THE COLLABORATIVE PIANIST’S PERSPECTIVE: PROGRAMMING, PREPARING AND PERFORMING LOWER VOICE ART SONG RECITALS
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Choosing repertoire for art song recitals is an art unto itself. It is crucial for the collaborative pianist to develop the knowledge necessary to help singers build programs that not only feature the vocalist’s strengths, but also create awareness of excellent compositions both well- and lesser-known. In fact, well-built programs can only help to increase the appreciation and popularity of the art song recital. Vocal repertoire is diverse and voluminous enough that a focus on works for lower voices is justified. In selecting the material for this project I have chosen a particular segment of the available repertoire with its specific challenges to the collaboration between singer and pianist. My overall objective is to demonstrate the importance of the collaborative pianist’s involvement in choosing vocal repertoire for art song recitals. The two compact discs that comprise this dissertation recording project contain works that were particularly chosen to demonstrate the breadth and variety found in the repertoire written for the lower voice. The selections range from Schubert, Poulenc, de Falla, Chausson, Ibert, Mahler and Berlin, to contemporary American composers such as Eric Ewazen (b. 1954) and Wayne Oquin (b. 1979). With the inclusion of pieces outside of the traditional art song canon (i.e. jazz, folksongs, spirituals, musical theater), programs can significantly influence the artists involved as well as the listening public. The greater variety inherent in such programs is apt to positively affect the appreciation and popularity of the art song recital at large. The two CD’s for this dissertation recording project were recorded over several months starting in December 2006 and ending in November 2008 and are available on compact discs which can be found in the Digital Repository at the University of Maryland (DRUM). The performers were Sidney Outlaw, baritone, Isabelle Leonard, mezzo-soprano, Evan Hughes, bass-baritone, Rachel Serber, trumpet and the Attacca String Quartet - Vessko Gellev, 1st violin, Janey Choi, 2nd violin, Artie Dibble, viola and Ben Wyatt, cello.