CONTACT: PETER ALEXANDER
300 Plaza Centre One
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0072; fax (319) 384-0024
Jan. 24, 2003
Baritone Swanson Presents 'Music For The Liturgy'
Baritone Stephen Swanson, a faculty member of the University
of Iowa School of Music, will present "Music for the Liturgy," a
program of sacred music for voice and instruments, at 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb.
9 in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.
Swanson will be joined by his UI faculty colleagues Leopold La Fosse, violin;
Mark Weiger, oboe; members of the Maia String Quartet; and organist Delbert
Disselhorst. Their performance will be free and open to the public.
"One of the joys of working at the University of Iowa is the depth
and versatility of world class talent in the School of Music," Swanson
said. "The chance to collaborate with people like La Fosse, Disselhorst,
Weiger and the Maia Quartet is something to be savored by anyone who really
enjoys making music. I am very grateful for their participation in this concert."
The program will comprise three works: Four Songs for voice and violin,
op. 35, by Gustav Holst; a set of five "Gospel Motets" for voice
and organ by the former head of the organ department at the UI, Gerhard Krapf;
and J.S. Bach's cantata for the Feast of the Purification, "Ich habe
genug" (I have enough), for baritone, oboe and strings with continuo,
or keyboard accompaniment.
Swanson said he wanted to perform this recital to make use of a small organ
that was recently acquired by the UI School of Music. Purchased last year
for use in the performance of Bach's "St. Matthew Passion," the
instrument was built by the Staunton, Va., firm of Taylor & Boody for
use as a continuo instrument in Baroque music.
The organ is handcrafted of solid white oak that is fumed and oiled. It
has four ranks, or individual sets of pipes, two made completely of wood,
one of wood and metal and one of only metal. It has a hand-carved case with
the family crest of J. S. Bach on the front.
The organ will be used in two different contexts in Swanson's program: as
an accompanying instrument in the Krapf motets, which were written for voice
and organ, and as a continuo instrument, which fills in the chords in the
Baroque style, for the Bach cantata. The third piece on the program, Holst's
songs for voice and violin, do not use the organ.
Gustav Holst was born in the English spa town of Cheltenham in 1874 and
studied music at the Royal College in London. He later became director of
music at St. Paul's Girls' School in the Hammersmith district of London,
retaining this connection until the end of his life.
Around 1916, Holst and the vicar of the church at Thaxted, Essex, decided
to institute a music festival for the holiday weekend of Whitsunday, also
know as Pentecost, which is celebrated the 50th day after Easter. Singers
traveled by train from the two schools at which Holst was teaching and were
joined by the local church choir and townspeople. The combined choirs rehearsed
on Saturday, sang at morning and evening services on Sunday and again on
During a lull in the festivities, Holst entered the church and heard his
student Christine Ratcliffe singing wordlessly and playing open strings on
her violin. He was inspired by the moment and composed three of the Four
Songs for voice and violin, using poems from "A Medieval Anthology" edited
by Mary Segar. Since it was not practical for Ratcliffs to sing words and
play simultaneously, a fellow student, Dulcie Nutting, sang the songs for
their premier on May 27, 1917, at the second Thaxted Whitsun Festival. The
fourth song was later composed for Dulcie's voice and first performed in
Krapf came to the UI in 1962 to found the organ department. During his tenure
at the UI he built the department and oversaw the installation of the first
organs at the UI School of Music. In recognition of his efforts, an organ
performance hall in the Voxman Music Building has been named the Krapf Organ
Studio. He left the UI in 1977 to start another organ department, at the
University of Alberta (Canada) in Edmonton. He retired in 1987.
Krapf's "Gospel Motets" were composed on the Gospel texts designated
in the Christian liturgy to be read in worship services on the Sundays "after
Trinity" -- that is, the portion of the church year that falls between
Pentecost and the beginning of a new church year at Advent.
Bach's Cantata No. 82, "Ich habe genug," was written in 1727 for
the services of the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary
and the Presentation of Christ in the Temple, also called Candlemas, which
is traditionally celebrated 40 days after Christmas, on Feb. 2. The text
from the Gospel According to Luke includes the well known "Song of Simeon" or "Nunc
Dimittis," upon which the text of the cantata is based.
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 91 roles in opera, operetta and musicals.
He has sung on German, Austrian and Dutch radio broadcasts and has been a
featured soloist in European festivals including the Berliner Festwochen,
the Days of Contemporary Music in Dresden and the Festa Musica Pro in Assisi,
Swanson 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 presented solo recitals,
appeared in and directed UI Opera Theater productions, and performed with
the Chamber Singers of Iowa City.
Swanson holds undergraduate degrees from North Park College in Chicago and
a master's degree in music from Northwestern University. He made his professional
debut in 1970, singing in Arnold Schoenberg's opera "Moses und Aron" with
the Chicago Symphony in Chicago and New York's Carnegie Hall.
Disselhorst has been a member of the UI School of Music faculty since 1970.
As a concert artist, Disselhorst has performed in the United States, Canada
and Europe. He has appeared as a recitalist for several regional conventions
and for the National Convention of the American Guild of Organists in Houston,
Texas, in 1989. He has recorded the Organ Books of Ned Rorem and "Prophesies" by
Daniel Pinkham on the Arkay Label.
La Fosse joined the UI music faculty in 1972. His performing career has
included extensive solo appearances as well as concertmaster positions with
five orchestras. He continues an active international career as soloist and
chamber musician, with tours in the United States, Europe, South America
and Russia. He has had performances at Wigmore Hall in London, Sala Cecilia
Mireles in Rio de Janeiro, Town Hall in New York, and the National Gallery,
Phillips Gallery and the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. In 1997 he celebrated
his 25th anniversary on the UI faculty with a series of four recitals displaying
his versatility, appearing as a virtuoso soloist, a chamber musician, a Baroque
performance specialist and a jazz violinist.
Since coming to Iowa in 1988 Weiger has performed as a soloist throughout
the United States, Canada, England, Mexico, Austria, France and Italy, presented
two recitals in Carnegie Hall in New York, been a finalist in nine international
competitions, won First Prize in the Queens Philharmonic Concerto Competition
(NY) and presented solo recitals with many other notable oboists. He is a
founding member of the double reed quartet WiZARDS!, which has released three
CDs to critical acclaim, toured 18 states and presented educational residence
programs throughout the West and Midwest. As the first oboist to serve as
an Artistic Ambassador through the U.S. Information Agency, Weiger performed
recitals in Nepal, Pakistan, Israel, Jordan and Sri Lanka.
Founded in 1990, the Maia Quartet has been the quartet in residence at the
UI School of Music since 1998. The quartet has established itself nationally
with performances in major concert halls including Alice Tully Hall in New
York, the Kennedy Center Terrace Theatre in Washington, D.C., and Harris
Hall at the Aspen Music Festival. In recent years they have collaborated
with other leading chamber musicians around the world, and they have had
summer teaching engagements at the Interlochen Arts Academy, the Austin Chamber
Music Festival, the South Carolina Governors School for the Arts and the
Cedar Rapids Symphony School.
The School of Music is part of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
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