Posted by: Fabien Tousignant, Artistic Director Music at Trinity
The March presentation of Music at Trinity is centered around the theme of awakenings. Soprano Whitney Sloan and pianist Fabien Tousignant will team up to present a rich program mainly comprised of German Lieder. Spring will have just arrived and as nature awakens, we hope you can join us on March 25th at 4pm in the beautiful acoustics of Trinity Anglican Church. The program will feature works by Brahms, Strauss, Wolf and more.
Johannes Brahms composed his Op.57 in 1871. Other than the “Magelone” cycle, this is the only set of solo songs to texts by a single poet: G.F Daumer. All of the texts are essentially variations on the same basic subject: that of an ardent yearning that must somehow be suppressed without a certainty of fulfillment. The set is not a formal “cycle,” as the poems themselves were not originally grouped together, but because of their common authorship, themes, and even musical style, they work very well when performed as a set.
The four songs of Richard Strauss’ Opus 27 are among his most admired and most frequently performed vocal works. They include “Ruhe, meine Seele!” (poem by Karl Henckell), “Cacilie” (poem by Heinrich Hart), and “Heimliche Aufforderung” and “Morgen!” (both songs based on poems by John Henry Mackay). Strauss composed songs 1, 3, and 4 within days of each other in May 1894, and he completed “Cacilie” on 9 September 1894, the day before his marriage to soprano Pauline de Ahna. The entire opus was offered to Pauline as a wedding gift. In 1918, Strauss sent to his publisher Bote & Bock his Opus 67, a collection of six Lieder: the three Ophelia’s Lieder and other three with poems by Goethe. His Ophelia is far away from his own songs and are different to the ones written during his “Pauline time,” between 1887 and 1905; in Ophelia’s songs, we hardly hear that great late Romanticism we are used to. It is very interesting to witness the change in Strauss’ musical language but also how he offers his perspective on these songs.
Hugo Wolf’s set of Mignon lieder offers some of this composer’s most beautiful writing. Rich harmonies, delightful melodies and a deep understanding of the text. Wolf’s music paired with Goethe poetry has brought a whole new perspective on these songs in comparison to those set to music by Schubert.
Whitney Leigh Sloan
Canadian soprano Whitney Leigh Sloan has been praised for her clear, lyrical voice and ability to take full advantage of both the light and shade in a score (Opera Canada). She is an avid performer with a passion for communicating the narratives of the operatic and concert genres as well as the musical intimacy of art song and small ensembles.
Ms. Sloan completed both her Undergraduate and Master’s degrees in Opera Performance at the University of British Columbia (UBC). Roles performed in attendance included Mimí in La Bohème, Countess in Le Nozze di Figaro, Tatiana in Eugene Onegin, Second Lady in Die Zauberflöte as well as cover studies of Musetta in La Bohème and First Lady in Die Zauberflöte. Additionally, Ms. Sloan performed the roles of Tatiana in Eugene Onegin and Arsamene in Serse as a part of the collaboration between UBC and the Meteske Divadlo in Usti nad Labem, Czech Republic. Ms. Sloan received additional training as a participant of the Calgary Opera Young Artist Development Program. Passionate about song repertoire, Whitney has twice attended the Franz Schubert Institute in Austria, where she worked to hone her skills with Elly Ameling, Helmut Deutsch, Julius Drake, Robert Holl, Rudolf Jansen, Andreas Schmidt, Roger Vignoles, and Wolfram Rieger. She is particularly passionate about the Russian song repertoire and has collaborated in a number of solo and feature recitals throughout Alberta.
Awakenings is part of Music at Trinity and will be presented at Trinity Anglican Church at the corner of Bank and Cameron on March 25, 2023 at 4 pm.
Featured in the March 2023 OSCAR.