November 28, 2007 > POÉMES - A musical ride of imagery
POÉMES - A musical ride of imagery
By Janet Grant
Music can evoke emotion in many ways. It can make you happy, sad, excited, listless, impassioned, or even angry. It can paint a picture of many colors, remind you of memories lost, and provide for you a journey full of sound and fury. When Music at the Mission, in partnership with Music@Market, presents its second concert of the season on Saturday, Dec. 1, it promises a "Transcendent Ride of Imagery." With "POÉMES," the old Mission San Jose will resonate with the breadth of human emotion as it explores in music - happiness, love, and death.
Music at the Mission presents three dazzling artists in a passionate and sensual program of twentieth century works that is guaranteed to evoke emotions of the most incredible kind. World-renown American concert soprano, Lucy Shelton and English pianist Stephen Gosling will be joined by San Francisco violinist, Cynthia Mei presenting an ethereal and imaginative program of works by George Crumb, Charles Wuorinen, Olivier Messiaen and Heitor Villa-Lobos.
Lucy Shelton is one of today's top American concert sopranos and one of the foremost interpreters of living composers who has premiered more than 100 works. Well-known for her innovative programming, Ms. Shelton is in great demand as an interpreter of new music.
Pianist Stephen Gosling is a dynamic and busy presence in the new music scene and has performed throughout the United States, Europe, Latin America and Asia. He gave the European premiere of Paul Schoenfield's Four Parables with the Dutch Radio Philharmonic under Lukas Foss and is a member of the New York New Music Ensemble, Ensemble Sospeso and Columbia Sinfonietta.
Violinist Cynthia Mei is the founder of the San Francisco based group, ADORNO Ensemble. She has performed in orchestras including the San Francisco Symphony and the New Century Chamber Orchestra, and has soloed with local groups such as the Tahoe Festival Orchestra. Reflecting her interest in visual art, Ms. Mei has developed programs such as Kandinsky Listening: Music Appreciation through Visual Art.
Saturday's exciting program consists of George Crumb's "Apparition: Elegiac Songs and Vocalises" for voice and amplified piano, Heitor Villa-Lobos "Suite for Voice and Violin," Olivier Messiaen "PoŹmes Pour Mi" for voice and piano, and Charles Wuorinen's "Christes Crosse."
American composer George Crumb wrote Apparition: Elegiac Songs and Vocalises for voice and amplified piano in 1979 for Lucy Shelton's teacher, Jan DeGaetani and Gilbert Kalish. Crumb chose most of his text from a section of the poem sub-titled "Death Carol" from Walt Whitman's famous elegy of President Lincoln, When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom'd.
A self-taught composer, Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959) created a richly melodic national style by colorfully combining his native folk music tradition and Brazilian popular music. The three songs comprising his Suite for Voice and Violin (1923) translate as "The Young Girl and the Song, I Wish to be Happy," and "The Peasant Girl of Brazil."
Olivier Messiaen was a deeply religious composer devoted to spirituality and mysticism. PoŹmes Pour Mi is a passionate collection of metaphysical love songs dedicated to his first wife who he affectionately called "Mi." Composed in 1936 to his own texts, some of the songs use worldly imagery to describe otherworldly relationships.
The music of Charles Wuorinen is well-known for its formidable intellectual style, complexity, and the extraordinary virtuosity required of its performers. It is also a widely notable contribution to "American Seralism", a catch-all term describing compositional techniques developed by mid-twentieth-century American composers (especially Milton Babbitt) from the twelve-tone method of Arnold Schoenberg. A good example of this style is "Christes Crosse," a song composed by Thomas Morley in 1597 and recomposed by Wuorinen for soprano and piano in 1994. This work is a study in the possibilities of metric modulation
It has been said that that the future of the song recital, if it is to have one, lies largely in the hands of a few young singers like Lucy Shelton. Described as a new music diva, Ms. Shelton, together with the brilliance of artists Stephen Gosling and Cynthia Mei, promise a night of passion and electricity. Who knows, you may find it to be ride that travels along the breadth of human emotion.
On Saturday, an informative, half-hour talk by musician Bill Everett will precede the concert at 7:15 p.m. with the concert beginning at 8 p.m. A complimentary dessert reception will immediately follow the concert where you will be able to meet the artists.
For more information, call (510) 656-2364 or visit www.musicatmsj.org.
Saturday, Dec. 1
7:15 p.m. Pre-concert talk
8 p.m. Concert
Old Mission San Jose
43300 Mission Blvd., Fremont
General Admission: $25
Students and seniors: $20
Online (credit card): www.ticketweb.com