From the Music Hall to the Cabaret: Chamber Works by Weill and Poulenc

February 4, 2014

TACOMA, Wash. – The next Jacobsen Series concert at University of Puget Sound will spotlight the diverse talents of School of Music faculty members in a classical evening that evokes the mischief of the French cabaret and the enchantment of a music hall.

From the Music Hall to the Cabaret: Chamber Works by Weill and Poulenc will be held at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 28, in Schneebeck Concert Hall. Everyone is welcome, and ticket information is below.

On stage will be faculty members Dawn Padula, mezzo-soprano; Maria Sampen, violin; Stephen Schermer, bass; Karla Flygare, flute; Dan Williams, oboe; Jennifer Nelson, clarinet; Paul Rafanelli, bassoon; Rodger Burnett, horn; Judson Scott, trumpet; Gunnar Folsom, percussion; Duane Hulbert, piano; and conductor Gerard Morris.

The evening will feature two evocative and demanding works: Kurt Weill’s Concerto for Violin and Wind Orchestra and Francis Poulenc’s Le Bal Masqué for Mezzo-Soprano and Chamber Ensemble. Weill’s concerto (1924) and Poulenc’s song cycle (1932) will feature the new musical ideas drawn from popular theater in Germany and France during the early 20th century.    

German-born Kurt Weill (1900–1950) was one of the earliest composers to ignore the divide between serious and light music, having commented, “There is only good music and bad music.” His own music spanned several realms. He wrote his first symphony at the age of 21, studying under the Italian composer Ferruccio Busoni, and after traveling to America became a composer of avant-garde classical music and Broadway scores. His Concerto for Violin and Wind Orchestra demands virtuoso performances, blending whiffs of theater music with brilliant violin cadenzas, a rhythmic serenade, and a show-stopping finale.

Francis Poulenc (1899–1963), a member of the “Les Six” circle of French composers, was drawn to the surreal poems of Max Jacob and decided to set many of them to music. Four of the poems appear in Le Bal Masqué (The Masked Ball). Although the work was originally written for a baritone soloist, this performance will feature mezzo-soprano Dawn Padula as the soloist. The resulting song cycle, shifting from instrument to instrument, creates a dazzling and sometimes maudlin effect—that ends with what might be taken as a playful nose-thumbing at the audience. The work is one of Poulenc’s most captivating compositions from his earlier years, before he made a virtual about-face and began to compose almost reverent sacred works.   

The Jacobsen Series, named in honor of Leonard Jacobsen, former chair of the piano department at Puget Sound, has been running since 1984. The Jacobsen Series Scholarship Fund awards annual music scholarships to outstanding student performers and scholars. The fund is sustained entirely by season subscribers and ticket sales.

FOR TICKETS order online at tickets.pugetsound.edu or call Wheelock Information Center at 253.879.6013 to purchase with a credit card. Admission is $12.50 for the general public; $8.50 for seniors (55+), students, military, and Puget Sound faculty and staff. The concert is free for current Puget Sound students. Group ticket rates are available for parties of 10 or more by calling 253.879.3555 in advance. Any remaining tickets will be available at the door.

For directions and a map of the campus:pugetsound.edu/directions

For accessibility information please contact accessibility@pugetsound.edu or 253.879.3236, or visit pugetsound.edu/accessibility.

Press photos of the performers are available upon request.
Photos on page: Top right Venetian mask; Above left: German composer Kurt Weill; Above right: French composer Francis Poulenc and Polish harpsichordist Wanda Landowska

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