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'A Folk Song Fantasy' Takes Art Song Back to Its Roots

The Pittsburgh Song Collaborative (PSC) will revisit the roots of the art song genre during its performance of A Folk Song Fantasy on Saturday, Jan. 24, at 7:30 p.m. in the PNC Recital Hall at Duquesne University.

A Mary Pappert School of Music ensemble in residence, the PSC is led by Associate Music Professor Dr. Benjamin Binder, who will play piano at the recital. “Ever since the genre of art song began, poets and composers have returned over and over to the rich tradition of folk songs for inspiration,” says Binder. “Art song poets and composers did something much more than simply copy or imitate what they believed to be the folk song tradition of their people. Instead, they transformed that material into songs that conjure up a powerful and enchanting fantasy of folk life.”

A Folk Song Fantasy reflects on this theme by looking at art songs from the 19th to 20th centuries that create a fantasy of folk life and will feature a variety of composers and poets from Johannes Brahms to Tennessee Williams. Mezzo-soprano Liza Forrester and baritone Daniel Teadt will be the singers for the evening’s program.

The concert will be comprised of five portions, including:

  • George Butterworth’s settings of poems from A.E. Housman’s touching poetic collection A Shropshire Lad, depicting the joys and sorrows of English country life just before the outbreak of World War I
  • Manuel de Falla’s Seven Popular Songs, passionate and inventive arrangements of Spanish folk tunes that evoke the world of flamenco music and dance
  • Tennessee Williams’ Blue Mountain Ballads, blues-inspired lyrics from the Deep South set to music by the American expat Paul Bowles
  • Four Songs of the Auvergne, ancient tunes from the Occitania region of southern France in sumptuous musical arrangements by Impressionist Joseph Canteloube
  • Five magnificent settings of German folk songs and poems by Johannes Brahms.

A $10 donation is suggested for admission to the recital, which will be followed by a reception during which audience members can meet the performers. For more information, call the School of Music at 412.396.6083.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and tradition of academic excellence. Duquesne, a campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, has been nationally recognized for its academic programs, community service and commitment to sustainability. Follow Duquesne University on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.