Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Spanish Combination: Guitarist Nicholas Lambson and Soprano Elisabeth Harrington

Think of music from Spain, and you hear the timbres of guitar and voice. So music from Spain, from fiery Flamenco to introspective melodies, will dominate the collaboration of HSU Music Department colleagues, guitarist Nicholas Lambson and soprano Elisabeth Harrington, in concert at Fulkerson Recital Hall on Saturday, April 25.

Music from Cuba, Vienna, the U.S. and England are also represented, beginning with Lambson’s solo set and the Estudios Sencillos (Simple Studies) of Cuban guitarist/composer Leo Brouwer. Of the 20 etudes in this popular work, Lambson has “chosen five of the more difficult and interesting.” He also plays selections from “Bardic Sounds” by 19th century Romantic composer Johann Kaspar Mertz of Vienna, which “range in style from an almost operatic melodiousness to virtuosic fireworks,” Lambson said.

The featured solo guitar work is by classical Spanish composer Fernando Sor. “I will be performing his massive mature masterwork, the "Fantaisie Elegiaque," which oddly isn't performed or recorded very often,” Lambson said. “This is a substantial work on the death of a close friend of his, and is also a personal work for me.”

Elisabeth Harrington joins Lambson in the second half of the evening. They perform three songs about unrequited love by English early music composer John Dowland, and selections from “Letters from Composers” by 20th century American composer Dominick Argento, featuring personal notes from J. S. Bach, Robert Schumann, Giacomo Puccini, Frederic Chopin and others. “These songs are particularly clever, as the music reflects the tone of each letter, whether loving, mocking, complaining and so on,” Harrington noted.
They return to Spain with three songs by 20th century composer Joaquin Rodrigo. Harrington characterizes them as “wonderful pieces with ample melodic and harmonic variation to hold the listener's interest… They definitely sound Spanish!”

They also combine for five folks songs by famous 20th century Spanish poet and composer Federico Garcia Lorca, which Harrington notes are “accessible, full of Spanish idioms.”

This collaboration is unusual for both artists. ‘I feel very fortunate to work with Elisabeth,” Lambson said. “I am primarily a soloist, so it is always nice to work with other musicians and I am particularly excited about our repertoire selection.”

“It is a rare treat for me to perform with a guitarist-- only the third time in my whole career,” Harrington said. “I am enjoying learning more about the instrument and how to adjust my vocal intensity and color to balance with Nick's sound.”

This Faculty Artists Series concert by guitarist Nicholas Lambson and soprano Elisabeth Harrington begins at 8 p.m. on Saturday, April 25 in Fulkerson Recital Hall on the HSU campus. Tickets are $8 general, $3 students/seniors from the HSU Box Office (826-3928) or at the door.

Media: Humboldt State Now

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