Schlummert ein, ihr matten Augen,
Fallet sanft und selig zu!
Sleep now, you weary eyes,
Softly and blissfully close.
— Bach, Cantata BWV 82
The cosmically gifted mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson died yesterday in Santa Fe, at the age of fifty-two. I can't seem to find the right words to respond to this crushing news, despite various attempts. David Patrick Stearns has written a very eloquent tribute. The Standing Room has a large and growing collection of memorials. I'll say simply that I am intensely grateful for every performance I heard her give, and I wish to God there had been more.
Three great recordings: Bach Cantatas (streaming at Nonesuch), Handel Arias, the DVD of Theodora. NPR has one of the Neruda Songs. An iTunes playlist: "Ombra mai fù" (Handel), "Ich habe genug" and "Schlummert ein" (Bach), "Bane of Virtue, Nurse of Passions" and "As With Rosy Steps the Morn" (Handel), "Urlicht" (Mahler, Symphony No. 2), "La Anunciación" and "Pues mi Dios ha nacido a penar" (Adams, El Niño), "Stiller Freund" (Lieberson). But she's gone.