May 12, 2008
Swanson and Disselhorst will present Concert of Sacred Music May 18
Stephen Swanson, a baritone who teaches voice at the University of Iowa School of Music, will join with fellow faculty, students and alumni of the School of Music to present A Concert of Sacred Music at 3 p.m. Sunday, May 18, in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.
The concert will be free and open to the public.
The program will comprise three works by composers noted for their contribution to church music: the Cantata No. 56, "Ich will den Kreuzstab gerne tragen" (I would gladly bear the cross) by J.S. Bach; Missa "in simplicitate" (Simple Mass) by Jean Langlais; and Three Sacred Songs on Old English Texts by Henk Badings.
For the Bach cantata, Swanson will be joined by a small ensemble of music faculty and students. Faculty performers will be Mark Weiger, oboe; Katherine Wolfe, violin; Christine Rutledge, viola; Anthony Arnone, cello; Volkan Orhon, bass; Delbert Disselhorst, organ; and David Puderbaugh, tenor. Soprano Marie Von Behren and alto Hillary Foster, alumnae of the School of Music, will join the performance, and student performers will be Stuart Breczinski, oboe; Jack McCauley, English horn; and Gabrielle Harvey, violin.
Disselhorst, a long-time member of the School of Music faculty who will retire at the end of the current year, will perform with Swanson for all three pieces, and Weiger will join Swanson and Disselhorst for the Bach cantata and the Badings songs.
Swanson said the main motivation for the program was to have one more chance to perform with Disselhorst before his retirement. "Del served as one of my faculty mentors when I first joined the School of Music and I have been privileged to perform with him on several occasions," Swanson noted.
"As a matter of fact, my first performance at Iowa was the Langlais Missa 'in simplicitate' on one of Delbert's recitals and I just couldn't let his retirement go by without a chance to perform with him again. Since Del has played continuo for me before and since I have wanted to sing Bach's Cantata 56 on campus it seemed like a logical choice. Once I had Mark Weiger on board for the Bach, adding the Badings was the perfect choice because it featured both Del and Mark."
The program relates directly to an issue that Swanson often addresses as a UI faculty member and teacher of singing: the place of sacred music in the standard musical repertoire. In 2006, Swanson spoke on the topic "Do You Have to Be a Christian to Perform Bach?" as part of the Finding God at Iowa Lunch Forum of Geneva Campus Ministry.
Bach's Cantata No. 56 was composed for the worship service on the 19th Sunday after Trinity, in October of 1731 or 1732, at St. Thomas Lutheran Church in Leipzig. The text from the Matthew 9:1-8, "And he entered into a ship, and passed over, and came into his own city," presents the allegory of each person traversing the sea of life until reaching the other side.
Langlais was professor for organ at his alma mater, the National Institute for the Blind, in Paris, and organist at the Basilica of Sainte-Clotilde for many years in the mid-20th century. He composed the Missa "in simplicitate" for solo voice and organ expressly for Jeannine Collard, mezzo-soprano who sang at the Paris Opera and Opera Comique. Collard and Langlais performed the mass for the first time in 1952.
A Dutch composer of the 20th century, Badings began his professional life as a geologist for the Delft University of Technology. He taught himself music and switched careers to become director of the Amsterdam Music Lyceum. From 1941-45 he was director of the Royal Conservatory of The Hague after which he dedicated himself completely to composition.
Swanson joined the faculty of the UI School of Music in 1994 after an extensive European operatic career that encompassed 91 roles in opera, operetta and musicals. He has sung on German, Austrian and Dutch radio broadcasts and has been a featured soloist in numerous European festivals. For more information, see www.uiowa.edu/~music/bios/VOICEswanson.htm or www.stephenswansonbaritone.com.
Disselhorst was a member of the UI School of Music faculty for more than 35 years, from 1970 until his retirement at the end of the current academic year. As a concert artist, he has performed in the United States, Canada and Europe. He has been a featured artist for international festivals and concert series in the cathedrals of Trier and Limburg and the Munster in Freiburg, Germany. For more information, see: www.uiowa.edu/~music/bios/ORGANdisselhorst.htm.
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 (New York), performed double concertos with the Chicago Symphony's former principal oboist, Ray Still, and presented solo recitals with many other notable oboists. For more information, see www.uiowa.edu/~music/bios/WINDweiger.htm.
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 www.uiowa.edu/~music/.
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