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|Title:||Sweet Comfort: Margery McCrum, Jennifer Hansen, Hugh Keelan|
|When:||04.07.2013 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm|
|Location:||Centre Congregational Church, Brattleboro, VT|
|Description:||Dolce Conforte: Sweet Comfort|
Faculty Concert Series
Sunday, April 7, 4 pm, Centre Congregational Church, Brattleboro, VT
The Brattleboro Music Center presents duets of Bach, Britten, Faure, Dvorak, Mercadante & Tchaikovsky featuring Music School Faculty members Margery McCrum, soprano, Jennifer Carol Hansen, mezzo soprano, and Hugh Keelan, piano, with Kathy Andrew, violin.
Tickets are $15, $8 students, and free to BMC students under 21. For more information call the BMC at 802-257-4523.
On Sunday, April 7th, the Brattleboro Music Center presents “Dolce Conforte” (Sweet Comfort). The community is invited to share in a rich afternoon of vocal duets and more, featuring Margery McCrum, soprano, Jennifer Carol Hansen, mezzo-soprano, and Hugh Keelan, piano, with Kathy Andrew, violin.
“I think it is safe to say that some of the most magical and memorable moments in music arise from the seamless movement of two harmonious voices blended together in song,” stated McCrum. “The recital program, conceived by Jennifer and me, has grown out of sharing many delicious hours of singing, experiencing pure delight bringing our voices together. The end result is altogether more wonderful – a marriage of sorts – of timbres and nuances, of depth and richness of sound.”
Hansen and McCrum collaborate with Maestro Hugh Keelan as their pianist for this concert. Not only is Keelan a gifted musician and conductor, he is also an exceptional and sensitive interpreter of vocal music. Keelan has a particular generosity of spirit and talent of coaxing and caressing the music to reveal its essence, and of inspiring the singer to find the essential core and beauty in her voice.
From Bach to Tchaikovsky, Mercadante to Dvorak and Britten, the program for “Dolce Conforte” reflects the musicians’ deep love of a broad range of composers, eras, and musical genres.
From the baroque period, homage is paid to Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750), drawing on his rich sacred canon. The setting of “Domine Deus” to be performed is from Bach’s “Mass in G,” BWV 236, a less well known work that was somewhat eclipsed by his beloved “B Minor Mass.” Written for soprano and mezzo-soprano, the duet contains both lyrical passages in thirds and sixths, as well as fugal and contrapuntal elements. In addition, the duet features a violin obbligato, to be played by Kathy Andrew. As always, the crispness and counterpoint of Bach offers one a glimpse of the logic and divine plan of the cosmos.
Moving along chronologically, from Italian composer Giuseppe Saverio Raffaele Mercadante (1795 –1870)’s opera “Il Giuramento (The Oath),” a duet between Elaisa and Bianca is performed. The opera was first performed at La Scala in March 1837. Many operas tend to have a good number of intrigues and confusing identities and this one is no exception. The scene has all the components one might expect from an opera of the romantic era – dramatic recitative, soaring vocal roulades, and impassioned pleas culminating in a beautiful lyrical duet.
The program incudes a selection of six folk song duets from Czech composer Antonin Dvořák (1841-1904)’s “Klänge aus Mahren (Echoes from Moravia),” Op. 32. This selection exemplifies Dvořák’s nationalistic spirit and devotion to the music of Moravia and his beloved Bohemia. They are his own unique compositions, but draw heavily on the folk music of his homeland.
Further to the east, in Russia, Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1840-1893) was born one year earlier than Dvořák. A figure of much controversy, both during his lifetime and later, Tchaikovsky is probably best known for his ballets, “Swan Lake” and the “Nutcracker Suite.” The five duets to be performed in this concert are from “Six Duets,” Op. 46, which were written for a high and medium high voice, though the sweeping vocal lines are often equally shared by both voices. The sweeping orchestral style of the piano accompaniment imbues these songs with the passion and drama of an operatic nature, clearly not in the folk style adopted by Dvořák in his duets. These aria-like songs, with words from somewhat mediocre Russian poets, reflect Tchaikovsky’s European training and affinity. Nonetheless, they have a true and honest Russian character and pathos.
English composer Edward Benjamin Britten (1913-1976), probably best remembered for his operas and choral works, is arguably the single most influential British composer of the twentieth century. His style reveals complex interlacing of vocal lines with independent soaring melodies, tight tonal and intervallic structures, which often set up a seeming dissonance that with time becomes more and more delicious as one experiences Britten’s music. The piano and orchestral components of his music explode with depths and heights, beautiful harmonies and dissonances, thrilling rhythms, innuendoes and ironies. The duet “Two Ballads” will be performed drawing on texts by Montagu Slater, and W H Auden – monumental British literary figures in their own right. The solo pieces are from Britten’s extensive collection of Folksong arrangements in six volumes, published between 1943 and 1961, featuring well known and beloved works mostly from the rich tradition of the British Isles. Volume 4 is taken exclusively from Moore’s Irish Melodies. Though the melodies are simple folksongs and ballads, Britten’s arrangements are extremely complex and expressive, but without sentimentality, and often with a bit of witticism and wry social commentary.
Lyric Soprano Margery McCrum currently teaches voice in Brattleboro, Vermont at her private studio and is a member of the voice faculty at the Brattleboro Music Center. She received her Master of Music in Voice Performance and Pedagogy from the Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey, where she studied voice with Laura Brooks Rice. She has coached with Glenn Parker and Dalton Baldwin, and continued further studies with Jane Bryden, upon moving back to Brattleboro in 2001. Recent performances include soprano soloist in Villa Lobo’s “Bachianas Brasilieras” with the Windham Orchestra’s salute to cellist David Wells, and in Eric Whitacre’s “Five Hebrew Love Songs” and Pinto Fonseca’s “Missa Afro-Brasiliera” with the Brattleboro Concert Choir. In addition she has been soprano soloist for Handel’s “Messiah,” Brahms’ “Ein Deutsches Requiem,” and has a great love of opera, especially the works of Mozart, Strauss and Puccini. She served as president of the Board of Trustees of the Brattleboro Music Center 2009-2011. Dr. McCrum, a Board Certified Anesthesiologist, currently practices integrative medicine at Sojourns Community Health Clinic in Westminster, VT.
Mezzo-soprano Jennifer Carol Hansen has performed as soloist throughout northern New England with choral societies such as the Manchester Choral Society, Handel Society of Dartmouth College, Brattleboro Music Center Community Chorus, Concord Community Chorus, Oratorio Chorale, Androscoggin Chorale, and Middlebury Festival Chorus, and with the Vermont Symphony Orchestra. She has performed with the Boston Vocal Artists and Opera North, and has given solo and chamber music recitals at Dartmouth College, Middlebury College, University of Maine at Farmington, Canterbury Shaker Village concert series, and Annicchiarico Theater in Concord, New Hampshire. Hansen is a magna cum laude graduate of Dartmouth College. She has been a semifinalist in the Oratorio Society of New York Annual Solo Competition and has been a New England finalist in the National Association of Teachers of Singing Artist Award Auditions. She holds the position of cantor at St. Denis Parish in Hanover, New Hampshire, and teaches voice privately and on the faculty of the Brattleboro Music Center, Putney School, and Upper Valley Music Center.
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