Vesper Concert Series Focused on 1926
February 4th, 2014
Omaha, NE — While the Vesper Concerts Series is known for sometimes going off the beaten track, itâ€™s next performance was inspired by something extremely unlikely: a podcast. Itâ€™s called â€œA Year in Classical Musicâ€ and hosted by Omaha musician Brian Linnell. Instead of focusing on certain composers and their most popular works, he researches a year at a time, giving background on historical events and biographical notes on the composers. Linnell says this approach not only puts popular selections into context, but also uncovers musical gems rarely heard.
â€œItâ€™s a project that allows us to focus on music that normally gets marginalized or neglected.â€ Linnell said.
The focus of this concert is the year 1926 and opens with music from Ralph Vaughan Williams titled â€œSix Studies on English Folk Song.â€ As the name suggests, the music was inspired by Vaughan Williamsâ€™ passion for folk music.
â€œHe went around England very much like how Bartok went around Hungary, Romania,â€ said Linnell. â€œHe would ask old folks, who knew old folk song traditions to sing tunes for him, and heâ€™d write them down.â€
Performing the â€œSix Studiesâ€ is violist Thomas Kluge and pianist Christie Zuniga. They will also perform a viola sonata by little-known Russian composer Nicolai Roslavets. Kluge says that, while he was very forward-thinking in his writing, Roslavetsâ€™ music is very approachable and easy to listen to.
â€œI like to refer to it as Debussy meets Prokofiev,â€ said Kluge â€œItâ€™s got some impressionistic elements to it, but it also has some elements of an industrial, â€˜machine ageâ€™ approach to the arts.â€
While Roslavets was looking forward, the last composer on the program was looking back. His name was Robert Fuchs, a contemporary of Johannes Brahms. He taught for many years, counting among his pupils Mahler, Sibelius, and Korngold. The Omaha Symphonyâ€™s Concertmaster, Susanna Perry Gilmore, joins the duo to perform Fuchsâ€™ late Piano Trio. Kluge points out that Fuchs was unapologetic about his very conservative approach to composing.
â€œI love who I am, I know who I am as a composer, I am a Romantic composer, itâ€™s how I express myself, itâ€™s how I see the world.â€ Fluge said.
â€œA Year in Classical Musicâ€ and Vesper Concertsâ€™ performance of music from 1926 is this Sunday, February 9 at 3 pm. The concert will be at the Presbyterian Church of the Cross in Omaha, and for more information, you can visit vesperconcerts.org or ayicm.com.
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