Sept. 12, 2008
Violinist Katie Wolfe will preview New York recital debut Sept. 23
Violinist and University of Iowa faculty member Katie Wolfe will preview her New York recital debut in a free performance with pianist Adrienne Kim at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 23, in the auditorium of the Masonic Temple at 312 E. College St. in Iowa City.
Because of the closure of the Voxman Music Building following the record floods in June, the School of Music does not have access to its usual performance venues. The Masonic Temple in downtown Iowa City is one of many venues that the school will use during the coming year.
Wolfe and Kim will perform a diverse program featuring Mozart's Sonata in F major for violin and piano, K377; the Sonata No. 2 for violin and piano by Béla Bartók; "Echoes" for violin and piano by UI faculty member David Gompper; and the Sonata No. 3 in B-flat major by the 19th-century Danish composer Niels Gade.
They will play the same program at Weill Recital Hall in New York's Carnegie Hall at 8 p.m. Monday, Sept. 29. This New York debut recital is a UI Arts and Humanities Initiative designed to showcase Wolfe's current musical interests and projects.
Prominent among her recent projects is Wolfe and Kim's CD recording of Gade's three violin sonatas. Set to be released this fall by Centaur Records, the CD duplicates a program of the three sonatas that Wolfe and Kim presented at the UI in 2006.
"We want to make Gade's sonatas more well-known, as they deserve to be," Wolfe said. "They owe much to Mendelssohn and Schumann, but speak with a clear voice all Gade's own. Their sweetly poetic and lyrical qualities are never broken, even during the more disruptive stormy moments in his developments.
"Gade was praised for representing a Nordic quality, while using Germanic harmonies and forms."
"The Sonata No. 3 is a mature work overflowing with lyricism and sparkling textures. The slow movement, marked 'Romanze,' could be one of Mendelssohn's 'Songs Without Words,' while the scherzo movement harkens back to the scherzo from Mendelssohn's 'Midsummer Night's Dream'."
Had it not been for political circumstances, Gade might well have earned a place as one of the best-known composers of the 19th century. He was appointed director of the Gewandhaus Orchestra in Leipzig -- then as now one of the most important musical positions in Europe -- following Mendelssohn's death in 1847. However, the outbreak of war in 1848, which saw Denmark aligned against Prussia, forced him to return to Copenhagen.
As co-founder of the Copenhagen Conservatory he was influential in Danish musical history, but in a provincial capital he missed the opportunity to achieve greater recognition.
"Compare his situation to leaving a big city in the United States," Wolfe said. "He was simply out of the loop, removed from the big names. Instead of audiences hearing the name Gade along with those of his Romantic counterparts, the Dane's name was all but forgotten."
Gompper's "Echoes" is in effect a chamber version of his violin concerto. The musical material is generated from the idea of a continuous series of perfect fifths -- the interval separating the strings on the violin -- which are "broken" or interrupted by a number of minor seconds at various junctures. The composition is in three movements, with the addition of a cadenza between the second and third movements.
The program begins with a delightfully optimistic sonata by Mozart, with a subtle range of characters in a relatively compact form. In contrast, the Bartók sonata is a powerful and well-crafted sonata of broad scope, incorporating colorful, folk-inspired melodies and dance-rhythms.
Wolfe and Kim have performed together since they were undergraduate students at Indiana University. They are still friends and perform as a duo both on tour and in recordings. Originally from Minnesota, Wolfe joined the string faculty of the UI School of Music in August 2004. She has had a diverse career as a soloist, teacher, chamber and orchestral musician on the national and international stage. For more information visit http://www.uiowa.edu/~music/bios/STRGwolfe.htm.
Kim is on the faculty of Syracuse University, Queen College and the Kinnhaven Music School in Vermont, and she teaches privately in New York City. She performs extensively as both soloist and chamber musician. For more information visit http://vpa.syr.edu/keyboard/bio_kim.php.
Gompper has been professor of composition and director of the Center for New Music at the UI since 1991. His compositions are performed throughout the United States and Europe, and he has taught, presented lectures, and performed around the world. For more information visit http://www.uiowa.edu/~music/bios/THEORYgompper.htm.
The School of Music is part of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Visit the UI School of Music Web site at http://www.uiowa.edu/~music/.
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