CONTACT: PETER ALEXANDER
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0072; fax (319) 384-0024
UI Center for New Music will perform works of Ligeti and Berio Feb.
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The Center for New Music, the University of Iowa
School of Music organization devoted to the performance of 20th-century
music, will present works by two post-World War II masters, Gyorgy Ligeti
and Luciano Berio, in a concert at 8 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 15, in Clapp Recital
UI faculty, students and guest artists will join forces for the concert,
which will be free and open to the public.
Featured on the program will be Ligeti's Trio for violin, horn and piano,
with horn player Kristin Thelander, violinist Nancy McFarland Gaub and
pianist Eugene Gaub; and Berio's "Folk Songs" performed by mezzo-soprano
Katherine Eberle and an ensemble conducted by David Gompper, the director
of the Center for New Music. Among the players in the ensemble will be
guest artist Pamela Weest-Carrasco, harp.
The two works on the program have an important feature in common: both
are based in some way on older, tonal material. In each case the source
material influences the style of the work, so that each of these pieces
has a more consonant sound and is more accessible to a general audience
than other works of the post-War generation.
Ligeti's Trio, subtitled "Hommage a Brahms," contains a number
of specific references to the older composer's own Trio for horn, violin
and piano. These include Brahmsian piano sonorities and traditional forms
in the first three movements.
More significantly, Ligeti uses an altered form of a motive that Brahms
had derived in turn from Beethoven's Piano Sonata Op. 81a. Known as the
"Les Adieux" (Farewell) Sonata, Beethoven's score includes a
descending motive that outlines the German word "lebewohl" (farewell).
Brahms used a variation of this musical gesture to suggest a musical farewell
to his mother, who had died shortly before he wrote the Trio, and it is
a distorted variation of this same theme that Ligeti adopts in his Trio.
The previous material that appears in the Berio "Folk Songs"
are, appropriately, songs, although not all are strictly speaking folk
songs. The first two, "Black is the Color" and "I wonder
as I wander," were composed by the classically-trained Kentucky-born
folk-song scholar John Jacob Niles. Two others were written by Berio. The
remaining songs are genuine folk material and come from Armenia, France,
Sicily, Sardinia and Azerbaijan.
The "Folk Songs" were written for Berio's wife, the American
singer Cathy Berberian. Known for her wide range, an almost uncanny ability
to incorporate non-musical sounds into her vocal performances, and her
multi-faceted dramatic abilities, Berberian was a celebrated interpreter
of new music. Berio was only one of many composers who wrote works specifically
for Berberian to perform.
The Center for New Music was founded in 1966 with a seed grant from
the Rockefeller Foundation. The center promotes the performance of new
music by providing a core group of specialists in contemporary performance
techniques. Its programming has included world premieres as well as acknowledged
contemporary masterworks. In 1986 the center received the Commendation
of Excellence from Broadcast Music, Inc., the world's largest performing
rights organization, and it recently received grants from the Aaron Copland
Fund and the National Endowment for the Arts. Today, the Center for New
Music is supported by the UI School of Music.
Gompper joined the music theory and composition faculty of the UI School
of Music in 1991. He has received numerous awards for his academic and
musical achievements, including the Charles E. Ives Prize for composition
from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters and a Composers
Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. His "Transitus"
was premiered at Carnegie Hall and his "Flip" was premiered by
the Kansas City Chamber Orchestra.
He recently returned from Thessaloniki, Greece, where he was invited
to perform his several of his works and lecture on current American musical
trends in composition. He has also served as a cultural specialist for
the United States Information Agency in Kwangju, South Korea.
A native of Akron, Ohio, Eberle has performed internationally in opera,
concert and solo recitals. The Atlanta Constitution wrote, "Katherine
Eberle was a standout. More than any other performer, she showed what it
takes for a solo performer to command the stage."
She has performed with the opera theater of Lille, France, the Academy
of the West, the Carmel Bach Festival, the Aspen Festival Opera Theatre,
the American Institute of Music Studies in Graz, Austria, and at the Mozarteum
Her compact disc of songs of women composers, "From a Woman's Perspective,"
has been issued by Albany Records and the Vienna Modern Masters Label.