May 6, 2008
Agrell and Mead will play some of their favorite pieces May 12
Horn player Jeffrey Agrell and clarinetist Maurita Murphy Mead will play some of their favorite pieces on a University of Iowa faculty recital, together with pianist Richard Gloss, at 8 p.m. Monday, May 12, in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.
The performance will be free and open to the public.
This program was originally scheduled for performance April 18. That recital had to be postponed and has been rescheduled for the May 12 date.
Agrell has selected two pieces for the program, "Morceau de Concert" (Concert piece) by Camille Saint-Saëns, and the Sonata for Althorn by Paul Hindemith. Mead's piece will be "Three Pieces in Brazilian Style" by Michael Eckert, a member of the School of Music faculty. Both Agrell and Mead will perform with Gloss, and to close the concert, all three performers will join together to play the Trio for Piano, Clarinet and Horn, op. 274, by Carl Reinecke.
The "Morceau de Concert" is a typical 19th-century Paris Conservatory examination piece. Written to test students' abilities, these pieces are notable for the opportunities they provide to demonstrate the technical challenges of the instrument. On the horn, these include high notes, low notes, lyrical melodies, fast passages and stopped technique (with the hand in the bell of the horn) -- "everything but the kitchen sink" Agrell said.
Hindemith wrote sonatas for many instruments, including the E-flat alto horn. The Sonata is very seldom performed today on alto horn, but is a favorite of horn players, although they have to transpose it. It is also notable for the text that the horn player and the pianist must speak before the last movement, a dialogue entitled "The Posthorn."
Eckert's "Three Pieces in Brazilian Style" (Choro -- Waltz -- Choro) was written for Mead and reflects her personal interest in Brazilian music. In the past 10 years she has expanded on her classical training to perform both jazz and various forms of Latin music, especially music from Brazil. Choros are a characteristically Brazilian style of instrumental music that often features virtuoso improvisation of variations on the main melody, often in a manner that is similar to American jazz.
The Reinecke Trio is certainly one of the best-known pieces for horn, clarinet and piano. Carl Reinecke, who lived 1824 to 1910, was a German composer, pianist and conductor. He wrote in every musical form of the time and was stylistically influenced by Mendelssohn, Schumann and, especially in his later works -- including the trio -- Brahms.
Agrell joined the UI School of Music faculty in 2000 after a 25-year career as Associate Principal horn in the Lucerne (Switzerland) Symphony. Besides teaching horn, he currently directs the UI Horn Choir, teaches Introduction to Improvisation, and performs with the Iowa Brass Quintet and the contemporary classical improvising ensembles Duende (horn, cello, piano), and Cerberus (horn, trumpet, tuba). Agrell is also an award-winning writer and composer, and he has been very active in bringing new approaches to improvisation to classical musicians. For more information visit http://www.uiowa.edu/~music/bios/BRASSagrell.htm
Mead has been the artist performer and teacher of clarinet at the UI School of Music since 1983. She has performed by invitation at International Clarinet Association conferences, the Oklahoma Clarinet Symposium, the National Clarinet Symposium of Brazil and the College Band Directors National Association conference. She has been principal clarinet of several Midwestern orchestras, including the Cedar Rapids Symphony. A member of the Iowa Woodwind Quintet, she has performed with many chamber ensembles, including the Cleveland Quartet. For more information visit http://www.uiowa.edu/~music/bios/WINDmead.htm.
Gloss is a native of Chicago. He holds a master's degree in piano performance from the UI, where he studied with Kenneth Amada. He has accompanied many local artists, including Agrell and Manning, flutists Betty Bang Mather and Claudia Anderson, and tenor Scott McCoy. He is also the box office manager for Hancher Auditorium.
Michael Eckert has been on the composition faculty of the UI School of Music since 1985. His awards for composition include the Bearns Prize from Columbia University, a Charles E. Ives Scholarship from the National Institute of Arts and Letters, an NEA fellowship and the Music Teachers National Association Distinguished Composer of the Year Award. For more information visit http://www.uiowa.edu/~music/bios/THEORYmeckert.htm
The School of Music is part of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Visit the UI School of Music Web site at www.uiowa.edu/~music/.
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