February 10, 2018 10:01:50 PM
Mississippi State University's Music Department presents "The Brits are Coming!" at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 13 in the Harrison Auditorium of the Giles Architecture Building on campus. The 11th annual Poetry and Music Program includes songs set to the poetry of three major British poets of the 19th and 20th centuries -- A.E. Housman, William Butler Yeats and Edith Sitwell. Songs from three popular comic operas by W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan are included in the finale. The program is free to the public.
Dr. Karen Murphy, coordinator of Collaborative Piano, and Dr. Nancy D. Hargrove, William L. Giles Distinguished Professor Emerita of English, co-founded this collaborative program in 2008 and are the directors.
Murphy will be the pianist, while Hargrove will give a commentary with Powerpoint illustrations on the poets, the composers and the poems and songs. Performers are faculty and students of the MSU Music Department, with several guest instrumentalists.
On the program
The evening opens with two choral pieces performed by the Men of State: Housman's "When I was one-and-twenty" (Butler), conducted by Joe Lindamood and accompanied by Joy Carino, and Yeats's "The Salley Gardens" (Hughes/Serino), conducted by Dr. Gary Packwood.
The next set consists of four solos set to the poetry of Housman: "Loveliest of Trees" (Butterworth), "With Rue my Heart is Laden" (Barber), "Farewell to Barn and Stack and Tree"(Moeran), and "On Wenlock Edge" (Williams), whose accompaniment features piano and string quartet, the latter a first for this program.
The third set includes three songs set to Yeats' poetry: "The Lake Isle of Innisfree" (Moore), "The Cloths of Heaven" (Dunhill) and "Crazy Jane Talks with the Bishop" (Moore).
Songs set to the poetry of the eccentric Edith Sitwell make up the fourth set, beginning with the somber "Canticle III: Still Falls the Rain," with piano and horn, and followed by three songs from the experimental "Facade: An Entertainment": "Polka," "En Famille" and "Tarantella." "Facade" will be accompanied by an ensemble of percussion, flute, clarinet, alto saxophone, trumpet, bass clarinet and cello, another first for the program, conducted by Dr. Barry Kopetz.
The grand finale will be songs from three Gilbert and Sullivan comic operas: "We Sail the Ocean Blue" from "HMS Pinafore," "Three Little Maids from School" from "The Mikado," and "Poor Wandering One" and "I am the Very Model of a Modern Major General" from "The Pirates of Penzance."
Murphy teaches class piano and performs often with singers, instrumentalists and choirs, appearing throughout the United States as well as in France, Spain, Canada and Brazil.
Hargrove retired from the MSU English Department in 2008 after 38 years, but continues to publish, give lectures and teach on occasion in the Honors College. An internationally-known scholar on T.S. Eliot and Sylvia Plath, she has published three books and received numerous awards for teaching and research.
Faculty voice soloists include Dr. Jeanette Fontaine, Dr. Ryan Landis and Dr. Roza Tulyaganova.
Student voice soloists include Blake Mauldin, Gracie Tew, Trevor Blood, Daniel Joyner, Corinne Reece, James Rustenhaven, Joe Lindamood, Leah Boyd, Sydney Harrell, Zierra Long, Payton Tanner and John Williams.
Instrumentalists are Silvia Suarez, Trisha Whiteside, Amaro Dubois, Alisha Rufty, Dr. Matthew Haislip, Jason Baker, Jessica Banks, Sheri Falcone, Tony Kirkland, Terrell Gilmore and Jacob Lanier.
A reception sponsored by Sigma Alpha Iota International Music Fraternity will follow the program in the lobby.
Hargrove said, "This is our most ambitious program yet, with the addition of the string quartet and the 'Facade' ensemble to our talented pianist and singers, so please join us for an evening of wonderful music, comedy and a surprise or two."