Professor Ann Colley gives us an intimate portrait of the poet
On Friday, October 20 at 8pm, ‘A Musical Feast’, the cutting-edge, independent presenter of both traditional classical and contemporary classical music in Western New York, will open its season in the group’s audience-friendly home in the acoustically superior Tower Auditorium of the Burchfield Penny Art Center, located at 1300 Elmwood Avenue, on the Buffalo State Campus.
The season opening program will be a multi-media event, very much in the now hallowed tradition of performances by the Creative Associates at the Center of the Creative and Performing Arts at the University at Buffalo, back in the 1960’s and 1970’s, under the artistic leadership of Lukas Foss.
Ann Colley, a recently retired Distinguished Teaching professor of English at Buffalo State College debuts her multi-media work, A Cantata for Coleridge, based on her recent research on Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s descriptions of landscape. Colley says “As a young man, this eminent early nineteenth-century British writer took rough, difficult walks, sometimes traveling more than thirty miles a day. Oppressed by personal problems as well as his addiction to opium, Coleridge found sustenance in the topography of rivers, meadows, mountains, and the skies. Often, he also hurriedly sketched line drawings to capture the contours of the landscape. My Cantata for Coleridge celebrates Coleridge’s beautiful way with words as well as his sensitivity to the nuances of light and movement in the natural world”. Using passages from Coleridge’s notebooks, the piece combines a narrator (Anthony Chase), a singer (Tiffany DuMouchelle) and an actor (Paul Todaro) who will voice and act passages from the notebooks. Images of Coleridge’s line drawings will be projected on a screen behind the performers.
Tiffany will also sing the French-born Edgar Varese’s early work, Un grand sommeil noir, with a text by Paul Verlaine, accompanied by pianist Ann Kissel. She will also offer her interpretation of Zahra Partovi’s translation of the poem “Seek Water”, by the 13th century mystic Rumi. Zahra Partovi also collaborated with Chris Villars to produce the short, but rare film “Feldman Sings”, featuring the only known example of the composer Morton Feldman, who was perhaps in some ways the touchstone of the Creative Associates, caught in the act of singing fragments from the score of his opera Neither, to illustrate points he was making.
Violinist Hannah Hurwitz will offer selections from the long-running, episodic composition Signs, Games and Messages, by the leading contemporary Hungarian composer György Kurtág. Varying widely in character, many of these miniatures have been inspired by, or dedicated to an individual, and they are often in turn thoughtful or joyful, melancholic or sad, but never outstaying their welcome.
The more traditional part of the program will feature Natasha Farny, an associate professor of cello performance at the Fredonia School of Music, and an internationally touring virtuoso cellist, in her own transcriptions of selections both from Schumann’s radiant song cycle Frauenliebe und Leben, op. 42, and of Schubert’s lied ‘Hark, hark the Lark’ from Ständchen D 889. Natasha will be accompanied by her Fredonia colleague, pianist Anne Kissel.
Tickets: General: $20; Burchfield Penny members: $10; students: $5. Call: 878-6011, or visit: https://www.burchfieldpenney.org