Jo Vincent, Dutch Soprano

Here we have Jo (Johanna) Vincent, the most famous Dutch singer of the first half of the 20th century. She was not an opera singer. She was rather a recitalist and an oratorio singer. I am now going to tell you what I had to go through to post this wonderful singer. Here is the link of youtube

However, I did not use this link. Sometimes, in the effort to clean up the noise on old recordings, people go through all sorts of attempts to remaster the older recordings, and in doing so, they take out many frequencies, especially the high frequencies. This tend to rob the voice of its roundness and its beauty. When I first listened to the youtube recording, I suspected that there was a lot more to this voice that I was hearing. So, I downloaded the sound file from youtube, and I remastered it myself. I put back a lot of the frequencies that had been removed. Consequently, you will hear noise on the file that I am asking you to listen to, but you will hear what her voice sounded like. I am giving you the youtube link so that you can compare what the voice sounded like before and after I remastered it.

The thing to notice about her singing is how expressive it is without pushing the voice or squeezing or swallowing (that is, using the swallowing muscles to force a sound). This voice has no weight on it.

Frühlingsglaube

Die linden Lüfte sind erwacht,
Sie säuseln und weben Tag und Nacht,
Sie schaffen an allen Enden.
O frischer Duft, o neuer Klang!
Nun, armes Herze, sei nicht bang!
Nun muss sich Alles, Alles wenden.

Die Welt wird schöner mit jedem Tag,
Man weiss nicht, was noch werden mag,
Das Blühen will nicht enden.
Es blüht das fernste, tiefste Tal:
Nun, armes Herz, vergiss der Qual!
Nun muss sich Alles, Alles wenden.

Faith In Spring

Balmy breezes are awakened;
they stir and whisper day and night,
they create everywhere.
O fresh scents, O new sounds!
Now, poor heart, do not be afraid.
Now all must all, all must change.

The world becomes more beautiful with each day;
One cannot know what is still to happen;
the flowering will not end.
The deepest, most distant valley is in flower.
Now, poor heart, forget your torment.
Now all must all, all must change.

Der Nussbaum

Es grünet ein Nussbaum, vor dem Haus,
Duftig,
Luftig
Breitet er blättrig die Blätter aus.

Viel liebliche Blüten stehen d’ran,
Linde
Winde
Kommen, sie herzlich zu umfahn.

Es flüstern je zwei zu zwei gepaart,
Neigend,
Beugend
Zierlich zum Kusse die Häuptchen zart.

Sie flüstern von einem Mägdlein, das
Dächte
Die Nächte
Und Tagelang, wüsste ach! selber nicht was.

Sie flüstern—wer mag verstehen so gar
Leise
Weis’?
Flüstern von Bräut’gam und nächstem Jahr.

Das Mägdlein horchet, es rauscht im Baum;
Sehnend,
Wähnend
Sinkt es lächelnd in Schlaf und Traum.

The Walnut Tree

A nut tree blossoms outside the house,
Fragrantly,
Airily,
It spreads its leafy boughs.

Many lovely blossoms it bears,
Gentle
Winds
Come to caress them tenderly.

They whisper, paired to each other,
Inclining,
Bending
Daintily their delicate heads to kiss.

They whisper of a maiden who
Dreamed
The nights
And days, oh, she could not know of what.

They whisper—who can even understand
So softly
Or seen?
Whisper of a bridegroom and next year.

The maiden listens, the tree rustles;
Yearning,
Musing
She drifts smiling into sleep and dreams.

Auf Flügeln des Gesanges

Auf Flügeln des Gesanges,
Herzliebchen, trag ich dich fort,
Fort nach den Fluren des Ganges,
Dort weiß ich den schönsten Ort.

Dort liegt ein rotblühender Garten
Im stillen Mondenschein;
Die Lotosblumen erwarten
Ihr trautes Schwesterlein.

Die Veilchen kichern und kosen,
Und schaun nach den Sternen empor;
Heimlich erzählen die Rosen
Sich duftende Märchen ins Ohr.

Es hüpfen herbei und lauschen
Die frommen, klugen Gazelln;
Und in der Ferne rauschen
Des heiligen Stromes Welln.

Dort wollen wir niedersinken
Unter dem Palmenbaum,
Und Liebe und Ruhe trinken,
Und träumen seligen Traum.

On wings of song

On wings of song
I’ll bear you, beloved, away,
Away to the fields by the Ganges
Where I know the loveliest spot.

A red-blossoming garden lies there
In the stillness of the moonlight;
The lotus flowers await
Their dear little sister.

The violets titter and flirt
And gaze above at the stars;
Secretly the roses tell
Fragrant tales to each other.

The knowing and innocent gazelles
Come leaping up to listen;
And in the distance murmur
The waves of the sacred stream.

There we want to lie down,
Underneath the palm tree,
And drink in love and peace
And dream a blissful dream.

Es muss ein Wunderbares sein

Es muß ein Wunderbares sein
Ums Lieben zweier Seelen,
Sich schließen ganz einander ein,
Sich nie ein Wort verhehlen,
Und Freud und Leid und Glück und Not
So mit einander tragen;
Vom ersten Kuß bis in den Tod
Sich nur von Liebe sagen.

It must a rapture be

It must a rapture be,
The love of two souls,
To consume each other totally,
Never conceal a word,
And joy and suffering and hardship
All with each other share;
From the first kiss until death
Only let love be told.

Träume

Sag, welch wunderbare Träume
Halten meinen Sinn umfangen,
Daß sie nicht wie leere Schäume
Sind in ödes Nichts vergangen?

Träume, die in jeder Stunde,
Jedem Tage schöner blühn,
Und mit ihrer Himmelskunde
Selig durchs Gemüte ziehn!

Träume, die wie hehre Strahlen
In die Seele sich versenken,
Dort ein ewig Bild zu malen:
Allvergessen, Eingedenken!

Träume, wie wenn Frühlingssonne
Aus dem Schnee die Blüten küßt,
Daß zu nie geahnter Wonne
Sie der neue Tag begrüßt,

Daß sie wachsen, daß sie blühen,
Träumend spenden ihren Duft,
Sanft an deiner Brust verglühen,
Und dann sinken in die Gruft.

Dreams

Tell me, what kind of wondrous dreams
are embracing my senses,
that have not, like sea-foam,
vanished into desolate nothingness?

Dreams, that with each passing hour,
each passing day, bloom fairer,
and with their heavenly tidings
roam blissfully through my heart!

Dreams that like holy rays of light
sink into the soul,
there to paint an eternal image:
forgiving all, thinking of only one.

Dreams which, when the Spring sun
kisses the blossoms from the snow,
so that into unsuspected bliss
they greet the new day,

So that they grow, so that they bloom,
and dreaming, bestow their fragrance,
these dreams gently glow and fade on your breast,
and then sink into the grave.

Ich liebe dich

Ich liebe dich, so wie du mich,
Am Abend und am Morgen,
Noch war kein Tag, wo du und ich
Nicht teilten unsre Sorgen.
Auch waren sie für dich und mich
Geteilt leicht zu ertragen;
Du tröstetest im Kummer mich,
Ich weint’ in deine Klagen.

Drum Gottes Segen über dir,
Du, meines Lebens Freude.
Gott schütze dich, erhalt’ dich mir,
Schütz und erhalt’ uns beide.

I love you

I love you as you love me,
At evening and at morning,
No day there was when you and I
Did not share our sorrows.
And for me and you they were,
When shared, an easy burden;
You comforted me in my distress,
I wept when you lamented.

May God then bless you,
You, my life’s delight.
God protect and keep you for me,
Protect and keep us both.

Wiegenlied

Schlafe, schlafe, holder, süßer Knabe,
Leise wiegt dich deiner Mutter Hand;
Sanfte Ruhe, milde Labe
Bringt dir schwebend dieses Wiegenband.

Schlafe, schlafe in dem süßen Grabe,
Noch beschützt dich deiner Mutter Arm.
Alle Wünsche, alle Habe
Faßt sie liebend, alle liebwarm.

Schlafe, schlafe in der Flaumen Schoße,
Noch umtönt dich lauter Liebeston;
Eine Lilie, eine Rose,
Nach dem Schlafe werd’ sie dir zum Lohn.

Lullaby

Do sleep, do sleep, lovely, sweet boy,
To the gentle rocking of your mother’s hand;
Peaceful sleep, and calm refreshment
Does come floating with each gentle pull.

Do sleep, do sleep in your sweet berth,
Still protected by your mother’s arm,
All her wishes, all your talents
Encompassing, in her steady love.

Do sleep, do sleep, in that downy embrace,
Still you only hear a gentle crooning,
Dewy flowers: lilies and roses,
after slumber they will be your prize.

Mondnacht

Es war, als hätt’ der Himmel,
Die Erde still geküßt,
Daß sie im Blütenschimmer
Von ihm nur träumen müßt’.

Die Luft ging durch die Felder,
Die Ähren wogten sacht,
Es rauschten leis die Wälder,
So sternklar war die Nacht.

Und meine Seele spannte
Weit ihre Flügel aus,
Flog durch die stillen Lande,
Als flöge sie nach Haus.

Moonlit Night

It was as if Heaven
Had softly kissed the Earth,
So that it in a gleam of blossom
Must only to dream of him.

The breeze passed through the fields,
The corn swayed gently,
The forests rustled softly,
So star-clear was the night.

And my soul spread
Its wings out wide,
Flew across the silent lands,
As if flying home.

This is a song by Tchaikovsky that was translated into German. The English matches the German, but it probably is not accurate when compared to the original Russian. I have given the name by which this song is known in English.

Nur wer die Sehnsucht kennt

Nur wer die Sehnsucht kennt
Weiß, was ich leide!
Allein und abgetrennt
Von aller Freude
Seh ich an’s Firmament
Nach jener Seite.
Ach, der mich liebt und kennt,
Ist in der Weite.
Es schwindelt mir, es brennt
Mein Eingeweide.
Nur wer die Sehnsucht kennt
Weiß, was ich leide!

None but the Lonely Heart

Only one who knows longing
Knows what I suffer!
Alone and cut off
From all joy,
I look into the firmament
In each direction.
Ah! he who loves and knows me
Is far away.
I am reeling,
My entrails are burning.
Only one who knows longing
Knows what I suffer!

Ich liebe dich

Du mein Gedanke, du mein Sein und Werden!
De meines Herzens erste Seligkeit!
Ich liebe dich wie nichts auf dieser Erden,
Ich liebe dich in Zeit und Ewigkeit!

Ich denke dein, kann stets nur deiner denken,
Nur deinem Glück ist dieses Herz geweiht;
Wie Gott auch mag des Lebens Schicksal lenken,
Ich liebe dich in Zeit und Ewigkeit.

I love you

You are my thought, you are my being and my becoming!
You are my heart’s first bliss!
I love you like nothing on this earth,
I love you now and forever!

I think of you, may you always think of me,
This heart is consecrated to your happiness,
As God also lies to steer life’s fate,
I love you in time and in eternity!

Jo Vincent

Johanna Maria (Jo) Vincent (Amsterdam , March 6, 1898 – Monaco , November 28, 1989) was a Dutch singer soprano.
Vincent became interested in music: her father was a piano teacher and organist, and enjoyed fame as a carilloneur at the Royal Palace on Dam Square. Already as a toddler ‘Jopie’ wanted to become a singer. Her joy was great when she was admitted at the age of nine in the children’s choir class of the singing teacher Catharina van Rennes. Later, as ‘Miss Jo’, she would accompany this choir at the piano for a few years. After obtaining the mulo diploma – her father initially demanded that she choose an office job – Jo, following the insistence of friends who thought she had a beautiful soprano voice, went on to become a vocal teacher. Her father and the vocal teacher Wilhelmina de Veer-de Lange trained her for the diploma of solo singing of the (Royal) Dutch Toonkunstenaars-Vereeniging, which she obtained cum laude in 1919. Then she started giving singing lessons. With the money thus earned, she in turn was able to pay for the lessons she received for a long time from the famous singer and pedagogue Cornelie van Zanten. Jo’s desire to become a singer herself did not seem to be suppressed.
In 1920, Jo Vincent made her debut in a noisy and smoky party room in Assendelft with a soprano solo from Die Schöpfung by Haydn. After this, more performances followed in the Zaan region and in Kennemerland. In 1923 she sang in the Lutheran Church on the Spui in Amsterdam for the first time in JS Bach’s Matthäus Passion , and in the same year she played in a folk concert with the Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra conducted by Cornelis Dopper. It gradually became clear to everyone that Jo van IJzer-Vincent – as she called herself during her first, unhappy marriage – had a beautiful, radiant, crystal-clear voice. Her artless recitation, extravert nature and amiable appearance made her loved by a large audience. More and more often she was asked to act as a song and oratory singer.

From 1932, Jo Vincent sang under Mengelberg’s leadership in the St Matthew Passion , which was performed on Palm Sundays. With this she proved to be a worthy successor to Aaltje Noordewier-Reddingius and Mia Peltenburg. Also from 1932 she was a regular contributor to the subscription concerts. When Mrs. Noordewier ended her singing career in 1930, Jo Vincent took over the famous church concerts from her. With the organist-pianist Anthon van der Horst and the Jo Vincent Quartet, which also consisted of alto Theodora Versteegh, tenor Evert Miedema and baritone Willem Ravelli, she made concert trips throughout the country to perform in church buildings in the autumn months. This quartet also regularly played religious songs for the NCRV microphone. In the 1930s, Jo Vincent also sang with the alto Suze Luger-van Beuge, the tenor Louis van Tulder and Willem Ravelli in the Hollandsch Vocaal Kwartet.

Although Jo Vincent was not interested in a foreign career – she rejected some attractive offers for permanent engagements in Hamburg, Berlin and Buenos Aires – she has repeatedly concertized outside of Holland. As early as 1929 in Paris, at the invitation of the French conductor Pierre Monteux, she sang the role of ‘Marguérite’ in La damnation de Faust by Berlioz, and five years later she was heard in Menlerberg’s Fourth Symphony in Mahler in Vienna . In 1936, a highlight of her career followed in the same city: led by the renowned Italian conductor Arturo Toscanini, she collaborated on the performance of Beethoven’s Missa solemnis . In London, Jo Vincent was a soloist at the Promenade Concerts (the ‘Proms’), which at the time were led in Queen’s Hall by Sir Henry Wood.

When the German occupier set up the Kultuurkamer on 1 April 1942, Jo Vincent ceased her public appearances. Shortly before, during a performance at which Reich Commissioner Seyss-Inquart was also present, she had made it abruptly felt that she was not served by his admiration. To support her, Jo Vincent gave illegal house concerts, and she also gave concerts in her villa ‘Tetterode’ in Overveen. For her performances she asked a reward in kind, usually food. On 9 and 10 June 1945 she performed in ‘Vrije Klanken’, the first major concert that was held in the Amsterdam Concertgebouw after the liberation.

During the first post-war years, Jo Vincent sang a lot for very high fees. She then again took singing lessons with the soprano Ruth Horna. Jo Vincent gave many song evenings at that time, where she often performed works by her favorite composers Schubert and Hugo Wolf, while she was again to be heard in the St Matthew Passion . Moreover, she again performed abroad; especially in London she had triumphs. In July 1949 she sang with the Concertgebouw Orchestra conducted by Eduard van Beinum together with the world-famous alto Kathleen Ferrier at the premiere of Benjamin Brittens Spring symphony . In order to generate interest in music among young people, she gave school concerts for the ‘Foundation for Music Education in Concert Form at Dutch Schools’.

Jo Vincent ended her wonderful career quite suddenly. She had had enough of the disciplined and demanding singers’ existence and wanted to devote herself to her pastimes: walking, gardening and keeping animals. From September until the final concert on December 30, 1953 in the Haarlem concert hall, she held a glorious farewell tour. After that she almost never sang again; Jo Vincent has been a part of music history ever since. After her departure, a record company was even under the assumption that she had already died and mistakenly mentioned the dates ‘1898-1955’ on the record sleeve on her record cover.