Valentine’s Day Concert

Last summer, a soprano told me about some modern love songs she wanted to sing for Valentine’s Day. While we never managed to get together to try them out, the conversation got me thinking about doing my own concert on Valentine’s Day.

As a young teenager, I lived on Barbara Cartland historical romance novels and Harlequin romances. In reading books on the psychology of love, I tried to form a taxonomy of the different kinds of love and the various stages of love. Ultimately I looked forward to experiencing love as I journeyed to adulthood.

I learned over the years that one has to experience it to be able to express it. I play Chopin’s nocturnes and Brahms’ intermezzi differently now than as a young college student. Similarly what I had read in theory so many decades ago has now been put into practice though not intentionally.

We now know a lot more about the brain and its chemistry when it comes to experiencing romantic love. Music comes to life when put into context. The shared experience of listening to a particular love song becomes symbolic of that relationship. As I search through my collection of love songs for Valentine’s Day, I travel down a memory lane of music I love.

The elderly audience on Tuesday 14th February 2012 have their own memories. I cannot possibly evoke significant moments without knowing the love songs of their life stories.

After a Saturday afternoon of trying out different pieces from my collection in Maui (the rest is in the Netherlands), I’ve narrowed it down to the following list. Next, I need to order them according to mood and story line. The classical works and love arias from opera will set the mood. Towards the end, I will ask the audience to join in singing the more popular songs.

Salut D’amour op. 12: Elgar
Canon in D: Pachelbel (George Winston arrangement)
Thais Meditation**: Massenet
Omio Babbino Caro (Gianni Schicchi): Puccini
E Incevan le stelle (Tosca): Puccini
Annie’s Song**: John Denver
Song Bird**: Christine McVie
I Left My Heart in San Francisco: Douglas Cross & George Cory
Besame Mucho: Consuelo Velazquez & Sunny Skylar
Can You Feel the Love Tonight: Elton John
The Moon Represents My Heart (Chinese)**
Sukiyaki: Rokusuki Ei and Hachidai Nakamura
Can’t Help Falling in Love: George David Weiss, Hugo Peretti, Luigi Creatore
What a Wonderful World : George David Weiss, Bob Thiele
What a Wonderful World** Iz version
Let It Be: John Lennon, Paul McCartney
Aloha Means I Love You**: Robert L. Lukens, John Avery Noble

After putting this program together, I learned of the sudden death of Whitney Houston the same evening. As a tribute to her, I will include “I Will Always Love You” and “The Greatest Love of All.” This means removing a few pieces to ensure the concert lasts no longer than 1 hour — thus the asterisk ** marked here.