CONTACT: PETER ALEXANDER
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0072; fax (319) 384-0024
Camerata Singers will honor Brahms and Schubert anniversaries Oct. 26
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Camerata Singers, a choral group made up of University
of Iowa students and members of the local community, will honor anniversaries
of two major composers of the Romantic period in a free concert at 8 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 26, in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.
The program will feature two choral works by Franz Schubert, who was
born in 1797, and two works by Johannes Brahms, who died in 1897. Also
on the program are two works by the eccentric Australian/American composer
Camerata is directed by Richard Bloesch from the UI School of Music
Rene Lecuona from the piano faculty will also perform with the ensemble
in one group of pieces by Brahms.
The programming is based on early-late pairs. To begin with, Schubert
and Brahms come from the early and late ends of 19th-century Romanticism,
with Schubert working near the beginning of the century and Brahms extending
to near the end. Further, each composer is represented on the program by
an early work and a late work from their own lifetimes.
The early Schubert work is the Latin gradual "Benedictus es, Domine,"
written in 1815 when the composer was just 18. Thirteen years later Schubert
wrote the offertory "Intende voci," one of the last works he
completed before his death at the age of 31 in November 1828. Both works
were scored for orchestra and chorus and will be performed with organ accompaniment
played by UI graduate student Stephen Cook. Tenor John Des Marias will
be soloist in the second piece.
The early Brahms work is the "Begraebnisgesang" op. 13, a
funeral hymn composed in 1858 when Brahms was 25. For his setting, Brahms
used seven stanzas of the Bohemian Brothers' hymn, which is still in use
in the Lutheran hymnal. Brahms set the hymn for a small wind ensemble and
chorus, an instrumentation that will be used for the Camerata performance.
Brahms wrote his "Zigeunerlieder" (Gypsy songs) op. 103 in
1887, when the composer was 54. A set of 11 songs with the colorful quality
of gypsy music, the "Zigeunerlieder" were written for piano with
vocal quartet or chorus. Lecuona will perform with Camerata, and both a
smaller select group and the full chorus will be used in the performance.
A celebrated pianist and composer, Percy Grainger was born in Australia
in 1882 and died in White Plains, N.Y., in 1961. A bizarre and eccentric
personality, Grainger had a great interest in folk music, which influenced
his own compositions deeply. He wrote many settings of folk songs, which
are often flavored by his penchant for unusual or unexpected harmonies.
He also wrote a number of original works for instrumental ensembles or
keyboard including the once-popular parlor piano favorite "Country
Camerata will perform two little-known works by Grainger: "Near
Woodstock Town," an arrangement of an English folk song, and "Love
Verses from the 'Song of Solomon'," an original work. The latter will
be accompanied by piano four-hands, with Camerata accompanist David Shaler
and choral conducting doctoral student Matt Faerber playing the piano part.
Bloesch received his doctorate in choral conducting and choral literature
from the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign. He teaches the history
of choral literature in the UI School of Music, conducts the Camerata Singers
and advises doctoral students. He is CD review editor for the Choral Journal,
and he held the national chair of the Repertoire and Standards Committee
for Colleges and Universities in the American Choral Directors Association
(ACDA). He is co-author of an annotated bibliography of 20th-century choral
music that was recently published by the ACDA.
Lecuona has given solo and chamber music recitals throughout the United
States, as well as in South America and the Caribbean. As an Artistic Ambassador
for the United States, she has given concerts and master classes in Argentina,
Peru, Ecuador and Trinidad and Tobago. She has also performed solo recitals
and given master classes at many universities in Brazil.
In 1993, she made her Carnegie Hall debut in a chamber performance in
Weill Recital Hall. She has appeared as soloist with the Cayuga Chamber
Orchestra, the Orchard Park Symphony, the Vivaldi Traveling Orchestra,
the Eastman Philharmonia and the University of Iowa Symphony. In collaboration
with her UI faculty colleagues, she has appeared in numerous chamber music
concerts on the UI campus.