On hiatus for other creative activities!

23 05 2009

University of Minnesota graduate school graduation - May 9, 2009

A newly minted Doctor of Musical Arts

My poor neglected blog has been put on the back burner for a while, and will be for at least another week. During much of April and the early part of May, my time was taken up with writing and defending my doctoral thesis, entitled The Singer as Communicator. Any writer can tell you that every document takes on a life of its own, and this was certainly no exception! The document ended up being a more about the pedagogy of expressive singing rather than an the handbook I originally conceived. In any case, I’m pleased with the outcome, and I would be honored if you would care to read it and comment!

After my last post on the 6th (!), I had family in town for my graduation from the University of Minnesota. Then, I performed the wonderful Huit poemes de Jean Cocteau of Georges Auric for pianist Andrew Fleser’s doctoral lecture recital. The music is quite exciting, and we have discussed recording these songs in the fall, along with another set of songs in Dutch by Alphons Diepenbrock. Both sets are rarely performed despite being quite exquisite music. I’ll keep you posted!

Since then, I’ve been preparing for my summer in Logan, UT, where I’ll be performing with the Utah Festival Opera. I’ll be singing in the chorus of Carmen, I Pagliacci/Cavalleria Rusticana, The Mikado, and Camelot. I’ll also be covering (that’s opera-speak for understudying) the roles of Dancairo in Carmen and Lancelot in Camelot. I understand the summer season at Utah Festival is really wonderful, so I encourage you to take in a show if you’re in the neighborhood!

I’m not sure if I’ll have sufficient time or internet access to keep the blog all that active in the next few months. This blog does remain a priority, though, and should I be unable to maintain it over the summer, I will begin posting regularly in the fall.

Until then…
Dr. Hindemith 😛





Rhené-Bâton: Sérénade Mélancolique

6 05 2009

With your body, with your arms, make a tomb

With your body, with your arms, make a tomb

My love for the International Musical Scores Library Project grows by the day! Today, I discovered scores by a conductor and composer from the early 20th Century named Rhen̩-B̢ton. His music sounds like a hybrid of Debussy and Faur̩ Рnot a bad thing!

The fourth song of Rhené-Bâton’s Op. 16 has an unabashed romantic flair. Much of the text describes the beauty one finds in a lover. At the end, though, the text turns dramatically, and the singer asks the beloved to “make a tomb” with his or her body within which the singer can hide from pain, hence the “melancholy” of the title.

Text (Jean Lahor) and new translation behind cut: Read the rest of this entry »





Franz Schubert and Carl Loewe: Erlkönig (The Erl King)

5 05 2009
Who rides so late through night and wind...

"Who rides so late through night and wind..."

One of the most iconic of German Lieder is Schubert’s setting of Goethe’s Erlkönig. It is a story of a sick child whose father carries him home by horseback. The child is terrified by the “Erl King,” who threatens to take him by will or by force. The father doesn’t believe the child, thinking the child is hallucinating.

Unfortunately, this song is far too demanding for many pianists with its rapidly repeated triplets in the right hand, and it requires a singer with some serious dramatic chops to do it justice. Carl Loewe’s setting of the same text is also extremely effective and a masterpiece in its own right. Additionally, it is a great alternative to the Schubert.





Gabriel Fauré: Salve Regina (Hail, Holy Queen)

2 05 2009

Our life, our sweetness, and our hope

"Our life, our sweetness, and our hope"

May is Mary’s month in the Catholic Church. Fauré’s setting of the Marian anthem Salve Regina is sweet, with a simple, fluid melody. It is reminiscent of both Fauré’s Requiem and Franck’s Panis Angelicus. Though Fauré originally wrote this piece for choir (and both recordings linked below are choral performances), I think it would work just as effectively as a solo, so in keeping with the theme of this blog, that’s the score that appears below.





Emmanuel Chabrier: L’île heureuse (The happy isle)

1 05 2009

"We are the monarchs of luminous maritime deserts"

This song positively sparkles! The light glints off the water while the boats rock gently in the waves. Amid this scenery painted by the piano, the voice moves very much like the impassioned lovers it represents — at times impulsive, at others, tender and caressing.