Jonathon Struve strives to set a musical example
February 28, 2017
Filed under Arts & Entertainment
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Adjunct Faculty in Music Jonathon Struve (‘02) presented the only voice faculty artist recital of the semester in the Noble Recital Hall on Feb. 16. This recital involved collaboration with several faculty members of the music department and was a display of the talent possessed by Luther College faculty.
Struve’s recital incorporated a wide variety of languages, genres, and tones of music. The recital began with the performance of Johann Sebastian Bach’s cantata “Ich Habe Genug.”
The piece was performed in full by Struve, Instructor in Music Kathryn Reed on harpsichord, Associate Professor of Music Heather Armstrong on oboe, Professor of Music Virginia Strauss on violin, Visiting Assistant Professor of Music Igor Kalnin on Violin, Professor of Music Spencer Martin on viola, and Assistant Professor of Music Philip Borter on cello. This cantata, sung in German, was written to capture the delight of a devout man described in Luke 2:21-39 holding the newborn Jesus who he had hoped to see before his death.
After the cantata, Struve and Visiting Assistant Professor of Music Nicholas Shaneyfelt performed six of George Butterworth’s songs from “A Shropshire Lad.” These six consecutive songs from the composition were sung in English and told the story of appreciating life.
Struve and Shaneyfelt then continued with two Italian pieces by Francesco Paolo Tosti, “La Serenata” and “L’ultimo Canzone.” They ended the recital with a French song set by Maurice Ravel. Ravel uses a variety of style and meter choices to convey the meaning behind each of his pieces.
This wide range of music chosen for this recital was an impressive display of the extent of Struve’s vocal talent. Associate Professor of Physics and audience member Erin Flater (‘01) appreciated the variety of the pieces performed by Struve.
“It was really dynamic,” Flater said. “It covered a broad range of emotions and the words were so deep and meaningful.”
When choosing the pieces to perform in this recital, Struve did not have a particular theme in mind. According to Struve, he chose these songs on the basis that they were either things that he has wanted to sing or that he enjoys singing.
The Bach piece was included in the recital because Struve had performed it previously without instrumentation, which is something that he had wanted to do for some time. Other songs, such as the George Butterworth pieces, were songs that Struve discovered during his time in graduate school but never had the opportunity to sing.
Although faculty recitals are not required to follow the same specification as student recitals, Struve made an effort to periodically follow these rules as an example for students. For this particular recital, he followed the language requirement by performing songs in four different languages: German, English, Italian, and French. Struve feels that faculty recitals are important for both the faculty to continue their professional resume and for students to experience and use in their growth as musicians.
“I think it is important for students to see their professors being active performers,” Struve said. “It is sort of an expectation of your job to be teaching and doing this professional work, so you show students that you are able to do what you are asking them to do. Sometimes I will choose repertoire that I am assigning to my students all of the time so that they can hear somebody who has graduate degrees in voice singing those works.”
This recital served as an example for student instrumentalists. There was a great deal of instrumental talent showcased in the recital from seven professors collaborating with Struve. Music major and audience member Brenna Sherman (‘19) enjoyed seeing a performance that members of the music faculty worked together to create.
“The collaboration of the other music professors to enhance Professor Struve’s recital was phenomenal,” Sherman said. “They all showed the musical qualities that they want their students to emulate.”
The way in which this music was presented was a source of enjoyment for those in attendance, according to audience member Anna Krenshaw. She appreciated the rehearsal Struve put into this recital and noted how he showed familiarity with the meanings of each song.
“I just loved his expressions,” Krenshaw said. “In [‘La Serenata’], I was so excited for his facial expressions and I was not disappointed.”
According to Struve, an important step of learning any piece is researching the composer and the relevant history of the composition because it helps decipher what the composer is trying to communicate through a specific piece. The next recital for the faculty artist series will be Igor Kalnin’s violin performance in the Noble Recital Hall on March 5. p.m.