The Lawrence conservatory will be featuring the music of this year’s artist in residence, Lucie Robert-Deissel, on Wednesday, May 21 at 8:30 p.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel. Faculty and students will be performing four works by the composer ranging from small chamber and piano pieces to larger orchestral and choral works. Steven Jordheim, Lawrence professor of saxophone, collaborator and soloist for this event described it as one that aims to “include as many different factions of the conservatory as possible” and “represent the total picture of her [Robert-Deissel] compositions.”The first piece, entitled Tantum Ergo will feature a large ensemble consisting of voice, two organs, brass, and percussion. Tantum Ergo was originally commissioned for a cathedral ceremony in France and due to the unlikely nature of having multiple organs in a single recital hall this piece has been rarely performed since its premier.
The performance will follow with Dialogue V performed by the Lawrence Brass Quintet. Jordheim relates “I know her saxophone quartet music very well, and it’s wonderful…this [Dialogue V] struck me as being very similar in style”.
The professional piano duo and Lawrence faculty members Anthony and Sooyeon Kwon Padilla will perform Suite, pour 4 mains (Suite, for 4 hands). The piece involves both performers at a single piano, and according to Jordheim, married couples, such as the Padillias, may only be able to perform this duet that involves both highly interactive physical and musical settings.
The concert will conclude with the world premier of Dialogue Symphonique. This saxophone concerto will feature Jordheim and a small orchestra. Broken down, this ensemble consists of standard woodwind and string quartets with the addition of double bass, piano, timpani, and solo saxophone. In addition to featuring the saxophone, Dialogue Symphonique features many soloistic sections between the other members of the ensemble. Through small cadenza-like sections instrumentalists engage in “dialogues” that in turn create a uniquely interactive mood for the concerto. Jordheim relates that he looks forward to the composer, conductor, the soloist and orchestra “hearing the concerto for the very first time.”
In addition to bringing unique music to Lawrence, this performance and artist in residency is particularly special for Jordheim and many of his students. Jordheim first became familiar with Robert-Deissel’s music his senior year of college after performing Magheia for saxophone quartet and piano. He has since maintained a musical relationship and personal friendship with the composer for 25 years. Throughout this long relationship Jordheim and his students have had the opportunity to perform and study with Robert-Deissel in France and they will now have that chance here in Appleton. Steven Jordheim related, “To have known someone through her music for more than half of my life, and then to discover that this person is also incredibly giving of her time and her talents, not only as a composer but as a teacher, was really remarkable…I’m not sure I’ve known anyone quite like that.”