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Release: Sept. 1, 2000

NOTE TO BROADCASTERS: Rene Lecuona is pronounced RAY-nee leh-QUO-nah. Arthur Honegger is pronounced ar-TOOR HOE-neh-ger

Soprano Rachel Joselson will perform songs of Arthur Honegger

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Soprano Rachel Joselson and pianist Rene Lecuona will perform songs by the French-Swiss composer Arthur Honegger on a University of Iowa School of Music faculty recital at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 13 in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

Their performance will be free and open to the public.

One of the leading composers of the early 20th century, Honegger was born in France and spent most of his life there, although he was considered Swiss by nationality. In the years after World War I he was one of the French composers grouped together as "Les Six" (The six), but he was the most independent of the group and actually had little in common with the other composers.

Honegger composed in an eclectic variety of genres, including music for radio and film, in addition to orchestra, chamber and dramatic music of all kinds. He is best known today for his descriptive orchestra piece "Pacific 231," named for a steam engine, and the dramatic cantatas "King David" and "Joan of Arc at the Stake," which are performed with some frequency.

Honegger wrote 21 groups of songs for solo voice and piano, containing a total of 56 individual songs.

"Stylistically, the songs reflect various levels of sophistication, from first-class art songs to a flamenco-style radio show number," Joselson said. "All together, they demonstrate a very broad range of imagination and expression, which makes them very attractive for singers."

The texts are equally diverse, from a transliteration of the Hebrew Mimaamaquim -- Psalm 130 -- to the symbolist poetry of Guillaume Apollinaire and Jean Cocteau.

Joselson will perform 27 of the songs, including five collections based on an individual poet, as well as a set of Psalm settings and several individual songs. Also included in Joselson’s program are texts from a translation of Hans Christian Andersen’s "Little Mermaid."

Before joining the School of Music faculty in the fall of 1997, Joselson spent 13 years in Europe performing in opera and concert with theaters and orchestras in Darmstadt, Hamburg, Berlin, Bonn, Basel, Barcelona, Bilbao, Braunschweig, Brussels, Kiel, St. Gallen, Trier and other cities in Germany, Switzerland and Spain. In this country she has appeared in Atlanta, Indianapolis, Madison, Johnson City, Tenn., and New Brunswick, N.J.

In the 1995-96 season she had her first engagement at the Metropolitan Opera and was engaged by London’s Covent Garden for their 1992 Japan tour with Mozart’s "Don Giovanni."

She has performed many of the major soprano roles in the repertoire, including Leonore in Beethoven’s "Fidelio," in her most recent debut at the 1999 Gars, Austria, Summer Festival; Mimi in Puccini’s "La Boheme," Micaela in Bizet’s "Carmen," Melisande in Debussy’s "Pelleas et Melisande," Donna Elvira in Mozart’s "Don Giovanni," Tosca, Elisabetta in Verdi’s "Don Carlo," and Eva in Wagner’s "Meistersingers of Nuremberg," among others. She is currently recording a CD of the Honegger songs. She was featured in the 1998 recording of Gian Carlo Menotti’s "Help! Help! The Globolinks!"

Lecuona maintains an active teaching and performing schedule at the UI School of Music, including frequent collaborations with her faculty colleagues. Since joining the faculty in 1990 she has appeared in more than 55 on-campus concerts. She is featured on several CD recordings, including one with double bassist Diana Gannett of chamber music by Clara Schumann and Johannes Brahms. In a recent review of the CD in Bass World, Lecuona’s performance on the recording was described as "magnificent."

Lecuona has given solo and chamber music recitals throughout the United States, South America and the Caribbean. Most recently she performed and presented master classes in Mexico. She made her Carnegie Hall debut in a chamber performance in Weill Recital Hall in 1993, and she has appeared as concerto soloist with orchestras in New York and Iowa. 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.

An advocate of 20th-century music, Lecuona has appeared as solo pianist and chamber musician in concerts of the UI Center for New Music. Her 20th-century repertoire includes several premieres of new works. Martin Jenni, recently retired from the UI School of Music, has written two solo piano works for her.

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