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University of Iowa News Release


University of Iowa News Release

Nov. 1, 2006

Breckenridge And Herrick Will Perform Music And Poetry Nov. 12

Carol lei Breckenridge, Farver Professor of Music at Central College in Pella and an alumna of the University of Iowa, and poet Michael Herrick will perform 18th-century German music and poetry at 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 12, in the Krapf Organ Studio of the University of Iowa Voxman Music Building.

Their performance, sponsored by the UI School of Music and the Iowa City Early Keyboard Society, will be free and open to the public.

The program, "An das Klavier" (To the keyboard), will feature rondos and fantasias for keyboard by C.P.E. Bach performed on the clavichord and the fortepiano. The music will be played in between readings of contemporaneous German poetry. Herrick will read selected poems in the original German and provide an English translation.

One of the children of J.S. Bach, C.P.E. Bach was one the leading composers of the mid-18th century musical style known as the "Empfindsamer Styl," or "sensitive style." His music, characterized by expressivity, sudden changes of mood and unexpected harmonies, has sometimes been regarded as a precursor of 19th-century Romanticism.

The clavichord produces its sound by metal tangents striking the strings. As on the piano, the force with which the keys are hit determines the loudness of the sound, but on the clavichord the tangent does not rebound, as does the hammer on the piano. Instead, it remains in contact with the string, so that by altering the pressure on the key after the initial attack the player may produce a variety of expressive effects. These expressive capabilities made it a very attractive instrument for composers of the late 18th century who sought new emotional effects in the "sensitive style."

A predecessor of the modern concert grand, the fortepiano generally has a lighter and brighter sound than the modern piano, making it ideal for the music of the late 18th century. It takes its name ("loud-soft") from the fact that it was capable of playing a wider range of dynamic levels than the harpsichord. This made the fortepiano capable of greater extremes of expression than other keyboard instruments of the time.

Music in the first portion of the program will be performed on clavichord:

-- reading of "Suessertoenendes Clavier" (Sweet-sounding clavichord) by C.F. Weisse;

-- Bach's Rondo No. 1 in C Major;

-- reading of  "An das Klavier" by Philippine von Gatterer Engelhardt;

-- Bach's Fantasia in F# Minor

-- reading of "An mein Klavier" by J.F.W. Zachariae; and

-- Bach's Rondo: "Farewell to the Silbermann Clavichord" and Fantasia No. 2 in C Major.

Following intermission, the music will be played on the fortepiano. This portion of the program will be:

-- reading of "Phyllis an das Clavier" (Phyllis at the keyboard) by H. W. von Gerstenberg;

-- Bach's Rondo No. 3 in A Minor and Fantasia No. 1 in E-Flat Major;

-- reading of "An das Clavier" by H.E.C. von Hagen;

-- Bach's Rondo No. 2 in D Major and Fantasia No. 2 in A Major;

-- reading of  "An das Clavier" by J.T. Hermes; and

-- Bach's Fantasia No. 2 in C Major.

Breckenridge and Herrick are presenting their program on tour during the fall, including a recent performance at Central College. The English translations of the poetry in their program are by Annette Richards.

Breckenridge is a specialist in 18th-century music and an active recitalist and lecturer on harpsichord, fortepiano and clavichord. She has given numerous solo and chamber recitals in the United States and in Europe. She has made several appearances on the UI campus as a guest of the Iowa City Early Keyboard Society, most recently in February 2005. For more,

Herrick, born in New York City, spent the greater part of his life in Europe as a chef. During his time spent abroad he learned to speak with native fluency in French, German, Dutch and Italian, as well as some German and Dutch dialects. Herrick also has an avid interest in poetry, which he has studied at Central College, leading to his book, "Time, Numbers, and a Good Meal."

The School of Music is part of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. You may visit the UI School of Music web site at

The Iowa City Early Keyboard Society has a Web page at

For information on UI arts events, visit on the World Wide Web. To receive UI arts news by e-mail, go to, click the link "Join or leave the list (or change settings)" and follow the instructions.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Peter Alexander, 319-384-0072; cell: 319-541-2846;