The Lark as an Unexpected Romance
Mikhail Glinka’s “The Lark” exceeds the definition of a Romantic era composition. It is not defined by harmonies or styles, but rather by the symbolism of a skylark––a free, untamed creature that glides the pastel blue skies and sings through an arbitrary adventure. As you look on and listen to the birdsongs, you will begin to notice the strange romanticism within its freedom. A skylark yearns to sing and be untamed, much as a soul yearns to love. Within my rendition of Glinka’s work, you can visualize a lark soaring over treetops and singing its melodies, just as you can imagine a person’s soul journeying and singing the songs of love.
As the piece opens, you can hear the lark’s melody through call and response. The first eight notes mark the start of the lark’s song, and the following phrase marks the echo and lingering reminiscence. While the piece goes on, the same melody is used interchangeably and builds up to a major climactic point, painting the lark’s “arbitrary adventure” with musical colors. This climatic point simultaneously represents the moment where a soul initially finds the love it was searching for. Following this defining moment, the lark, and therefore the soul, enter a delicate and serene atmosphere, eventually ending the piece with a gentle recapitulation of the earlier call and response. As you listen to the piece fade away through the calm melodic phrases, you can make out the lark’s adventure and the mirrored journey of the soul for love.
The picture that I chose to use is rather simple, but is one that represents my own vision. I have stood beneath treelines looking up at an open blue sky, admiring the birds’ free, versatile maneuvers. As I play, these mental images I have captured play through my mind like a film––Glinka’s masterful work as its accompanying soundtrack.