Date of Submission

Spring 2021

Academic Program


Project Advisor 1

Erika Switzer

Abstract/Artist's Statement

This concert was programmed from several separate impulses which over the course of my repertoire search coalesced into something whole. Berg’s Sieben Frühe Lieder I chose due to personal interest from having experienced his opera Wozzeck in a course, and also because of my familiarity with the German language. Taking inspiration from a fellow student whom I collaborated with in performance classes, I looked into works by Lili Boulanger and found her song cycle, Clairières dans le ciel. The Rodrigo and Debussy I chose with the intent of relating back to my moderation concert, for which I had prepared Debussy’s Ariettes oubliées and Manuel de Falla’s Siete canciones populares españolas. Rodrigo’s Cuatro madrigales amatorios, like the de Falla, is an adaptation of Spanish folk songs with long histories. The Debussy, I was delighted to find, bridged both the Rodrigo and the Boulanger. Debussy was a contemporary of Boulanger, and though they were not acquainted, they certainly knew of one another; coincidentally, they died in the same month, March 1918. The second Estampes is inspired by Spanish music, and Debussy achieved with it an authenticity that impressed Manuel de Falla, despite never having been to Spain himself.

I also chose Estampes because it encapsulates an idea that continues to intrigue me - the translation of observation and perspective into being. Estampes is one of Debussy’s first forays into music inspired by his encounters with music from other cultures. Pagodes is Javanese gamelan music through the eyes of a French composer, and this is evident in its melodic and overall structures even amidst its backdrop of pentatonicism. I continue to be enamored by truth in perspectives, in personal language and love, and that is what I am hoping to explore in this concert; through that glimpse into Debussy’s exploration and exploit; through the deeply personal tenderness and emotion evoked in the Boulanger; through the long history of Rodrigo’s madrigals and through Berg’s beginning forays into expanded tonality. Song almost always has that quality to it, for it is usually a setting of someone else’s poetry - a translation of someone else’s words into music - so that when I perform, I make these combined expressions of personal truth manifest, for just a moment in time.

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