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Upcoming lecture-recital to feature Cabaret songs

January 30, 2011

For the Daily News

The Mississippi State University Music Department will present a collaborative program entitled “‘Come to the Cabaret’: A Lecture-Recital on Cabaret Songs by Great Composers and Poets.”
The Lecture-Recital is set for Tuesday, Feb. 22 at 7:30 p.m. in the auditorium of the MSU Architecture Building.
This interdisciplinary series was created four years ago by Dr. Karen Murphy, collaborative pianist in the Music Department, to feature great poetry set to music by great composers. So far it has presented lecture-recitals of songs set to the poetry of Sylvia Plath (2008), Emily Dickinson (2009), and T. S. Eliot (2010), with faculty and students from the Music Department performing and Dr. Nancy Hargrove, Giles Distinguished Professor Emerita of English, providing the commentary.
This year’s program will take a slightly different approach as it will showcase art songs in the cabaret style by various composers and poets with sets of French, American, British, and German songs.
Among the French cabaret music to be performed is “La Vie en Rose,” made popular by Édith Piaf, who wrote the lyrics; Francis Poulenc’s “Voyage à Paris” and “Hôtel,” set to the poetry of Guillaume Apollinaire; and Erik Satie’s “Je te veux” set to a poem by Pacory.
Among the American/British songs are the Gershwins’ well-known “The Man I Love”; “Amor” with music by William Bolcom and lyrics by Arnold Weinstein; and “Tell me the Truth about Love” and “Funeral Blues,” two poems by W.H. Auden set to music by Benjamin Britten.
In the set on German cabaret are “Mack the Knife” from “The Threepenny Opera by composer Kurt Weill and playwright Bertold Brecht, and four songs from the acclaimed musical “Cabaret”: “Wilkommen,” “Don’t Tell Mama,” “Money,” and “Life is a Cabaret.”
Dr. Nancy Hargrove will comment on the genre of cabaret and prior to each set will point out what is distinctive about cabaret in each country and give a brief introduction to the songs to be performed. Her remarks will be accompanied by Powerpoint illustrations.
Dr. Murphy has organized this program and also serves as the director as well as the pianist. She received her doctoral degree from the University of Minnesota and joined the MSU Music Department faculty in 2007 as the collaborative pianist. She has performed with singers, instrumentalists, and choirs throughout the United States as well as in France, Spain, and Canada.
Dr. N. Hargrove taught for 38 years in the MSU English Department before her retirement in 2008. An internationally known scholar on the works of T. S. Eliot and Sylvia Plath, her most recent book “T. S. Eliot’s Parisian Year” was published in 2009. She presented papers on Eliot in London, Malta, and Glasgow in 2010 and in the coming year will do the same in Boston, Paris, and Florence.
The singers include three current faculty members and one retired faculty member from the MSU Music department.
Dr. Rebecca Wascoe, soprano, will sing Satie’s “Je te veux.” She received a doctorate in Vocal Performance and Literature at the University of Illinois and serves as the Coordinator of Vocal Studies in the MSU Music Department. She has sung varied operatic roles, including her recent debut at the Annual Voice Festival in Dierbach, Germany, and has received numerous awards in national and international competitions.
Gregory Wascoe, baritone, who will sing “Mack the Knife,” is working towards a doctorate in Vocal Performance at the University of Illinois. He teaches Studio Voice and assists with the Opera Workshop on the MSU campus and is choral director at the Meridian campus. He has performed in operas, oratorios, and concert works and recently was a featured soloist at the International Vocal Institute in Dierbach, Germany.
Dr. Wayne Davis, tenor, who will sing Poulenc’s “Fêtes Galantes,” received the DMA in 2009 at the University of Texas and joined the Music Department in the fall of 2010. He has sung professionally with such companies as the San Francisco Opera, the Sacramento Opera, and the Lyric Opera of Chicago, has performed solo roles in oratorios including “Elijah” and “The Messiah,” and has taught at Pattern University in Oakland, Calif.
Dr. Guy Hargrove, who retired in 1995, will sing Poulenc’s “Hôtel” and “Voyage à Paris.” Holding the Ph.D. in Vocal Performance and Literature from the University of Iowa, he also received the Licence de Concert (Chante) while studying French art song in Paris with the famed baritone Pierre Bernac, for whom Poulenc wrote many of his songs. He has concertized throughout the United States and Europe, most recently on the MSU campus, in St. Louis, and in London.
Students in the MSU Music Department will perform as well. “La Vie en Rose” will be sung by Elizabeth Jones, soprano, from Starkville; “The Man I Love” by Emily Hobson, contralto, from Brandon; “Song of Black Max” by Stephen Kelly, baritone, from Olive Branch; “Amor” by Hollyn White, soprano, from Madison; “Tell me the Truth about Love” by Justin Pitner, tenor, from Booneville; “Funeral Blues” by Lily Hudson, mezzo soprano, from Columbus; “Wilkommen” by Aaron Mann, baritone, from Carthage; and “Don’t Tell Mama” by Maureen Hughes, soprano, from Starkville. “Money” will be performed by Mann and Hughes, while the entire cast of faculty and students will join together for the finale, “Life is a Cabaret.”
According to organizers, this program, which is open to the public free of charge, will provide both entertainment and information about cabaret music and promises to be a great deal of fun.

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