CONTACT: PETER ALEXANDER
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0072; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: July 2, 1999
Baritone Stephen Swanson, pianist Darlene Lawrence
to present religious songs July 11
NOTE TO BROADCASTERS: Frank Martin is pronounced frahnk
mahr-TEH ("EH" pronounced like the a in tang but without the "ng".)
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- University of Iowa School of Music
faculty members Stephen Swanson, baritone, and Darlene Lawrence, piano, will
present a program of religious songs at 3 p.m. Sunday, July 11 in Clapp Recital
Hall on the UI campus.
The centerpiece of the program will be "Sechs Monologe
aus Jedermann" (Six monologues from Everyman) by Swiss composer Frank Martin,
settings of texts from an ancient English morality play adapted in German
by the early 20th-century playwright and poet Hugo von Hofmannsthal.
Known primarily as the librettist of "Der Rosenkavalier"
and other operas by Richard Strauss, von Hofmannsthal was a writer of considerable
range. In his adaptation of the medieval morality play "Everyman," he created
a powerful commentary on life and mortality. His "Jedermann" became a revered
theater piece for German-speaking actors and was for many years the opening
production of the annual Salzburg festival.
Unrelated to theatrical productions, Martin's settings
of six monologues from the play form a cycle that addresses the same issues
in musical terms.
Other works on the program will be Three Divine Hymns
from "Harmonica Sacra" by the English Baroque composer Henry Purcell; and
the "Four Serious Songs" op. 121 -- all settings of Biblical texts from Ecclesiastes
and Corinthians -- of Johannes Brahms.
Swanson explained that the idea of the program had come
from Lawrence, who had played for his previous UI faculty recitals. "This
is my last recital with Darlene, who is leaving at the end of the summer,"
"I asked her what she would like to perform with me and
the Martin was her choice. In the process of coming up with an entire recital
that would form a unit, I decided to go completely with religious subjects.
The Purcell is a wonderful realization by Benjamin Britten, written for piano
and voice from the Baroque setting. And the Brahms songs are his very last
works and are masterpieces."
Swanson joined the faculty of the UI School of Music in
1994. For nearly 20 years before that date he had an active operatic career
in Europe. During that time his repertoire grew to more than 70 roles in opera,
operetta and musicals. He has sung on German, Austrian and Dutch radio broadcasts
and has been a featured soloist in European festivals including the Berliner
Festwochen, the Days of Contemporary Music in Dresden and the Festa Musica
Pro in Assisi, Italy.
Swanson recently took part in the Viktor Ullman-Projekt
1998, a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the birth of a composer who
died in the Nazi death camps. Swanson sang major roles in Ullman's operas
"Der zerbrochene Krug" and "Der Kaiser von Atlantis" at performances in Europe,
at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., and at the Martyr's Museum in
Swanson has also had an extensive career as a concert
singer, appearing as featured soloist with many U.S. orchestras, including
the Chicago Symphony under Sir Georg Solti, Raphael Fruehbeck de Burgos and
Margaret Hillis. He has recorded Mendelssohn's "St. Paul" and Ullmann's "Der
Kaiser von Atlantis." Since coming to Iowa City, he has appeared in UI Opera
Theater productions and performances of the Chamber Singers of Iowa City.
Swanson holds undergraduate degrees from North Park College
in Chicago and a master's degree in music from Northwestern University. He
made his professional debut in 1970, singing in Arnold Schoenberg's opera
"Moses and Aron" with the Chicago Symphony in Chicago and New York's Carnegie
Lawrence received her doctorate from the University of
Southern California. She has accompanied many prominent California artists
and has toured under the management of Sol Hurok. She has served as accompanist
for the Oregon Bach Festival with noted conductor Helmuth Rilling and was
selected to accompany the 1,000-voice choir for the 1984 Summer Olympic Games
in Los Angeles.
In addition to her work as an accompanist, Lawrence is
a published composer/arranger, and she has worked as a studio singer in film,
television and the recording industry. Since 1989 she has been on the faculty
of the UI School of Music, where she teaches song literature and is coach/accompanist
in the voice and opera areas.
For information on UI arts events, visit http://www.uiowa.edu/~uiowacr
on the World Wide Web. You may visit the UI School of Music web site at