made it known to the Lord; he will no longer stand there in the sky, for you have robbed him of his splendor. When last he counted the host of stars, the number was not complete. You have stolen two of the loveliest: those two eyes there, that dazzle me.

Und steht Ihr früh am Morgen auf vom Bette – Man

And when you rise early from your bed, you chase all the clouds from the sky, lure the sun to the mountains, and cherubs vie with each other to bring your shoes and clothes. Then, when you to Mass, all men are drawn to follow you, and when you approach the sanctuary the very lamps are kindled by your glance. You take holy water and moisten your brow, make the sign of the cross, then bow your head and kneel. Oh, with what charm it becomes you!  What gracious and blessed gifts God has bestowed upon you–you who received the crown of beauty! Gracious and blessed you go through life–to you the palm of beauty was given!

Du denkst mit einem Fädchen mich zu fangen – Woman

You think you can catch me with a tiny thread, and make me fall in love, with just once glance? I’ve caught others before, who aimed higher. You really shouldn’t trust me, when you see me laughing! I’ve caught others before, believe me. I am in love–but not with you!

Ein Ständchen Euch zu bringen kam ich her – Man

I have come to sing you a serenade, if the master of the house does not object. You have a pretty daughter–it would be as well if you were not strict in keeping her in. And if she is already asleep, then I beg you for my sake to tell her that her true love passed by; he thinks of her day and night, and of the twenty-four hours each day, he misses her for twenty-five.

Schweig’ einmal still, du garst’ger Schwätzer dort! -Woman

Be quiet there, you garrulous wretch! I am sick of your cursed singing, and even if you carried on till morning, you wouldn’t come out with a single decent song. Be quiet once and for all, and go to bed!  I’d rather have a donkey’s serenade!

Heb’ auf dein blondes Haupt und schlafe nicht – Man

Raise your fair head, and sleep no more–do not let slumber bemuse you! I have four weighty things to say, and not one must you miss. The first: for you my heart is breaking; the second: only to you would I belong; the third: to you I entrust my whole happiness; and the last: my soul loves you alone.

Wer rief dich denn? Wer hat dich herbestellt? – Woman

Who called you? Who sent for you? Who told you to come, if it’s such a trouble to you? Go to the sweetheart who pleases you more–go where your mind is wandering! Just go where your thoughts and fancies lie! You can keep coming here, with pleasure! Go to the sweetheart who pleases you more! Who called you? Who sent for you?

Wenn du mich mit den Augen streifst und lachst – Man

When you caress me with a glance and laugh, lower your eyes, and bow your head, I beg you for a warning sign, that I may subdue my heart, and keep it tame and quiet, when it would leap for love so great; that I may keep my heart within my breast, when it would burst forth for sheer joy!

O wär’ dein Haus durchsichtig wie ein Glas – Woman

If only your house were transparent as glass, my love, when I steal by! Then I could always see you within–how I would gaze at you with all my soul! How many glances your heart would send me–more than all the drops in a river in March! How many glances I would send to you–more than all the drops of falling rain!

Wie viele Zeit verlor ich – Man

How much of my life has been wasted in loving you! If only I had loved God all this time, a place in Paradise would be reserved for me, with a saint to sit by my side. But because I have loved you and your lovely young face, I have foolishly lost the light of Heaven, and because it is you I have loved, little bird, I shall now never enter Paradise.

Nein, junger Herr, so treibt man’s nicht, fürwahr – Woman

Oh no, young sir, you can’t carry on like this–you must try and behave properly! I’m good enough for weekends, aren’t I? But you look for something better on Sundays. Oh no, young sir, if you go on like this, your weekday sweetheart will give you notice!

Du sagst mir, dass ich keine Fürstin sei – Woman

You tell me I’m no princess, but neither did you spring from the Spanish throne! No, my lad, when you get up at cock-crow, you go off to the fields–and not in a state coach! You may jeer at my low station, but even the great are not shamed by poverty. You jeer because I have no crown, nor coat of arms–but you yourself just go on Shanks’s pony!

Hoffärtig seid Ihr, schönes Kind – Man

You are so proud, my fine one, so high and mighty with your suitors! If one speaks to you, you hardly answer, as if a pleasant greeting cost too much. You’re no Alexander’s daughter–you’ll have no kingdom or dowry. If you don’t want gold, take tin instead! If you don’t want love, take contempt!

Was soll der Zorn, mein Schatz, der dich erhitzt? – Woman

Why this rage, my love, that so inflames you? I know of no wrong I have done. Oh, rather take a sharpened knife, and come and plunge it in my breast! If a knife is of no avail, then take a sword, and let the fountain of my blood well up to heaven! If a sword is of no avail, take a steel dagger, and let my blood wash away my torment!


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Nun lass uns Frieden schliessen, liebstes Leben – Man

Now let us make our peace, my dearest life, our feud has lasted far too long. If you will not give way, I will yield to you; how could we fight to the death? Kings and princes, they make peace–should lovers then not crave it? Princes and soldiers make peace–can two lovers be defeated? Do you think, that where great men succeed, two contented hearts can fail?

Wir haben Beide lange Zeit geschwiegen – Woman

We were silent a long time–all at once our speech returned. Angels flew down from heaven and after our hostility brought peace again. God’s angels flew down and with them came peace. Angels of love came in the night, and brought peace to my heart.

Schon streckt’ ich aus im Bett die müden Glieder – Man

As I stretched my weary limbs in bed, your image, my darling, rose before me. At once I spring up, put on my shoes again, and wander through the town with my lute. The street echoes to my singing and playing; many listen, but soon I am gone. Many a girl is touched by my song, as the wind bears the singing and playing away.

Heut’ Nacht erhob ich mich um Mitternacht – Man

Last night I rose at midnight, and found my heart had stolen secretly away. I asked: Heart, where are you rushing so impetuously? It said it was escaping, just to see you. Now you see what kind of love it is—my very heart escapes my breast, to see you!

Wie lange schon was immer mein Verlangen – Woman

Oh, how long have I yearned to be loved by a musician! Now the Lord has granted me my wish, and sent me one, all milk and roses. Here he comes now, with gentle mien; he bows his head, and plays the violin.

Wie soll ich fröhlich sein und lachen gar – Woman

How can I be happy and laughing, when you’re always so openly vexed with me? You come but once in a hundred years, and then as if it were by order. Why do you come if your family frowns upon it? Set my heart free, then you can go your way. Live in peace at home with your family–what heaven ordains will come to pass. Keep the peace at home with your family–what heaven ordains, will always be.

Was für ein Lied soll dir gesungen werden – Man

What kind of song can I sing that is worthy of you? Wherever can I find it? I should most like to dig it from deep in the earth, as yet unsung by any creature; a song that no man or woman has ever heard or sung until today–not even the very oldest.

Mein Liebster singt am Haus im Mondenscheine – Woman

My beloved sings by the house in the moonlight, and I must lie listening here in bed. I turn away from my mother, and weep; the tears are my blood, tears that I cannot stem. I have wept a broad stream of them by my bed; I cannot see for tears if it is day. In my longing I have wept a broad stream by my bed; the tears of my blood have blinded me.

Nicht länger kann ich singen – Man

I can sing no longer, for the wind is strong and takes my breath away. I fear, too, that I am wasting my time. If I were only sure, I would not go off to bed; if I had but one sign, I would not go home and waste this lovely night alone.

Mein Liebster hat zu Tische mich geladen – Woman

My sweetheart asked me to supper, and yet he had no house–no wood, no hearth to boil and bake, and even the pot had long been in two pieces! There was no cask of wine, no glasses to fill; the table was mean, the cloth no better; the bread like stone and the knife quite blunt!

Ich esse nun mein Brot nicht trocken mehr – Woman

I can’t eat my bread anymore without weeping; there’s a thorn stuck in my foot. I look in vain all round me, and find no one who’ll love me. If there were just one little old man who showed a bit of love and respect! I mean, of course, a fine upstanding old man, about my own age. I mean, to be quite frank, a little old man about fourteen.

Dass doch gemalt all’ deine Reize wären – Man

If only all your charms were painted, and a pagan prince should find the portrait! He would bestow great gifts upon you, and lay his crown in your hands. His whole kingdom, to its farthest ends would be converted to the true faith.  Throughout the land it would be proclaimed: everyone shall be Christian, and adore you! Everyone at once would be converted, would become a good Christian, and worship you.

Ich liess mir sagen und mir ward erzählt – Woman

They tell me handsome Toni starves himself to death.  Since he has suffered so from love, he eats only seven loaves per tooth. After a meal, to strengthen his digestion, he consumes a sausage and seven more loaves, and if Tonina doesn’t ease his pangs, there’ll soon be famine and inflation!

Selig ihr Blinden, die ihr nicht zu schauen vermögt die Reize – Man

Blessed are the blind, who cannot see the charms that kindle our passions; blessed are the deaf, who can fearlessly laugh at the laments of lovers; blessed are the dumb, who cannot tell women of their hearts’ misery; blessed are the dead in their graves, for they shall have peace from the torments of love.

Ihr jungen Leute, die ihr zieht ins Feld – Woman

You young lads marching off to war, take care of my sweetheart! See that he’s brave under fire–he was never in his life in a battle! Don’t let him sleep in the open–he’s so delicate, he might catch his death! Don’t let him sleep under the moon–it’d be the end of him, he’s not used to it!

Und willst du deinen Liebsten sterben sehen – Man

And if you would see your sweetheart die of love, my fair one, do not bind up your hair! Let it flow freely round your shoulders, like threads of pure gold, like golden threads stirred by the breeze. Your hair is lovely, and lovely is she who wears it! Golden threads, silken threads without number–your hair is lovely, and lovely is she who combs it!

Sterb’ ich, so hüllt in Blumen meine Glieder – Man

If I should die, then cover my limbs with flowers! I do not wish that you should dig a grave for me. Lay me down beside those walls, where you have so often seen me. There let me be laid in rain and wind; gladly I would die for you, dear love. There let me be laid in sunshine and rain; dying for me is sweet, if I die for you!

Wenn du, mein Liebster, steigst zum Himmel auf – Woman

When you, my beloved, go up to heaven, I will meet you, my heart in my hand. Then you will lovingly embrace me, and we will lay ourselves at the feet of the Lord. And when He sees the anguish of our love, He will make our two loving hearts as one; the Lord God will join our two hearts as one in Paradise, in the glorious radiance of Heaven.

Benedeit die sel’ge Mutter – Man

Blessed be the mother, who bore you in sweetness and joy; you, who are favored with such beauty–how my longing flies to you! You, so beautiful of bearing, you, most gracious one on earth; you, my treasure, my delight–how sweet and blessed are you! When far from you I languish, reflecting on your beauty, how I tremble and sigh–I can hardly conceal it! I feel my heart to be on fire, the raging flames destroy my peace–ah, I am gripped by madness!

Man sagt mir, deine Mutter woll’ es nicht – Woman

They tell me your mother is against it, so stay away, my darling–do as she bids! Oh no, dearest, no! Don’t do as she bids–do visit me, defy her secretly! No, my beloved, don’t obey her any more–defy her, come more often than before!  No, don’t listen to her, whatever she may say–defy her, my love, come every day!

Geselle, woll’n wir uns in Kutten hüllen – Man

Come, brother, let us put on monks’ robes, and leave the world to those who can enjoy it! Then we will steal from door to door, and knock, “Give alms to a poor monk for Jesus’ sake!” “O you must come later, dear father, when the bread is taken from the oven. O come back later, dear father, for my little daughter lies sick!” “But if she is sick, let me go to her, for she may suddenly die! If she is sick, let me see her, that she may confess to me–and close the door and window, so no one disturbs us as I hear the poor child’s confessions!”

Verschling’ der Abgrund meines Liebsten Hütte – Woman

May my lover’s hovel be engulfed by the earth, and a lake swirl there in its place! May bullets rain on it from the heavens, and a serpent dwell there under the ground! Let the serpent who dwells there be poisonous, and poison him who was untrue to me! Let the serpent who dwells there be swollen with poison, and bring death to him who thought to betray me!

Lass sie nur gehn, die so die Stolze spielt – Man

Let her go then, if she acts so haughtily, the fairest flower in the field! You can see what catches her bright eye, for every day another takes her fancy. She carries on like Tuscany’s river, that every mountain stream must follow. It seems to me, she carries on like the Arno; one moment she has many followers, the next not one.

Ich hab’ in Penna einen Liebsten wohnen – Woman

I have a lover who lives in Penna, another in the Maremma plain; one in the lovely port of Ancona, for the fourth I have to go to Viterbo; another lives in Casentino, the next lives in my own village; I’ve yet another in Magione, four in La Fratta–ten in Castiglione!

Program Notes

The Italian Song Book demonstrates Wolf’s ultimate in compositional refinement. The first volume (22 songs) was composed in 1890-91; the second (24 songs), in 1896. It is interesting how the style remained so consistent over such a long period of time. A year later, the composer entered an asylum where he died in 1903.

The music is profound in its sheer simplicity. The original Italian text is from a collection of hundreds of rispetti, veloti, retornelli, popular ballads, songs in folk-style, Corsican songs, and death laments. In 1860 it was compiled and translated into German by Paul Heyse, a popular poet and author. Because the authors of the original Italian poems are anonymous, Wolf was able to put much more of himself into the music, as there was no revered shade of a great poet effecting his thought and feelings.

In dividing the songs between the sexes, many of the serious love-songs are for the man, while the woman exhibits moods of scorn, resentment, or humorous tolerance of her lover’s (or lovers’) defects. Hugo Wolf did not set the order of the songs and the songs do not tell a story per se. The performers have chosen the order of the songs for tonight’s performance.

Mezzo-soprano Jessie Wright Martin has enjoyed great success singing on both the lyric and concert stages.  She has performed with Opera Carolina, Southeast Kansas Symphony, Baton Rouge Symphony, Union Symphony Orchestra, Pensacola Opera, The Ohio Light Opera, and Hays Symphony Orchestra. She has been the winner of several awards and scholarships including the Katherine Dunham Baton Rouge Opera Guild Scholarship, the Rotary Club Scholarship, and the Jules F. Landry Scholarship, as well as being named a finalist in the Rose-Palmai Tenser Mobile Opera Competition.  She was the winner of the 2004 Kansas NATSAA competition.  She can be heard on both the Albany Records and Operetta Archives labels on several recordings including Ruddigore, The Gondoliers, Bluebeard, Mlle. Modiste, and The Mikado.  In 2104, she made her solo debut at Carnegie Hall on the Weil Recital Hall Stage.  In 2019, she had the privilege to perform a Scandinavian Recital Tour.  Dr. Martin holds her Doctorate of Musical Arts degree from Louisiana State University.  She also holds a Master’s in Music in Vocal Performance from Louisiana State University and a Bachelor’s in Music in Vocal Performance from The Florida State University.  Dr. Martin is currently on the faculty at Wingate University serving as Professor of Voice, Director of Opera and Artist-in Residence.  In 2011, Dr. Martin received the Debra O’Neal Award for Excellence in Teaching. In 2014, the Edwin Mellen Press published her book The Operettas of Emmerich Kálmán. Dr.  Martin is an AT.I. certified teacher of the Alexander Technique and travels regularly presenting workshops.

A versatile artist, Patrick Howle has made numerous successful appearances in opera, operetta, musical theater and solo recital performances. In recent seasons, he was seen as The Pirate King in Heartland Opera Theatre’s production of The Pirates of Penzance, Silvio in Pagliacci with Heartland Opera, Joe Gillis in Sunset Boulevard with Mobile Opera and as Eisenstein in Die Fledermaus with GLOW Musical Theatre in Greenville, SC.  He spent four summer seasons with Light Opera of Oklahoma where he performed in varying roles, including Freddy in My Fair Lady, Anthony in Sweeney Todd and Giuseppe in The Gondoliers.  Mr. Howle also sang in over thirty productions with The Ohio Light Opera where he created the roles of Marat in the world premiere of Robert Ward’s A Friend of Napoleon and Wickham in a new musical adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

In January of 2013, Mr. Howle made his Carnegie Hall recital debut, featuring the songs of composer Francis Poulenc.  His many recordings with the Ohio Light Opera can be heard on both the Albany and Operetta Archives labels.   Mr. Howle teaches voice and opera on the faculty of Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, KS.

            John O’Brien was born into a musical family and studied piano with his father through high school. He began his undergraduate studies as a double major in violin and piano performance studying violin with Robert Gerle and piano with William Masselos.  He continued his college piano studies with John Perry completing the BM and MM in piano performance at the University of Southern California.  In 1989 O’Brien was awarded the DMA in accompanying from the University of Southern California studying with Gwendolyn Koldofsy and Jean Barr.

He served  on the faculty of East Carolina University from 1985-2022.  During his tenure at ECU he served as Chairperson of Vocal Studies for 15 years, Chairperson of Keyboard Studies for 5 years, Music Director of the ECU Opera Theatre for 10 years and for 22 years he was the Professor of Accompanying. O’Brien has collaborated with such artists as Metropolitan Opera stars Hilda Harris and Victoria Livengood, violinist Eliot Chapo, tenor Bill Brown, flautist Carol Wincenc and clarinetist Deborah Chodacki.  He has performed in New York’s Merkin Recital Hall, and Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall. As harpsichordist he performed regularly with Clarino Consort and Baroque dance soloist Paige Whitley-Bauguess and he has performed recitals with soprano Julianne Baird, baroque violinist Julie Andrijeski and has been a regular keyboardist with Atlanta Baroque.  He is a founding member of the North Carolina Baroque Orchestra with which he regularly performs on keyboard, violin/viola and baroque flute.  He was a featured artist at the 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2010 Magnolia Baroque Festival in Winston-Salem NC and he has performed at the Piccolo Spoleto Festival with Chatham Baroque.