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University of Iowa News Release

March 29, 2006

UI Guest Viola Recital Will Feature Music From the Renaissance April 15

Violist Nathalie Cruden and pianist Patrice Ewoldt will present a free recital as guests of the University of Iowa School of Music at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 15, in Harper Hall of the UI Voxman Music Building.

Principal violist of the Cedar Rapids Symphony, Cruden also teaches at Grinnell College, where Ewoldt is a member of the faculty. The duo previously appeared in a UI guest recital in March 2005.

For the April 15 recital, they will play versions of Renaissance music arranged for the modern viola, as well as a more virtuosic piece from the Romantic 19th century. The complete program in order, will be:

  • Five French Dances by the French Renaissance composer Marin Marais;
  • two songs by the English Renaissance composer John Dowland, "Flow My Tears" and "If My Complaints Could Passions Move";
  • Benjamin Britten's atmospheric 20th-century interpretation of the same two songs, "Lachrymae, Reflections on a song of Dowland," op. 48; and
  • the Sonata for viola and piano, op. 36, by Henri Vieuxtemps.

Cruden explained how she and Ewoldt put together the program: "When Patrice and I started planning our recital this year I asked her what she would most like to play, and she responded immediately with, 'Let's play the Britten! I love that piece!'

"When I was at Eastman my teacher, John Graham, performed this piece and asked one of his colleagues to sing the songs that the Lachrymae reflects upon. I thought that was brilliant, so I have decided to do the same, except that we will play the songs rather than sing them.

"The Lachrymae can be a bit hard to grasp, because Britten turns the Theme and Variation form upside down: the variations, or reflections, are heard first and the piece concludes with the theme. It is breathtaking when you know what is going on, but if you are hearing the music for the first time, it can be a bit mind-boggling.

"Due to the rather serious qualities of the Britten, I looked for something a bit more flashy to balance the program. I quickly thought of the fiery and sentimental nature of the Vieuxtemps. Where the Britten is introspective and thoughtful, Vieuxtemps' sonata is effervescent and charming. I think they make a nice set."

"I have a number of students with recitals coming up, and I have been trying to get them to perform the Marais Dances. I think this suite is a wonderful bit of music, and I really wanted to hear it played, but the kids were less than enthusiastic. Finally, I realized that these dances would fit beautifully with the rest of my recital program in a number ways."

Cruden grew up in Iowa City and began her musical studies at the Preucil School of Music. She received her bachelor's degree from the Eastman School of Music and studied chamber music with the Cleveland Quartet. She has participated in the Aspen Music Festival, the Heidelberg Schloss-Festpiele, the Quartet Program and Piccolo Spoleto.

Cruden was a founding member of the Eastman Baroque Strings, a quintet that gave performances with Karl Haas and Paul O'dette. She also performed extensively with Musica Nova, the new music ensemble at the Eastman School of Music, and with the UI Center for New Music at the UI. She has played with the Charleston Symphony, the Savannah Symphony and the North Carolina Symphony. Last year she played with the Minnesota Orchestra as a section substitute. She is currently an adjunct musical associate at Grinnell College.

Ewoldt joined the faculty of Grinnell College in 2003. She teaches studio piano and keyboard labs and serves as coordinator of accompanying. She was previously on the music faculties of Truman State University and Southeast Missouri State University. She holds a doctorate from the University of Maryland and a master's degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music, both in collaborative piano, and has a bachelor's degree from the University of Northern Iowa.

The School of Music is part of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

For information on UI arts events, visit http://www.uiowa.edu/artsiowa on the World Wide Web. You may visit the UI School of Music web site at http://www.uiowa.edu/~music/. To receive UI arts news by e-mail, contact ur-acr@uiowa.edu.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Peter Alexander, 319-384-0072, peter-alexander@uiowa.edu.