2018-03-08 / Entertainment

Poetry in Music with Scrag Mountain Music

Mary BonhagMary BonhagMontpelier and Warren—Scrag Mountain Music presents Vermont’s own Mary Bonhag, soprano in recital with pianist Jeffrey Chappell on Friday March 23, 7:30pm at Bethany Church in Montpelier and Sunday March 25, 4pm at the Warren United Church in Warren.  The program highlights many of Bonhag’s favorite art song composers and poets.
Mary Bonhag, who is also co-artistic director of Scrag Mountain Music, made her major orchestral debut with the American Symphony in 2009, and her Carnegie Hall debut in the same year.  She is recognized for her colorful expressive soprano voice and insightful musicianship spanning a wide range of repertoire.  But it is in the intimacy of an art song recital, only voice and piano, that her artistry can be best revealed.  Known well to Vermont audiences, Bonhag has performed with a variety of organizations and concert series including: TURNmusic, Burlington Choral Society, Oriana Singers, Onion River Chorus, Capital City Concerts, Rochester Chamber Music Society, Heliand Consort, and Yellow Barn, and starred in the 2015 production of Erik Nielsen’s opera A Fleeting Animal.  
Vermont audiences know Jeffrey Chappell from his past concerts with the Capital City Concerts series, where he has wowed at concert after concert with his passion, musical commitment, and feats of virtuosity.
The program moves through a variety of times periods and moods, centering on American composer Samuel Barber’s masterful Hermit Songs written in 1953 for the great soprano Leontyne Price.  The texts are translations of anonymous short poems and observations of monks during the Medieval period, written mostly on the margins of illuminated manuscripts.  The songs reveal humor, desire, and reverence their daily and holy lives.  Claude Debussy’s Fêtes Galantes carry us through the romantic and tempestuous poetry of Paul Verlaine, and Bonhag and Chappell will also share selections from Hugo Wolf’s Goethelieder.  Carrying us into the later American 20th century will be Two Poems by Agueda Pizarro by Joseph Schwantner, an arresting and tender work, and William Bolcom’s Minicabs.  Minicabs are shorter versions of Bolcom’s entertaining and witty cabaret songs, often winking one-liners, with texts by Bolcom’s longtime collaborator Arnold Weinstein.  Also joining Bonhag and Chappell will be flutist Karen Kevra (Capital City Concerts) for the Bach aria, Aus Liebe will mein Heliand sterben from St. Matthew Passion.
All Scrag Mountain Music concerts are presented as “Come as you are.  Pay what you can.”  All are welcome no matter what their former experience with classical music or what they can afford for admission.  Families with children of all ages are welcome.

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