Monday, December 3, 2012

Bryan Pinkall's Doctoral Recital - Britten, Vaughan Williams, Hoiby

If you are free this Wednesday and if you are in Kansas City - well, you should come hear what should be a great recital.  I will be performing three song cycles: On this Island by Benjamin Britten, Ten Blake Songs by Ralph Vaughan Williams, and Four Dickinson Songs by Lee Hoiby.  As for the poster, well it is much more effective in the hallway than in a jpeg image on the internet.  Unfortunately, the printers messed up printing my posters, so if you were at the Conservatory and thought "I cannot read that poster!", don't worry, it'll be fixed tomorrow.  I just wanted a plain bright sign that could jump out amid bulletin boards filled with lavish pictures of headshots, pastoral scenes, and church interiors.  Here is some info about what will be on the concert:

On this Island is a Benjamin Britten song cycle of Wystan Hugh Austen poetry about the magical isles of Britannia.  This was Britten's first published song cycle for piano and is an incredibly eclectic setting of poetry from one of his favorite poets.  Austen and Britten met in 1935 working together in a GPO Film Documentary and their encounter immediately inspired Austen to write poetry dedicated to Britten who composed them as part of this song cycle.  The most exciting part of this cycle is the variety of songs:
  1. "Let the Florid Music Praise" is a bright, neo-baroque anthem to the Empire
  2. "Now the Leaves are Falling Fast" is a hurried, rhythmic piece inspiring images of the blustery wilderness in Winter and musical inferences to Schubert's lieder
  3. "Seascape" is perhaps the most characteristically Britten of the set, displaying careful musical descriptions of the seas crashing against the white cliffs of Dover.
  4. "Nocturne" is a vignette depicting the debaucherous but unconscious world of sleepers
  5. "As it is Plenty" is a cabaret-like moment satirizing the middle-class businessman and his problems
Ten Blake Songs by Vaughan Williams is a very unique set of duets for voice and oboe with unaccompanied movements for solo voice.  The text is derived from several of William Blake's poems within Songs of Innocence and Experience.  It is a song cycle that allows for incredible detail in its simplicity as the oboe adds a musical persona, feeding the artistry of the voice and text.

Four Dickinson Songs by Lee Hoiby is a peculiar song cycle that delves deep into the mind of Emily Dickinson and her poetry.  This rarely performed and recorded song cycle shows the mastery of Hoiby's collaborative and dramatic piano accompaniment as it vividly reproduces the images that Dickinson describes.
  1. "A Letter" is simply set to that of a brief letter from Dickinson to a prospective teacher.  She curiously and lightheartedly talks about her family, including their misunderstanding of her artistic and inquisitive nature.
  2. "How the Waters Closed" is a stark and vivid description of a drowned boy  whose only remains are a floating hat and jacket.
  3. "Wild Nights" is a rapturous song of sexual passion
  4. "There Came a Wind" details in glorious description the terror and resolution of an enormous storm
Please come to Grant Hall at the UMKC Conservatory.  This is a different hall than what most are expecting.  The venue itself is on the second floor of the building Grant Hall at 53rd and Holmes.  Don't be late! 7:30 THIS WEDNESDAY - I hope to see you there!

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