Poe-Ism concert celebrates 200th anniversary of Edgar Allan Poe with commissioned world premier song-cycle
A concert of music inspired by the works of American writer Edgar Allan Poe will be performed Saturday, Nov. 14 at 8 p.m. in the Squires Recital Salon on the campus of Virginia Tech. The concert is a part of the University Chamber Music Series by the Department of Music.
To celebrate the bicentennial of the American writer Edgar Allan Poe, Virginia Tech pianist Tracy Cowden commissioned the set of songs from award-winning composer Gregory J. Hutter of DePaul University. Cowden will be joined by Renaissance Music Academy faculty members soprano Ariana Wyatt and cellist Benjamin Wyatt. The concert will also feature Patricia Raun, director of Virginia Tech's School of Performing Arts and Cinema.
The centerpiece of the program is the world premiere of "Spirits of the Dead for Soprano, Cello and Piano" by Gregory J. Hutter. "I confess I knew very little of the poetry of Edgar Allan Poe prior to beginning this project, notwithstanding some of the more famous works such as "Annabel Lee," "The Raven" and "The Bells," states Hutter. "After reading the collected works, I narrowed the field down to a number of poems that I thought would lend themselves well to musical settings. While the subject matter and settings vary between the poems, the reflective and melancholy tone of the text weaves one cohesive mood that is attributed to Poe’s well-known style."
The music spans more than 100 years and includes a wide range of compositional styles - from late Romanticism to the modernism of George Crumb. Although the poetry is not as full of danger or terror as the short stories, they do possess a melancholy feel, and the themes familiar to Poe readers are all evident in the music chosen for this concert: death, loneliness, love lost. However, the lyrical nature of the poems comes through in all of the music.
Tickets are $15 general / $10 senior / $5 student and are available at the University Unions and Student Activities Box Office in Squires Student Center. To order tickets, call (540) 231-5615 or visit the box office online.
Free parking is available after 5 p.m. in the Squires Lot, located at the corner of College Avenue and Otey Street, or the Shultz Hall Lot, located off Alumni Drive near the North Main Street campus entrance. Find more parking information online or call (540) 231-3200.