CONTACT: PETER ALEXANDER
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0072; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: April 2, 1999
UI Collegium Musicum will perform Easter story April
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa Collegium Music
-- the early music performance group from the UI School of Music -- will perform
a 17th-century musical setting of the Easter story at 8 p.m. Saturday, April
17 in First Presbyterian Church, 2701 Rochester Ave. on the east side of Iowa
City. The performance will be free and open to the public.
The performance of Heinrich Schuetz's "Historia der Auferstehung
Jesu Christi" (The story of the resurrection of Jesus Christ) will be directed
by faculty member Elizabeth Aubrey. The part of the evangelist, or narrator,
will be sung by tenor Daniel McCabe, a UI graduate student.
Heinrich Schuetz, who lived from 1585 to 1672, was the
first important German composer of the Baroque era and is considered by many
to have been the greatest composer of Lutheran choral music before J.S. Bach.
After studies with the famous Italian composer Giovanni
Gabrieli, Schuetz spent most of his career as Kapellmeister (music director)
at the court of the Elector of Saxony in Dresden. The "Historia der Auferstehung
Jesu Christi" was written in 1623, not long after Schuetz joined the court.
His first large-scale dramatic work written for Dresden, the "Historia" joined
a long line of biblical stories set to music in Germany.
The text, taken from all four Gospels, tells the discovery
of the empty tomb and various appearances of the risen Christ: to Mary Magdalene,
to two disciples on the road to Emmaus, and to the 11 disciples assembled
Schuetz's musical setting of the story shows his familiarity
with the Italian techniques of vocal writing as well as his respect for German
traditions of scriptural storytelling in music. Following Lutheran convention,
the evangelist sings in unmeasured chant, mostly on a single note. Schuetz
added the unusual accompaniment of a quartet of violas da gamba, setting the
direct recitation of the evangelist against the rich colors of the instrumental
As was also conventional in Germany, the different characters
are sung not by soloists but by duets and trios: two high voices for Mary
Magdalene, an alto and tenor for Jesus, and so forth. Schuetz set these characters
in Italian "bel canto" style with organ accompaniment, giving each character
music that his highly expressive of the text.
The UI Collegium Musicum is an ensemble devoted to the
study and performance of music from the Middle Ages, Renaissance and Baroque.
The members of the group are music students and faculty of the UI and members
of the local community. They learn singing techniques appropriate to early
music as well as how to play reproductions of historical instruments.
Elizabeth Aubrey has directed
the ensemble since 1982. A faculty member in the musicology area in the UI
School of Music, she is known internationally as a scholar of medieval music
and literature. She has published articles and reviews in scholarly journals
including Early Music History, The Journal of Musicology, Acta Musicologica
and Historical Performance. She is a contributor to the forthcoming revised
edition of "The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians" and to the new
edition of the German music reference work "Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart"
(Music in history and the present).
Her first book, "The Music of the Troubadours," was published
in 1996 to enthusiastic reviews. The Times (London) Literary Supplement wrote
that it is "a down-to-earth treatment which should ensure that (the book)
remains of value for many years to come." The Music Library Association journal
Notes called the book "a monument in musicology, one no music library should
be without. It should be required reading for all students of music history
and the Middle Ages."
Aubrey is also widely known as a performer of early music
and is regularly consulted by musicians and scholars for her expertise in
performance practice. She has presented solo recitals in medieval songs in
the United States, Canada and Europe. Besides singing she also plays recorder,
lute, viola da gamba and harp. Before becoming director of the UI Collegium
Musicum, she was music director of A Newe Jewell, an early-music ensemble
in Washington, D.C.
Aubrey has served on the Council of the American Musicological
Society, the Board of Directors of the International Machaut Society, the
editorial board of the journal Historical Performance, and a term as president
of the Midwest Chapter of the American Musicological Society. She has received
grants from the American Council of Learned Societies and the National Endowment
for the Humanities. Aubrey received her bachelor's degree from Grinnell College,
and both master's and doctoral degrees from the University of Maryland. She
has been on the faculty of the UI since 1982.