Fruehwald to Perform First Faculty Recital of 2011-2012 Season

by News Bureau on Thursday, Aug. 18, 2011

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Aug. 18, 2011 – Robert Fruehwald, professor of music, will perform the first of Southeast Missouri State University’s Guest Artist and Faculty Recitals series for the 2011-2012 River Campus season at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 1 in the Robert F. and Gertrude L. Shuck Music Recital Hall.

He will begin his performance with “Lake Music,” written by Robert Wykes, on the bass flute. “Lake Music” is a set of small pieces inspired by a nostalgic visit in 2003 to a Canadian lake where Wykes spent countless happy times at his parents’ summer home. The words and melodies reflect the nostalgia he felt on his return trip, a yearning for the quiet and peace of bygone days and for his magical carefree moments of childhood spent beside this beautiful lake.

Fruehwald will also perform “My Lagan Love” from “Three Fantasies,” written by himself, on the bass flute. Fruehwald’s wife, who plays the harp, became interested in Irish music because it helps her students learn to play more naturally and freely, Fruehwald said. He said he inadvertently became familiar with Irish melodies and came to love them. He wanted to perform this composition on the bass flute instead of the traditional flute, because the bass flute can produce a variety of timbres much like those associated with traditional Irish flute playing, he said.

Fruehwald will give a premiere performance of his composition, “Hymntunes IX: Foster” from “Missouri Harmony.” He will play the piano and will be accompanied by Paul Thompson on the alto flute. In the 19th century, churches in individual states created and published their own unique hymnals, which contain many beautiful, little known hymn tunes such as “Foster” from “Missouri Harmony.” The melody rises in a kind of musical scale before back falling down again, suggesting to Fruehwald a musical texture, and he followed it with a fugue, he said. Because all the repeated scales in the earlier section employed techniques borrowed from minimalism, he used minimalist techniques in the fugue as well.

The premiere performance of “Sonata O’Carolan,” written by Fruehwald, will be played on the piccolo with Matt Yount on the piano. Mel Powell was Fruehwald’s mentor and teacher for two years while studying at the California Institute of the Arts. On the night Powell died, Fruehwald was in the wine cellar of the University president’s house playing background music for a “Medieval Dinner.” At the time, he was composing a sonata based on Irish folk songs and needed a slow air for the middle movement. Fruehwald asked if anyone in the cellar had any suggestions, and the immediate response was “The Separation of the Soul from the Body” by Turlough O’Carolan. It seemed fitting that Fruehwald dedicate the piece to Powell’s memory.

Fruehwald will end the evening with the performance, “Les Chansons de Bilitis,” written by Claude Debussy, on the flute, with Alice Strange reciting, Paul Thompson on the flute, Sue Taylor and Chadie Fruehwald on harps, and Sara Hoffmeister on the celesta. This composition is associated with one of the great artistic scandals of the early 20th century. In 1894 Pierre Louys published a collection of love poetry entitled, “Les Chansons de Bilitis,” which he claimed were translations of the work of an ancient Greek poet who lived on the island of Cyprus. The poetry was very personal and described the poet’s thoughts and feelings from childhood through old age. The poems caused a sensation and were later incorporated into musical works by Louys’ friend, Claude Debussy. Although “Les Chansons de Bilitis” was eventually exposed as an elaborate hoax written by Louys himself, the texts continue to have a devoted following, Fruehwald said.

Fruehwald, composer and teacher, has taught numerous subjects at Southeast, including applied composition, music theory, applied flute, electronic-computer music and the history of modernism. His compositions include works for large ensemble, chamber music and works for flute. In 1997, he was named “Composer of the Year” by the Missouri Music Teachers Association, and he received the College of Liberal Arts Award for Creative Activity in 1994.

Tickets are on Sale Now

Tickets may be purchased by contacting the River Campus Box Office, located in the Cultural Arts Center, 518 S. Fountain St., weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., or by calling (573) 651-2265. Tickets also may be purchased at all MetroTix outlets, online at MetroTix.com using the keyword “Fruehwald,” or by calling toll-free (800) 293-5949.