Malone University Faculty Artist Series continues with We Have Both for a Long Time Been Silent
September 6, 2013 | Release # 6700
The Malone University Department of Music Faculty Artist Series continues its 2013-14 season with ,"We Have Both for a Long Time Been Silent" on Monday, September 30 at 7:30 p.m. in the Stewart Room of the Randall Campus Center, located on the campus at 2600 Cleveland Avenue N.W. in Canton, Ohio. Then program is free and open to the public.
"We Have Both for a Long Time Been Silent" imagines songs from Hugo Wolf's Italienisches Liederbuch in the context of his letters to Melanie Köchert, his patron's wife, with whom he maintained an affair from 1884 until his death in 1903. The bond between Hugo Wolf (1860–1903) and Melanie Köchert (1858–1906) was complex and multifaceted. In the words of Wolf biographer Frank Walker: It is not too much to say that without Melanie, Wolf's life work, the songs on which his reputation rests, would probably never have been written. This he himself recognized when he laid the manuscripts of them all—a kingly present—at her feet...It was Melanie Köchert's destiny to stand beside Wolf for twenty years, to encourage and console him in his struggle for self-expression and for recognition, to rejoice with him in his creative ecstasies, and then to watch him, for five long years, die by inches in a mental home.
No substantive proof exists that Wolf and Köchert ever fully "realized" their relationship because Köchert burned all of her most intimate letters from Wolf, and all of Köchert's letters to Wolf and Wolf's diary were also destroyed. By all outward appearances, their conduct was perfectly acceptable to Viennese society, but in the words of Franz Grasberger, the editor of Wolf's letters, "it is necessary to draw conclusions that go beyond the factual descriptions in the letters [that remain]." Most writers on the composer are in agreement with regard to the nature of their affection.
Regardless, and perhaps more importantly for admirers of Wolf's work, the surviving letters to Köchert present an engaging picture of a brilliant yet troubled artist, who, despite an output of more than 200 songs, had stunningly erratic and brief periods of creativity. Many regard Wolf's Lieder, most of which were composed between 1888 and 1891, as the zenith of the art form. Wolf infused the early Romantic Lied—as exemplified in Schubert, Loewe, and especially Schumann, who served as his models—with the new expressive language and dramatic intensity gained by the influence of Wagner, under whose spell Wolf fell as a teenager. Yet Wolf languished under the weight of Wagner's work, which he only escaped when he gave himself over to a poet's personality. Wolf was inspired to great artistic heights by the poetry of Goethe, Mörike, and Eichendorff, and also by German translations of Spanish and Italian song lyrics. Regarding songs of the Italienisches Liederbuch, Walker wrote: These exquisite miniatures have captured all sensitive minds and hearts. Nothing in the Spanish Song Book...had suggested that he would develop in this direction, towards serenity, limpidity, delicacy, and restraint. It was as if in the meantime his art had passed through a refining fire...the Italian Song Book, when it came, was from first note to last the perfected expression of a wholly original musical mentality.
We Have Both for a Long Time Been Silent brings to the stage an idea by noted musicologist and Wolf authority Susan Youens that it is at least possible that Wolf found in the...Italian songbooks a medium of transference for the inner spiritual experience...for the emotional undercurrents of his long-drawn-out affair with the married Melanie Köchert...The songs in a male poetic voice are largely worshipful and adoring, while many of the songs in a woman's poetic voice are comic scoldings of an unsatisfactory love. That these could be surrogates by which Wolf could speak his love and give Melanie a means to upbraid him seems at least possible. As Eric Sams wrote in The Songs of Hugo Wolf, "On any hypothesis the Italienisches Liederbuch was the ideal choice for Wolf...the collection as a whole succeeds in creating a vivid picture of a true and real world where Wolf's creative imagination could dwell and function without constraint."
We Have Both for a Long Time Been Silent features selections from Wolf's Italienisches Liederbuch, sung in German with new English translations by Jonathan Retzlaff projected above the stage.
It portrays Hugo and Melanie in a three-part fantasy drawn from themes presented in the songs:
1. Longing for each other from afar
2. Dreaming of a domestic life together
3. Desire for blessing
The performance weaves these scenes together with Wolf's early works for the piano, readings from Louise McClelland Urban's English-language translations of Wolf's letters, and present-day photographs of Wolf-related sites in Austria and Slovenia.
Susan Williams, soprano, has performed nationally and internationally in a wide range of leading opera roles and as a vocal soloist. She recently performed in Florida as soprano soloist in the Mozart Requiem with the Master Chorale of South Florida, in Mahler's Fourth Symphony with the Frost Symphony Orchestra, and in Brahms's Liebeslieder Waltzes for the Mainly Mozart Festival. She appeared with the Duke Symphony Orchestra in Durham, North Carolina, as Despina in Così fan tutte, where she has also been heard as Gretel in Hansel and Gretel and Barbarina in Le nozze di Figaro. For Opera Birmingham, she sang both the Erste Knabe in Die Zauberflöte and the title role in over 30 performances of Seymour Barab's Little Red Riding Hood. She toured northeast Ohio with Lyric Opera Cleveland's Overtures and with Cleveland Opera as Adina in The Elixir of Love. Under the baton of Franz Welser-Möst, she performed in The Cleveland Orchestra's production of Le nozze di Figaro. She performed the soprano solo in Manuel De Falla's Three Cornered Hat with the Akron Symphony and has been a soloist with the Cleveland Pops Orchestra, the Cleveland Bach Consort, and the Johnson City Symphony (TN). In Graz, Austria, she sang the soprano solos in Mozart's Coronation Mass and was a finalist in the Meistersinger Competition at the American Institute of Musical Studies. A graduate of Birmingham Southern College, she earned the master's degree at the University of Akron and the doctor of musical arts degree at the Cleveland Institute of Music under the guidance of Mary Schiller. Having previously taught at the University of Miami Frost School of Music in Coral Gables, Florida, she is currently on the voice faculty at the University of Alabama.
Dean Southern, baritone, has performed in opera, oratorio, and recital throughout the United States and Europe, including Carnegie Hall's Weill Recital Hall in New York, Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and the Festival dei Due Mondi in Spoleto, Italy. He was an apprentice artist with Santa Fe Opera, for whom he appeared on two concert tours of the Southwest. Recent performances include Lutosławski's Les espaces du sommeil with the CIM Orchestra conducted by Michael Adelson in celebration of the composer's centenary, the world premiere of Steven Mark Kohn's Three Impudent Arias, and Brahms's Liebeslieder Waltzes for the Mainly Mozart Festival in Coral Gables, Florida. He regularly gives masterclasses and presents "Distant Voices: Listening to Singers of the Past" at universities and conservatories in the US and abroad, including the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, Sweden, the Conservatorio Profesional de Música in Valencia, Spain, and Michigan's Interlochen Arts Academy. He is a frequent contributor to Classical Singer magazine. After graduating from Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, he earned master's degrees in piano from the University of Missouri as a student of Jane Allen and in voice from the University of Akron as a student of Clifford Billions. He holds the doctor of musical arts degree in voice from the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he studied with Mary Schiller. Since 2004, he has spent his summers on the faculty at the American Institute of Musical Studies in Graz, Austria. From 2008 to 2012, he taught voice and served as opera stage director at the University of Miami Frost School of Music in Coral Gables, Florida. He now is on the voice faculty at the Cleveland Institute of Music.
Jeffrey Brown, pianist, has concertized extensively throughout the United States, Europe, and Asia as a solo recitalist, chamber musician, and soloist with orchestras. Recent performance highlights include the Dame Myra Hess Series in Chicago, the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., the Sichuan Conservatory in China, and music festivals in France, Germany, and Austria. He is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music, where he earned the performer's certificate, the master of music, and the doctor of musical arts degrees. As a winner of the Eastman Concerto Competition, he performed the Barber Piano Concerto with the Eastman Philharmonia. He studied with Natalya Antonova and served as her teaching assistant, and his early training was with Jane Allen at the University of Missouri. He has been a prizewinner in the Kosciuszko Chopin Competition, the Corpus Christi International Young Artists' Competition, and the Iowa International Piano Competition. A dedicated vocal accompanist and chamber musician, his recent collaborations include a series of recitals throughout the Yunnan Province of China with members of the Virginia Symphony and a tour of the United States and Canada sponsored by the Metropolitan Opera Guild. He is a founding member of the Pangaea Chamber Players, whose debut recording, Purple Line, will be released on the Blue Griffin label in 2013. In addition to his performance engagements, he is a passionate educator of young musicians. He has presented masterclasses and lectures at universities throughout the United States and is an active member of the Music Teachers National Association. He is on the piano faculty at Western Illinois University.
Malone University, a Christian university for the arts, sciences, and professions in the liberal arts tradition, affiliated with the Evangelical Friends Church, awards both undergraduate and graduate degrees in more than 100 academic programs. Malone has been recognized by the prestigious Templeton Foundation as a leader in character development, as one of Northeast Ohio’s Top Workplaces by the Cleveland Plain Dealer, and is ranked among the top colleges and universities in the Midwest under the category Regional Universities according to U.S.News & World Report's America's Best Colleges 2013 , and is named to AffordableCollegesOnline (ACO)’s Best Lifetime Return on Investment list for the State of Ohio.
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