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Hillary Herold, mezzo-soprano
Mark Smith, piano
Jonathan Thorne, classical guitar
This recital is presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Music Performance. Ms. Herold has previously studied with Mrs.Branita Holbrook-Bratka, Ms. Marlayna Maynard, Ms. Simone Gutjahr, and Mrs. Mandy Bohm in her time at Marshall University. Mrs. Herold is currently a student in the studio of Dr. Larry Stickler. She would like to extend her thanks to Mark Smith, Jonathan Thorne, Jacob Smith, Olivia Watson, and Brooke Fisher for their preparation and participation in the recital.
George Frederic Handel (1685-1759) is a quintessential composer for people inside and outside of the arts. As a Baroque composer, he was well versed in many genres of composition, including opera, oratorios (opera without costumes and staging) and many organ works. He began his life as many composers do, by going against his fathers will to become a musician. He became organ master in the court of Wissenfels by the age of ten and used his experience as an organ player to be introduced into the world of opera. There was a ruling that stated that opera could not be performed during the season of Lent. Handel, embracing this new rule, began to compose oratorios. He had a lot of success with these, the arguably most famous is Messiah. This oratorio follows the story of Christ's birth, life and eventual crucifixion and resurrection. Oratorios consist of recitative, arias, and choruses. Rejoice Greatly, 0 Daughter of Zion is a soprano aria featuring melismatic patterns in both the voice and orchestra. There are three sections; the fast opening, the slower and declarative middle section, and a return to the fast tempo to conclude the piece, that can include added notes as the melody is repeated.
Robert Schumann's (1810-1856) masterful and moving song cycle Frauenliebe und-Leben op. 42, is one of the greatest collections of songs. The poetry is written by Adelbert von Chamisso (1781-1838) and was composed in 1840. The song cycle programmatic in nature and it follows the story of a young woman and her journey through life and love. Within this work there is a clear progression of the beginning of love starting with the first piece that speaks of the first encounter with the man to the last piece when the husband dies and the woman is living in his memory. The piano has repetitive patterns that drive each of the songs, although the rhythms are different in each piece. The vocal line can be misleading from piano lines because Schumann places the rhythm of the voice an eighth note to a sixteenth off from the piano part at the beginning of phrases. This plays an important part because the opening passage in the piano returns at the very end of the work as the woman remembers her love. This great piece directly reflects Schumann's ongoing relationship with Clara Wieck. It is said that during the composition of this piece he was making arrangements with her father to propose to her, even though her father was against the marriage. Frauenliebe und-Leben was dedicated to Clara as a wedding present. This song cycle is the musical description of Robert and Clara's love affair.
Franz Liszt (1811-1886) set text by Victor Hugo in Oh! Quandje dors. Liszt composed two versions of the song. The first, reflecting his skill as a pianist, was considered to be too virtuosic, and took away from the melody line. Liszt made revisions to the score, taking out doubled piano lines, and making the overall texture of the piece thinner. This second version, composed in 1859, is the one used by singers today. It tells of the young romance and intimacy of two lovers, willing each other to visit the bedside while they sleep, as Laura came to the poet Francesco Petrarch's side. The piece is called a melodie in French, and is the equivalent of a German Lied, although this particular piece identifies more with the lied than the melodie. The piano and vocal parts are equally challenging in their composition. The piano part calls for separated articulation at the end of the piece, while the voice has a sustained line. Together the two create a great contrast to the climax that happened only measures before.
Within Noël des enfants qui n 'ont plus de maisons, there is not only sadness for the victims of war, but also a rich history connected to Claude Debussy himself. Debussy (1862-1918) was suffering through many hardships when he composed this work in 1915. He had been diagnosed with cancer, and on the eve of a life changing surgery, he composed this song. He penned the text himself, as a personal reflection of World War I. When Paris was invaded by Germany in 1914, Debussy was in residence there for a short time before fleeing with his family to Angers, France. After living through this invasion he composed Noël des enfants qui n 'ont plus de maisons out of rage. The text speaks of children with no homes, shoes, and food, and urges Father Christmas to forget about presents and to give food, and take vengeance on those who caused the children pain. The narrator, never clearly identified can be interpreted as many people. The work could be spoken by a small child, an ambassador for all children that were affected by war, or even a personal narrative by Debussy himself. Regarding the text Debussy said, "Not a word of this text must be lost, inspired as it is by the rapacity of our enemies." The song, marked as "sad and meek", is filled with profound words that move quickly over the triplet rhythm in the piano. Debussy was too old to fight in World War I, but he said that the text and music of this song "is the only way I have to fight the war."
Gretchen am Spinnrade is one of the first songs that Franz Schubert (1797-1828) composed. He was seventeen and it is one of his most popular songs for recital settings. Gretchen, a young maiden, is a character from Faust, a two part drama by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Faust is an exhilarating story featuring deceit, the Devil in disguise, loss, and love. In this setting, Gretchen is at her spinning wheel. She is lonely, and slowly going insane. The only time she stops her spinning wheel is when she breathlessly remembers Faust's kiss that he gave her earlier in the play. It astounds listeners that at age 17, Schubert can accurately portray the feelings of a young maiden, and encompass such a wide range of emotion in a song as short as this one. As in most of Schubert's lieder, there is a repetitive figure that is heard throughout the entire piece. Within the first measure, it is possible to hear the incessant spinning of Gretchen's spinning wheel. The vocalist sings the same opening figure several times throughout the piece, bringing the character into deeper madness as the song continues.
Jürg Kindle (b. 1960) has made a name for himself as a contemporary composer for classical guitar. Working not only as composer but also a pedagogue for classical guitar, Kindle is a versatile musician who is inspired by the things around him in his native Switzerland. Dreamland is a group of three pieces and was composed in 2013. The texts are taken from poems by Edgar Allan Poe. Each of the songs reveals Poe's soul through dreams and the battle between light and dark. The text uses poetic devices such as anaphora, the repetition of words at beginnings of sentences, as well as frequent alliteration. The guitar and voice often create dissonances that take an entire phrase to resolve themselves. Kindle treats the voice and guitar as separate parts in the composition. The guitar acts solely as the accompaniment to the voice.
Brazilian composer Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959) is one of the composers who helped shape his country's musical style. He was infatuated with Brazilian folklore and folk tunes, and he uses them in almost all of his compositions for voice. Canção do Poeta is an especially interesting piece. When Villa-Lobos was in his late forties, he travelled to Paris, where Claude Debussy's music was still very popular and he emulated Debussy's fluidity and harmonic choices in this song. The vocal line, steadily rising and falling in simple scale patterns, brings the poet Alfredo Ferreira's words to life as the text speaks of walking in a dream under the moonlight. The piano plays a dream-like opening line which leads into a simple vocal melody on an ascending and descending scale. The climax of the piece is placed on the word "Light". This is the highest note of the piece and has the loudest dynamic level of the piece. After the climax, the singer returns to the dreamy quality of sound and is followed by the piano playing an enchanting melody similar to the one that started the piece.
Inspired by Brazilian folklore, Boi Bumba is a well-loved tale in the northern parts of Brazil. Every year there is a festival dedicated to the story of Boi, an ox who was loved by the people of the village. As the story goes, a pregnant woman named Catrina got a craving for ox tongue, and her husband Chico sought out the best tongue, which happened to belong to Boi. The village is so furious that Chico would harm such a creature that they chase Chico and Catrina out of town and ask for the help of a priest and his daughter to save the ox. The priest succeeds and Boi is brought back to life. The whole village vowed to celebrate for the rest of his days.
Waldemar Henrique (1905-1995) takes this tale and makes a wonderful folk-like melody that is a personification of the celebration that occurs throughout Brazil every year during the summer months. There are many arrangements of the piece and the original version leaves room for improvisation as well as added instrumentation including guitar, cavaquinho, and various percussion instruments.
La Cenerentola gives a different twist to the classic tale of "Cinderella" inspired by Charles Perrault's telling of the story. Gioacchino Rossini's (1792-1868) opera La Cenertentola gives hope to the underdog and a happy ever after ending with a prince in disguise. In this concluding aria, Angelina, or "Cinderella" sings of her joy that she has found her prince. She also sings of the forgiveness she feels for her stepsisters and her father for treating her badly during the duration of the opera. The piece begins with a speech-like recitative section at the beginning, followed by a faster section that contains melismatic patterns showing off the speed and agility of the singer. The singer then slows again and the aria is concluded with gusto by the singer and orchestra. This type of form in opera composition is called a cabaletta. Many of Rossini's triumphant arias contain the same structure. La Cenerentola was popular when it was first composed, but there were few mezzo-sopranos that had the ability to sing its coloratura lines, so it was not performed often in the nineteenth century. It was not until the past fifty or so years that the opera became regularly performed in large opera houses. Rossini wrote the opera during a very short period of time in 1817. He not only used original material, but reused some themes and instrumental interludes he had written previously to fill the silence between arias. The whole opera is light, energetic, and filled with humor with a happy ending for all.
Smith Recital Hall
Arts and Humanities | Fine Arts | Music | Music Performance
Herold, Hillary, "Marshall University Music Department Presents a Senior Recital, Hillary Herold, Mezzo-Soprano" (2015). All Performances. 683.