Music faculty artist series: James Richardson, baritone

Where Martin Chapel

Duration 1 hour

James Richardson, baritone, and Jim Clemens, piano, will present a varied recital of English, German, and French song cycles and Italian arias from the Romantic and 20th centuries. Works include Vedic Hymns by British composer Gustav Holst. These songs are settings of ancient, sacred Indian texts sung to the composer’s own translations of the Sanskrit. They are relatively unknown to most listeners, even those familiar with Holst, but they are remarkably fresh revealing a new dimension to the composer and the influence of Hindu spiritualism. Other inspirations, according to Holst, include the mélodies of Impressionist, French composer, Maurice Ravel whose Cinq Mélodies populaires grecques (Five Popular Greek Songs) are also featured in this program. Though originally folksongs, these arrangements full of Mediterranean flavor are equally Ravel, with their innovative, colorful harmonizations. Thematically these five songs are diverse and run the gamut of emotions from the excitement of a groom on his wedding day to one’s hypnotic contemplation in an ancient graveyard. Similarly, but more profoundly, Johannes Brahms’ Vier ernste Gesänge (Four Serious Songs) turns to the Christian scriptures exploring a progression of themes related to love and death. They were partly written in response to the anticipated passing of his closest friend Clara Schumann whom he described as the “greatest wealth” in his life. Completed just before his final birthday, the cycle, almost symphonic in form, demonstrates a maturity beyond his other songs and is perhaps a summation of his personal philosophies. Charming arias from operas, operettas, and musicals by Donizetti, Gilbert & Sullivan, and Rodgers & Hammerstein conclude the concert.

Intended Audience General Public

Tags MUSIC, Arts, Admission_Display_Panel

Contact Information

Name Music Dept

Phone # 540.432.4225