Part of being a musician is to make their audience listen to what they sing. If they could not do this, then they are just singing for profit. They themselves should be able to understand what it is they are singing, why do they want to sing it, and how are they going to perform it to give justice to the pieces composed long ago by our great musical fathers, and also be able to convey effectively the pieces’ messages to their audience so that they in turn would also appreciate and respect the music they are not fond of before.
Elizabeth Printy, a soprano; Gabriele Malzahn, a mezzosoprano; and pianists Stephen Aston and Conny Cornelia Mulawarma did those during the Music Across Borders, a musical offering held at the House of Arts, March 29. As a closing tribute to the European Culture Month in the UAE, they sang the songs of Rosa, Paisiello, Tosti, Ravel, Chausson, Massenet, Schumann, Wolf, Schubert, Strauss, Brahms and Mozart, explaining before each performance what the song is about, why the composer wrote it, and what was transpiring in the country and in the century to where the pieces came from.
You sing when Printy sings. It’s as if the air she uses to fuel her powerful voice is from your lungs. You can understand German even though you do not speak the language when Malzahn sang the songs that originated from that country. Her interpretations of the pieces allows you to sense the sadness in Tosti’s eyes or feel the pride in Massenet’s heart. You would want to master the keys of a piano when Aston plays. Mulawarma admitted that music allowed her to express her emotions, communicate to other people without words, and pray to God.
“Music opens completely a part of your life. You can escape into music. It enriches your life because it is a completely different level. It opens an aspect of your life that you cannot really say with words, [that] you cannot write down, [that] you can only feel. The more you listen to music, the deeper you would feel what is behind it that is why it is also important to grow with the music. It can take you away from your daily life. It can give you comfort. It can give you calmness. It can help you master your life, and overcome your troubles and frustrations, the daily things that bother you. It’s like a therapy. It gives you so much. It is also wonderful to give the children opportunities to express themselves and let them grow with it,” said Malzahn.
Music Across Borders happened with the cooperation of the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany and Hilton Al Ain. Embassies and consulates of Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Spain and Sweden as well as the Alliance Francaise in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, Goethe Institut Liaison Office Gulf Region and the German Academic Exchange Service Information Centre Gulf Region also contributed for the occurrence of the event.