ABOUT THE CONCERT
We are thrilled that extraordinary Bay Area pianist Susan Soehner will be joining us for our Spring 2017 concert: Peace, Love & Robert Graves.
The featured work on the program is Morten Lauridsen’s Mid-Winter Songs (1980) on poems by Robert Graves. In contrast to his more recent “impressionistic” choruses, Lauridsen, a National Medal of Arts recipient and Distinguished Professor of Composition at the University of Southern California, describes his Mid-Winter Songs as “cool and crisp” with “edges and rhythmic vitality.” Demanding for both singers and pianist, this five-movement work is virtually a concerto for piano and chorus.
Also on the program are songs of passionate love, indifferent love, unfaithful love, and fairy-tale love by Johannes Brahms, Maurice Ravel, and Gabriel Fauré—including the choral version of Fauré’s beloved “Pavane” with flautist Barbara Brown. Along with the Fauré, Ms. Soehner will play British composer Herbert Howells’s “Ralph’s Pavane,” a tribute to Ralph Vaughan Williams, whose Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis greatly influenced Howells.
Songs of peace by American composers Charles Ives, Aaron Copland, Lou Harrison, and New York-based Rich Campbell round out the program. In 2013, Campbell’s “If ever there is,” an impassioned and rhythmically vital setting of Robert Creeley’s “John’s Song,” was one of six works to be included in Essentially Choral, a program for emerging young composers co-sponsored by the American Composers Forum and VocalEssence. Just as Creeley does with words and phrases in his poem, Campbell uses rhythmic and harmonic repetition to build up a powerful and “insistent plea” for peace.