CONTACT: PETER ALEXANDER
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0072; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: Feb. 16, 2001
UI Kantorei will premiere piece by student composer
Michael Cash March 2
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Kantorei, the premiere vocal ensemble
of the University of Iowa School of Music, will present the world premiere
of a piece by UI masters degree student Michael Cash, as well as a group
of Italian madrigals and other works, as part of a free concert at 8 p.m.
Friday, March 2 in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.
Timothy Stalter, who is director of choral activities
in the School of Music, will conduct the concert. The complete program will
be: "Missa Lunae Stellarumque" (Mass of the moon and stars) by Cash;
Italian madrigals by Giovanni Gastoldi, Jacques Arcadelt and Claudio Monteverdi;
a Magnificat by 18th-century composer Giacomo Antonio Perti; and three pieces
from "Nonsense" by the 20th-century Italian composer Goffredo Petrassi.
Cash said he was inspired by Platos concept
of the music of the spheres -- that there is a celestial harmony created by
the rotation of the planets -- as well as scientific discoveries about the
nature of the universe by Edwin Hubble, Albert Einstein and Benoit Mandelbrot.
"These ideas paint a picture of a possible universe
where there is a place beyond time and space that mortals do not understand,
where a Being which there is no greater dwells and controls and commands the
laws of the cosmos with infinite, calculated subtlety and compassion,"
"In the spirit of these theories and philosophies
I wrote Missa Lunae Stellarumque," he said. "It is a
collage of styles and techniques, from the old, time-honored traditions of
the mass to the modern ideas of the present. This combination, for me, symbolizes
the true tradition of the mass: one of adherence to tradition in conflict
with desire to contribute sincere, original sentiment in honor of the One
Cash created the text for the "Missa Lunae Stellarumque"
by writing his own text in Latin, which he added to texts taken from the standard
liturgical text of the Mass. Thus, Cashs work begins with a text he
wrote, including the words "O Creator, master of the Universe, We awe
at your singular, wondrous music set amidst the moon and stars." This
section of the score is followed by a setting of the "Kyrie eleison"
("Lord have mercy), and other portions of the Mass.
"I wish that this music would vibrate the air
around it in such a way that it starts a near infinite chain of reactions
throughout the universe," Cash said. "That it would ripple
through the ether with a near infinite wake of consequences to the outer boundary
of space and time where the Greatest Being might hear it, and that the near
infinite consequences of its journey might bring some small harmony and peace
to the universe we all share and live in."
The Italian madrigal and its related genres flourished
from the mid-16th century until the early 17th century. Composers of the time
produced an astonishingly large number of madrigals, widely
varying in style and affect. Beginning around 1550, composers began to focus
closely on accurate text-setting, matching text accents to musical accents
and literally depicting the meaning of the text in the music.
Of the madrigals to be performed by Kantorei, those
by Arcadelt and Gastoldi mostly portray the overall mood of the text. In the
third madrigal, however, Monteverdi literally depicts the flight, song and
ardor of a bird by writing delicate, ornamental passages in imitation of birds
Giacomo Antonio Perti was a famous and well-regarded
composer of the early 18th-century, the friend and teacher of many prominent
musicians of the time. His Magnificat in four parts was probably not composed
for a major feast in the liturgical calendar, as it calls for only the modest
forces of four-part chorus with two violins, viola and continuo.
Petrassi is considered one of the most significant
Italian composers of the 20th century. After graduation from the Conservatorio
di Santa Cecilia in Rome, he spent most of his professional life teaching
composition. Trained first as a choral singer performing the music of Renaissance
masters, Petrassi discovered contemporary music when he went to work in a
music store. According to the composer, the experience of Renaissance choral
music retreated into limbo, but later was manifested alongside modernist influences
from Stravinsky, Bartok and his Italian contemporaries.
Kantorei will perform three of the pieces from Petrassis
"Nonsense," unaccompanied choral settings of Italian translations
of English limericks by the Victorian poet and parodist Edward Lear. A serious
artist who was once the drawing master to Queen Victoria, Lear also published
numerous volumes of non-serious works, including "Book of Nonsense,"
"Nonsense Songs," "More Nonsense" and "Laughable
A native Iowan, Cash attended high school at College
Community School Districts and studied music theory at the UI while still
in high school. He received a bachelors degree in music composition
from the UI in 2000. He has studied composition at the UI with Marc Weber,
D. Martin Jenni, Michael Eckert and Lawrence Fritts.
Stalter joined the UI faculty as director of choral
activities in 1999. He directs Kantorei, the premier choral ensemble of the
School of Music, teaches graduate conducting courses, and administers the
graduate program in choral conducting.
In addition to conducting and teaching choral music,
Stalter is active as a tenor soloist in the United States and abroad and is
especially known for his performances as the Evangelist in the Passions of
J.S. Bach and Heinrich Schuetz. He has appeared as tenor soloist with the
Newfoundland Symphony, the North Carolina Symphony, the Robert Shaw Festival
Singers in France, the Robert Shaw Chamber Choir in Atlanta, the Classical
Music Seminar and Festival in Eisenstadt, Austria, and the Shenandoah Valley
The School of Music is part of the Division of Performing
Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts.
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on the World Wide Web. You may visit the UI School of Music web site at http://www.uiowa.edu/~music/.
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