Faculty Artist Series: Impassioned stories and musical collaboration

Associate+Professor+of+Music+Beth+Ray+Westlund+%28%E2%80%9889%29+performs+in+the+Faculty+Artist+Series%2C+featuring+the+music+of+Henri+Duparc.
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Faculty Artist Series: Impassioned stories and musical collaboration

Associate Professor of Music Beth Ray Westlund (‘89) performs in the Faculty Artist Series, featuring the music of Henri Duparc.

Associate Professor of Music Beth Ray Westlund (‘89) performs in the Faculty Artist Series, featuring the music of Henri Duparc.

Photo courtesy of Digital Media Producer Mick Layden (‘04)

Associate Professor of Music Beth Ray Westlund (‘89) performs in the Faculty Artist Series, featuring the music of Henri Duparc.

Photo courtesy of Digital Media Producer Mick Layden (‘04)

Photo courtesy of Digital Media Producer Mick Layden (‘04)

Associate Professor of Music Beth Ray Westlund (‘89) performs in the Faculty Artist Series, featuring the music of Henri Duparc.

Olivia Schmidt, Staff Writer

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The songs of French composer Henri Duparc served as the connecting theme for the second recital in the Faculty Artist Series, which took place on Sept. 13 in the Noble Recital Hall.

A total of 17 pieces were performed. They are the only surviving art songs from Duparc, a French composer who lived and wrote music during the late Romantic period. Each song features texts written by various famous poets. All songs were performed in their original French, but English translations preceding the French renditions.

The Faculty Artist Series gives members of the Luther music faculty the opportunity to continue their growth as performers. The singers in this recital included Professor of Music Edwin Andereck, Adjunct Faculty in Music Kat Beane Hanson, Instructor in Music Carla Hanson, Assistant Professor in Music Deborah Gover, Alumni Guest Lecturer in Music Evan Mitchell (‘14), Adjunct Faculty in Music Gary Moss, Alumni Guest Lecturer in Music Rachel Storlie (‘00), Adjunct Faculty in Music Jonathon Struve (‘02), Associate Professor of Music Beth Ray Westlund (‘89), and Associate Professor of Music Andrew Whitfield. Assistant Professor of Music Nicholas Shaneyfelt was the collaborative pianist for each singer.

Photo courtesy of Digital Media Producer Mick Layden (‘04)
Instructor in Music Carla Hanson sang two contrasting pieces in the recital.

Westlund performed the opening piece, an emotional tribute to a lover with text by Jean Lahor. Westlund also performed the eighth song in the set, “Extase,” which was inspired by a different subject matter. This song detailed an ecstatic sexual encounter and the afterglow that follows, which she delivered in a rich and full manner.

Duparc’s collection is notable for the variety of topics explored. For example, “La Vague et la cloche,” performed by Struve, details a nightmare of a man on a stormy sea, and suddenly transitions to a tower, where the man is clinging desperately to a swinging bell. The narrative further dissolves into an existential crisis. Struve enjoyed this piece because of the way Duparc composed it to tell the story through the accompaniment.

“It has a lot of opportunity for variation in the drama,” Struve said. “It’s pretty intense. Also, in the accompaniment, Duparc is showing the crashing of the waves in the first part, and the ringing bells.”

Photo courtesy of Digital Media Producer Mick Layden (‘04)
Adjunct Faculty in Music Gary Moss sang about lost love.

The recital may not have even featured Duparc, if not for the efforts of one woman in the music department.

“This was all Gover’s idea,” Carla Hanson said. “She talked about this last year with all of us, and wondered if we would be interested in doing it. We don’t all get to sing together very frequently.”

Carla Hanson performed two selections; the first described a desperate attempt to convince a lover to return, and the second was a lamentation on the death of a beloved mother. Gover performed an ethereal-styled piece entitled “L’Invitation au voyage.” The song describes a longing for a beautiful city of contentment and pleasure, a far cry from Moss’s songs, both of which dealt with lost love and an embittered spirit.

Photo courtesy of Digital Media Producer Mick Layden (‘04)
Assistant Professor of Music Nicholas Shaneyfelt was the collaborative pianist in the Faculty Artist Recital.

Moss enjoyed participating in this recital because it gave him an opportunity to collaborate with his colleagues.

“I really do appreciate that the voice faculty at Luther are able, willing, and a joy to work with when they come together like this,” Moss said. “There is no animosity or competition. Having a chance to share, not only art, but [also] an example of the singing style with the students that we’re teaching, so that they can see that hopefully we practice what we preach.”

Attendee Andrea Blocker (‘21) affirmed Moss’s hopes to teach students in attendance.

“I like that we get to watch and learn from them,” Walker said.

Attendee Kristen Flathers (‘22) was impressed with the skill level of the music faculty that performed in this recital.

“It was jaw-dropping amazing,” Flathers said.

The next installment in the Faculty Artist Series will be Gover’s voice recital on Wednesday, Sept. 26.

Photo courtesy of Digital Media Producer Mick Layden (‘04)
Adjunct Faculty in Music Jonathon Struve (‘02) sings “La Vague et la cloche” in the Faculty Artist Recital.

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