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Justin Holland
Scraps from the Operas arranged for Two Guitars

No. 9 - Martha 1

 

Justin Holland, Scraps From The Operas

Opera: Martha
Composer: Friedrich von Flotow
Premiere: Vienna, 1847.

Scrap 1: Scherzando.

This music is not to be found in my "complete" recording of Martha. It has a similar spirit to the ensemble of young maids at the Richmond Fair where they tout their skills to the farmers in the hopes of being hired out ("I can sew, I can mow").

Scrap 2 (1:14): Adagio con molto espress.

This is the famous song The Last Rose of Summer. Flotow didn't write it; the melody is an old Irish air called "The Groves of Blarney", and Thomas Moore wrote the English words.

You need to know that "Martha" is really the Queen's maid of honor, Lady Harriet, masquerading as a servant girl for a lark. She was hired by the farmer Lionel at the fair. In Act 2 of 4, she is completely inept at the chores assigned to her, but Lionel develops a fondness anyway. He asks her to sing a folk song, and she sings The Last Rose of Summer. Lionel falls completely then, and she herself is somewhat touched by his evident good qualities, but she escapes from the house that night.

In Act 3, a downcast Lionel sings a few lines of The Last Rose of Summer himself. This directly precedes the famous aria "Ah, so pure" (see Scrap 2 in Martha No. 2 below.) Lionel is hauled off to jail for his "mad" behavior towards the Queen's maid of honor.

Lionel is released, and in Act 4 Lady Harriet ("Martha") visits him to patch things up. There is fear that he has lost his mind over what he's been through, and Lady Harriet sings The Last Rose of Summer again to try to bring him back to his senses. It doesn't work.

All ends well, since Lionel was actually high-born himself. The music for The Last Rose of Summer is used one more time for the closing of the opera. Lady Harriet ("Martha") and Lionel sing: "Spring has come, the roses are in bloom. The future shines pleasantly," and everyone joins in.

Scrap 3 (2:51): Tempo primo.

Reprise of Scrap 1.

PLAY OPERA SCRAP NO. 9 - "Martha 1"

Next Opera Scrap: No. 10 - "Martha 2"
Previous Opera Scrap: No. 8 - "Maritana"
Index of all 20 "Scraps From The Operas"

 


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