Nightingale Ensemble is the brainchild of Zoë Wallace and Ryan Wallace, who upon listening to the piece “Four Russian Songs” by Igor Stravinsky realized there was a great need for interesting instrument pairings that stretch beyond those existing today.
And, when night begins to fall
From the black oaks, darkening,
In the nightingale’s soft call
Our despair will, solemn, sing.
The above excerpt is from the poem “In Muted Tone” by Paul Verlaine. It expresses what we believe to be true about music – that it is an expression of humanity and the many faceted emotions that go with it.
In Igor Stravinsky’s youth, he was good friends with a man named Stephan Mitusov, who was a fan of Verlaine’s poems and translated them from the original French. Stravinsky was exposed to Verlaine through Mitusov and even set these translations to music in 1910. In 1908, Stravinsky and Mitusov collaborated on the libretto for the opera “The Nightingale”. Throughout the opera, this theme of the Nightingale seen in the Verlaine poem as a means of expressing ones grief and subsequently alleviating it is constantly returning to the point that through music death itself is defeated.
While Nightingale Ensemble doesn’t believe music can cure death, we do believe in the power of music to strengthen the bond of humanity and bring people together.