Music faculty to present song cycles of Schubert

Wednesday February 26, 2020Roger Coda
Performers Dr. Anne Kissel, Joe Dan Harper and James Judd
School of Music faculty (from left): Dr. Anne Kissel, Joe Dan Harper and James Judd will perform song cycles of Franz Schubert on three consecutive days at Rosch Recital hall.

A “rare opportunity” to hear three song cycles by Austrian composer Franz Schubert on consecutive evenings will be presented by faculty members of the School of Music.

Joe Dan Harper and James Judd, tenors, and pianist Dr. Anne Kissel will perform “Die schöne Müllerin,” “Winterreise” and “Schwanengesang” on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Feb. 27, 28 and 29, at 8 p.m. in Rosch Recital Hall.

All performances are free and open to the public.

“All three of these works are monumental by themselves,” Dr. Kissel said. “To hear them on three consecutive nights is a rare opportunity!”

“All three of these works are monumental by themselves,” Dr. Kissel said. “To hear them on three consecutive nights is a rare opportunity!”

A song cycle is a grouping of songs that together tell a story. Schubert's first two song cycles, “Die Schöne Müllerin” (“The Fair Maid of the Mill”) and “Winterreise” (“Winter Journey”), set poems by the German Romantic poet Wilhelm Müller. “Both are love stories that end badly!” Kissel noted. The final cycle, “Schwanengesang” (“Swan Song”), does not form a clear narrative. It is a collection of poems by Ludwig Rellstab and Heinrich Heine, both poets, who deal with similar themes of lost love and longing. 

Aside from the incredible beauty of the music, Kissel explained, part of the appeal of these three song cycles is the narrative that links the songs together.

“Each cycle deals with the inner struggle of a single protagonist who grapples with questions of purpose in life, with love, and with loss. The music itself is an expression of empathy with the words of the poet, and the poet's emotional journey is one to which we can all relate,” Kissel said.

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