French Music from the Early 20th Century
Vocal and Instrumental Works of Lili Boulanger, Nadia Boulanger, Maurice Ravel and Claude Debussy
Saturday, March 24, 2018 4:00pm
Van Buren Hall
- David Smith, conducts
- Amanda Boyd, soprano
- Andrea Bargabos, soprano
- Jon Morrell, tenor
- Elizabeth Silver, violin
- Jay Shulman, cello
- Elizabeth Chinery, flute
- Noah Palmer, piano
- David Smith, piano
For its 25 th program Concerts in the Village celebrates an especially dramatic transitional period in music history, while also recognizing two important centennials: the untimely deaths of Lili Boulanger (1893-1918) and Claude Debussy (1862-1918).
Eight outstanding musicians come together for performances of richly textured vocal and instrumental works from France, some well-known, others less so. The exceptionally precocious Lili Boulanger, at 19 the first woman to win the prestigious Grand Prix de
Rome, will be represented by eight remarkable pieces, including excerpts from her song cycle Clairières dans le ciel. The compositions of Lili’s older and better-known sister Nadia, regarded by many as the most significant musical pedagogue of the 20th century, are not well known, but should be. Seven songs and three short pieces for cello will help to correct this oversight. Maurice Ravel’s exotic and certainly forward-looking Chansons madécasses (1925-26) for the unique combination of soprano, flute, cello and piano imaginatively captures the spirit of Madagascar. Ravel was a famously brilliant orchestrator and in this set of songs uses both the voice and instruments to magical effect.
The program concludes with Debussy’s last major work, the virtuosic Sonata for Violin and Piano (1916-17). Intended as one of a set of six sonatas for diverse instruments, only three were completed by the composer before his death. This relatively brief dance-like work will provide an appropriately fiery conclusion to CITV’s 25 th concert.
Saturday’s performers include sopranos Amanda Boyd and Andrea Bargabos, tenor Jon Morrell, violinist Elizabeth Silver (Concertmaster, Broad Street Orchestra), cellist Jay Shulman, flutist Elizabeth Chinery, and pianists Noah Palmer (CITV Musical Assistant) and David Smith (CITV Artistic Director).
Ms. Bargabos will be making her CITV debut, singing works of both Boulangers. She has performed with Opera Roanoke, Cleveland Opera, Lyric Opera Cleveland, Regina Opera, and Riverside Opera. Her roles have included Violetta in La Traviata, Musetta in La Boheme, Olympia in Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Yum-Yum in The Mikado, Norina in Don Pasquale, Queen of the Night in The Magic Flute, Countess Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro, Fiordiligi in Cosi fan tutte, and Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia.
“Having been a student of Nadia Boulanger in the early 1970’s, this program is very close to my heart,” says David Smith, CITV’s Artistic Director. “What a tragedy that her sister Lili died at such a young age. The promise suggested by what she has left us is extraordinary. Her gifts had already reached remarkable maturity and emotional depth despite the brevity of her years. I suspect that, ill from childhood, Lili Boulanger knew that accomplishment could not wait. Nadia’s dedication to Lili’s memory is well known. And of course the Boulangers, Debussy and Ravel all inhabited the same incredibly rich musical culture of early 20 th century Paris. That CITV celebrates this could not be more appropriate.”