Will you play your music if I sing my song?

I am currently in the final stages of writing up my doctoral dissertation on the contemporary implications of singing art song in translation.
I have interviewed or corresponded with over thirty prominent stakeholders in the art song realm - including pianists Graham Johnson, Helmut Deutsch, Warren Jones, Martin Katz, Iain Burnside, Christopher Glynn, Rena Sharon, Sholto Kynoch and Erika Switzer; singers Roderick Williams, Barbara Hannigan, Mark Padmore, Toby Spence, Tyler Duncan and Ema Nikolovska; songwriters Sara Slean and Gabriel Kahane; composers Bram Gielen and Norbert Palej; scholars Katy Hamilton and Susan Youens; film-maker/director David Paul; poet Nick Drake; and translators Richard Stokes, Amanda Holden and Jeremy Sams - as you might imagine their views are diverse and fascinating on this topic.

Some great things to read if you’re thinking about songs and translation:
1915 Sigmund Spaeth ‘Translating to Music’ published in The Musical Quarterly, 1:2 Pages 291–298
1921 A.H.F. Strangways ‘Song-translating’ Music and Letters Pages 211-224
1921 M-D. Calvocoressi ‘The Practice of Song-Translation’ Music and Letters Vol. 2, No. 4 (Oct., 1921) Pages 314-322
1922 Herbert Peyser ‘Some observations on translation’ The Musical Quarterly Vol. 8, No. 3 (Jul., 1922) Pages 353-371
1931 Harry Plunkett-Green ‘Interpretation in Song’ pages 120-130, 139, 224
1952 Henry Drinker ‘On translating vocal texts’ The Musical Quarterly Pages 225-240
1969 W.H.Auden ’Notes on Music and Opera’ and ’Translating Opera Libretti (Written in collaboration with Chester Kallmann) from The Dyer’s Hand and Other Essays Vintage International, Random House Pages 465-474 and 483-499
1976 John Duke ‘Some Reflections on the Art Song in English’ American Music Teacher, Vol. 25, No. 4 (February-March 1976), Pages 26 and 29
1977 Andrew Porter ‘Song in Green’ New Yorker February 28
1989 Arthur Graham ’A New Look at Recital Song Translation’ published in Translation Review, 29:1, Pages 31-37
1993 Frederic Kirchberger ‘Sing Them In English!’ Volume 1 Translator’s Preface The Scarecrow Press
2003 Peter Low ‘Singable Translations of Songs’ Perspectives 11 (2) Pages 87-103
2003 Peter Low ‘Translating poetic songs: An attempt at a functional account of strategies’ Target 15 (1) Pages 95-115
2005 Peter Low ‘The Pentathlon approach to translating songs’ in Song and Significance: Virtues and Vices of Vocal Translation Rodopi Pages 185-212
2005 Dinda Lee Gorlee Ed. ‘Song and Significance: Virtues and Vices of Vocal Translation’
2008 Peter Low ‘Translating Songs that Rhyme’ published in Perspectives: Studies in Translatology, Vol. 16 No. 1&2 Pages 1-20
2008 Susam-Sarajeva Ed. ‘The Translator: Translation and Music’
2010 Paul O. Jenkins Chapter 7 ‘The Lovely Milleress and Stony Brook’ in ‘Richard Dyer-Bennett: The Last Minstrel’ University Press of Mississippi
2013 Helen Julia Minors Ed. ‘Music, Text and Translation’ Bloomsbury
2016 Ronnie Apter and Mark Herman ‘Translating for Singing: The theory, art, and craft of translating lyrics’ Bloomsbury Advances in Translation

image copyright Simon van Boxtel

image copyright Simon van Boxtel

“What language do you like singing in best?”: Roderick Williams on Schubert's Winterreise

Roderick Williams recently shared some of his experiences singing Winterreise in Jeremy Sams’ new translation for schoolchildren with online magazine Bachtrack

image copyright Chiltern Arts Festival

image copyright Chiltern Arts Festival

Brahms in Love

One of Jeremy Sams’ recent song productions ‘Brahms in Love’ featured some modern re-workings - this rehearsal video from Chiltern Arts Festival offers a particularly cheeky example

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Jeremy Sams’ translations of Wolf’s Italian Songbook were recently premiered at Milton Court - you can find the programme below: