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Release: Immediate

NOTE TO EDITORS: Richard Bloesch, the conductor of the concert described in this release, may be reached at (319) 335-1627, or by e-mail at <>.

UI Camerata Singers include piece in memory of Abraham Lincoln on Nov. 1 concert

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Camerata Singers, a choral group made up of University of Iowa students and members of the local community, will feature a work written in 1884 in memory of President Abraham Lincoln as part of a free concert at 8 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 1 in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

The work, "Elegiac Ode: President Lincoln's Burial Hymn," was composed by Irish composer Charles Villiers Stanford. The program will also feature the Magnificat of Johann Ernst Eberlin and arrangements of folk songs and spirituals. Music faculty member Richard Bloesch will conduct.

A mixed choral ensemble of 60-70 voices, Camerata is known for performances that bring to light unfamiliar choral works of significant interest and value -- works such as those by the little known composers Stanford and Eberlin.

Although he is almost unknown in this country, Stanford is considered one of the outstanding figures of British musical life of the Victorian and Edwardian eras. Active as a conductor, organist and pianist, his importance to the history of British music is both as a teacher and for his music, which is still performed in Ireland and England. His "Elegiac Ode" uses a text by Walt Whitman that was also chosen later for a musical setting by Paul Hindemith in his more familiar Lincoln elegy, the Requiem "When lilacs last in the dooryard bloomed."

Baritone Stephen Swanson from the School of Music faculty, and soprano Marie Von Behren, a local voice teacher, will be featured soloists. Originally composed for chorus and orchestra, the "Elegiac Ode" will be performed in a version for piano that was prepared by the composer. Pianist Rene Lecuona, a member of the UI music faculty, will perform the accompaniment.

According to Bloesch, this will be the first performances of Stanford's "Elegiac Ode" in this area, and possibly the first in the United States. It was published in England in 1884 and has never been reprinted anywhere after that date.

Eberlin was organist at the cathedral in Salzburg, Austria, in the middle of the 18th century, and also served as music director at the court of the Archbishop of Salzburg. He composed operas and other dramatic works as well as music for organ, but he was best known for his many sacred vocal works, including about 70 settings of the Mass and more than 20 oratorios.

Eberlin's Magnificat will be performed by Camerata with a chamber orchestra of strings, trumpets and timpani. Orchestra members are students from the UI School of Music and local high school students who study at the Preucil School of Music in Iowa City.

The folk songs arrangements on the Camerata program will be "The Banks of Doon" featuring a violin solo by David Bloesch, and an a-capella arrangement of "O No John!" The spirituals will be "Oh Yes," as arranged by Carol Barnett for the Dale Warland Singers, and an arrangement by Moses Hogan of "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot."

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 published by the ACDA.

Swanson joined the faculty of the UI School of Music in 1994. For nearly 20 years before that date he had an active operatic career in Europe. During that time his repertoire grew to more than 70 roles in opera, operetta and musicals. He has also had an extensive career as a concert singer, appearing as featured soloist with many U.S. orchestras, including the Chicago Symphony under Sir Georg Solti, Raphael Fruehbeck de Burgos and Margaret Hillis. He has recorded Mendelssohn's "St. Paul" and Ullmann's "Der Kaiser von Atlantis." Since coming to Iowa City, he has appeared in UI Opera Theater productions and performances of the Chamber Singers of Iowa City.

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. In collaboration with her UI faculty colleagues she has appeared in numerous chamber music concerts on the UI campus.

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