Love Songs (2008)

Ana Sokolović

solo female voice

Commission: Queen of Puddings Music Theatre, with support from the CALQ

To my children Eva and Gustave

For solo female voice Love is a universal, inexhaustible source of inspiration. Love follows us. Love is the cause and effect. It incites the strongest of actions: it sets off wars, but it also inspires poets. Love is sung of in every language in the same way—every variety of happiness, every sort of worry, each kind of sadness, and each type of tenderness has something in common. For Love Songs I drew inspiration from various aspects of love and grouped them into five parts: pure love, tender love, childish love, mature love, and love for someone lost. I surrounded these parts with interludes in which the phrase “I love you,” is spoken in 100 different languages. The main texts are sung in five languages, including French, English, Serbian, Gaelic, and Latin.

A spectacular tour-de-force for solo singer. Award-winning composer Ana Sokolović chooses her favourite love poems from different countries, sets them to music and frames each set with I Love You in 100 languages. “…a magnificent work… The geographic, linguistic and emotional expansiveness of Sokolović’s texts carries over into her music, which goes far beyond conventional operatic use of the voice… Phillips went beyond virtuosity and entered into the various states of love with purity of heart as well as voice, and conveyed an exhilarating freedom and daring as she leapt from language to language — especially in the dizzying “I love you’s”…A full day later, I was still shaken by her performance… Sokolović has touched the primeval heart of civilization …(and) breathes new life into Canadian music theatre” — Tamara Bernstein, The Globe and Mail

Performances