Music announces spring semester events

By: Laurel Gilmer,  Cornell Chronicle
Sun, 01/13/2019

The Department of Music announces its spring semester slate of concerts, featuring a wide range of performances from faculty, students, and special guests. Highlights include the Chorus and Glee Club collaborating with the Cayuga Chamber Orchestra to perform Brahms’ Requiem on April 27; the Wind Symphony, Chorale, and Chamber Singers teaming up for Stravinsky’s Symphony of Psalms on May 5; chamber music in a variety of configurations and styles; organ concerts from renowned recitalists Nathan Laube and Christophe Mantoux; and a piano festival to start off the semester.

This year will see the launch of the Cornell Center for Historical Keyboards where the University’s historical keyboard instruments will be kept in concert-ready condition for historically-informed study, performance, and recording of classic and romantic repertoire. As part of the celebration of these instruments, the music department presents a festival, “Fugitive Resonance: The Piano in the Early 20th-Century” January 25-27, featuring the Blüthner “Aliquot grand” piano from 1878 and the 1908 Kovner Steinway.

Associate Professor Roger Moseley, director of the Center, says that the Blüthner piano features an additional string on the upper pitches of the instrument that creates a rich, complex tone that Debussy is said to have loved. Moseley further explains that “the piano music of Debussy and his contemporaries exhibits a heightened sensitivity to timbre. At their hands, sonority is not subsidiary to pitch and rhythm, but rather becomes an essential musical element in its own right. The Blüthner offers performers and listeners the opportunity of exploring new dimensions of piano sound while also opening up historical perspectives on how this music was played and heard in its own day.” All events are free and open to the public.

Friday, Jan. 25

8 p.m., Barnes Hall

Entends la douce nuit: An Evening of Debussy, celebrating the centenary of his death. Lucy Fitz Gibbon, soprano, and Roger Moseley, piano, perform a selection of songs, and students from the piano studio of Xak Bjerken/Ryan McCullough will perform solo works.

Saturday, Jan. 26

11 a.m., Barnes Hall

Jocelyn Ho (UCLA) will present a lecture-recital that draws on the piano rolls made by Debussy in 1912 to claim that Debussy’s pianism was firmly grounded in the tradition of Chopin and Liszt. Discussion to follow.

Saturday, Jan. 26

8 p.m., Barnes Hall 

Mike Lee, piano, and Wayne Lee, violin, present a program of early 20th-century music, including Webern, Schoenberg, and Debussy’s sonata for violin and piano.

Sunday, Jan. 27

3 p.m., Barnes Hall 

Music from early 20th-century Vienna, featuring Xak Bjerken and students performing Berg, Webern, Zemlinsky, Ravel, and Scriabin.

Additionally, the Midday Music series begins on Wednesday, January 30 at 12:30 pm at Anabel Taylor Chapel. Anna Steppler will perform sonatas by Bach and Hindemith.

Department of Music concerts and presentations are open to the public at a variety of times and locations and are nearly all free of charge. A complete listing of events with times and locations is available in the linked PDF and at music.cornell.edu.