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Feb. 2, 2015
By Alexandra Mortallaro, media relations assistant
Northwest Missouri State University students and faculty members representing the University’s music and English programs will perform a collaborative concert featuring the musical works of Romantic period composer Robert Schumann and some of the poems that inspired him.
The program is free and open to the public and will begin at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 12, in the Charles Johnson Theater at the Olive DeLuce Fine Arts Building.
Dr. Pamela Shannon, associate professor of music, and Dr. Jeff Loomis, professor of English, are the faculty members behind the concert, which combines the vocal talents of 13 Northwest music students with seven English students who will recite the poetry.
Visual images depicting the poetry and prepared by Shandy Beck, a computer specialist in Northwest’s Center for Information Technology in Education, will be displayed. Shannon will narrate, presenting information about Schumann’s life and his songs. The singers will be accompanied by pianists Charles Badami and Deena Poynter.
The multimedia presentation will simulate the parlor gatherings of friends performing for one another before the invention of recorded music. Such gatherings of the time period were called “liederabend,” which translates to “evening of song.”
Schumann, a prolific composer of German songs, was inspired to compose using the romantic poetry of his time by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Heinrich Heine, Eichendorff and others.
“When Schumann read the poems of Heine and others, it fostered his imagination,” Shannon said. “He took the poems and brought a world of poetry into music.”
Many of his songs were inspired by his love for Clara Wieck, whom he married in 1840. The love between Robert and Clara Schumann is one of the great loves in music history, made even more poignant because of the struggles the couple endured in order to marry. Clara’s father forbade the marriage on the grounds that his daughter’s concert career would suffer.
“Schumann is one of the world's great composers,” Shannon said. “His creativity was ignited by the poetry of the time. Students in the music area will perform 12 of Schumann's most beautiful songs after the text is read by students and faculty in the English area. The stage will be set to represent a drawing room in the time of Schumann where musical evenings would take place.”
The concert will feature poems and compositions exploring themes of love, nature, and sorrow, including “Widmung” (“You are my soul, my heart; you, my ecstasy and my pain”), “Im wunderschönen Monat Mai” (“In the lovely month of May”) “Schöne Wiege” (“Lovely cradle of my sorrows”), and from the imaginary world of the fairytale, “Aus alten Märchen” (“In old times”). The concert will conclude with Mignon’s song “Kennst du das Land” (“Do you know the land”). Mignon, a character in the Goethe novel “Wilhelm Meister's Apprenticeship,” is a young girl of 12 years old who was kidnapped by a traveling band of acrobats. The song reflects her longing for her homeland.
The collaborative concert is the second produced by Northwest students under the direction of Shannon and Loomis; in 2013 students music and English students featured the songs of Franz Schubert. Shannon was inspired to organize the Northwest event when a former professor of hers at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music described seeing a staged song recital.
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468