Michael Monroe offers a great way to offer concise program notes for student recitals. There is just enough information to keep the audience up to speed. I don't think that program annotations like these really do the trick of replacing the information-rich prose kind, but I do think that they do a great deal to supplement the program.
Make sure to notice the "celebrity" sample program that has Dick Cheney accompanying Katie Couric in a performance of "Gretchen am Spinnrade." It is funny and telling on many levels. Perhaps what the nation has had to endure (and still has trust in its face by television reporters) with this man is all part of a Faustian bargain he made one night, long before he entered the political world.
Consider the text of the song (by the all-knowing Goethe), and read a synopsis of the play (if you are not familiar with it).