Hanrahan, Blom present 'New Art Song of the Pacific Rim'
calendar icon16 Jan 2019 user iconBy Kathe C. Andersen
Lincoln, Neb.--Glenn Korff School of Music Associate Professor of Voice and Vocal Pedagogy Kevin Hanrahan, tenor, and guest artist Diana Blom, composer and pianist, will present a recital titled “New Art Song of the Pacific Rim” on Sunday, Feb. 3 at 3 p.m. in Kimball Recital Hall.
The concert is free and open to the public. It will also be live webcast. Visit http://music.unl.edu on the day of the performance for the link.
They will be joined by Associate Professor of Voice Jamie Reimer, soprano, and baritone Patrick McNally, a graduate student in the Glenn Korff School of Music.
The concert will feature selections from Hanrahan and Blom’s CD, also titled “New Art Song of the Pacific Rim,” featuring songs for tenor and piano, which is scheduled for release in late January through Wirripang Pty. Ltd. It will be available on the Naxos Music Library, as well as Amazon and other music retailers.
The CD includes songs from composers in five countries around the Pacific Rim, including American composer Gwyneth Walker; Australian composers Blom and Alex Turley; New Zealand composers Anthony Ritchie, Chris Adams and Clare Maclean; Colombian-based composer Moisès Bertran Ventejo; and Japan’s Közaburo Hirai and Hattori Tadashi.
“It’s an interesting collection of a variety of styles and themes that try to capture the essence of vocal music composition from those respective countries around the Pacific Rim,” Hanrahan said. “It’s very calm. It’s very pleasant. I think how the pieces are ordered makes a nice flow.”
According to the liner notes on the CD, the art songs explore settings of poetry and letters written over several centuries. Walker set letters by John Muir, a 19th century American naturalist and advocate for the preservation of U.S. wilderness letters in “Songs from the High Sierra.” Blom set poems of 19th and 20th century writers Hartley Burr Alexander, Mary Elizabeth Frye, Henry David Thoreau and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in “Portrait of America.” Ventejo set three poems of Josep Janés, a Catalan poet of the 20th century. Ritchie, Adams and Maclean set poems of New Zealand poets James K. Baxter, Sam Hunt, Brian Turner and Gillis Maclean from across the 20th century and early 21st century. Turley set texts from the 8th century by Tang dynasty Chinese poet Du Fu and from the 21st century by West Australian poet Caroline McAllister. The three Japanese art songs are settings of poems by Kitahara Hakushū, Kitami Shihoko and Ōki Atsuo, all written in the first half of the 20th century.
The recital on Feb. 3 will feature about half the songs from the CD.
“We’re going to do the greatest hits, if you will, from that CD,” Hanrahan said. “The other half of the recital will be these dance songs that Blom wrote for baritone that will have their U.S. premiere. And then a song set she wrote titled ‘Southern Songs’ that was written for Jamie Reimer, and that will be the world premiere of those. And then we’re going to do a second performance at UNL of the revised Canterbury Tales for tenor, soprano and baritone.”
Hanrahan and Blom first met in 2006 and have been collaborating on various projects since 2009.
“We see each other maybe about every 12 to 18 months,” Hanrahan said. “We just like each other as individuals. She likes my voice, is eager to write for me, and I love her music.”
They have performed in Australia (2011 and 2013), as well as Nebraska and Brazil (2013 and 2016). They have also co-presented at various International Society for Music Education (ISME) and International Symposium for Performance Science (ISPS) conferences. Hanrahan also performed and recorded her songs on the album, “Songs of Diana Blom” for Wirripang, which is also available on the Naxos Music Library.
Last May, Hanrahan and Blom performed the songs from the newest CD in Sydney and Perth, Australia, and Dunedin, New Zealand, for which Hanrahan received a Hixson-Lied Faculty Presentation Grant. They also recorded the CD during this time.
“What I like about her music is, for example, on the CD, out of all the pieces, hers are the most unique,” Hanrahan said. “Hers have distinct characters and flavors to them. I like that. I also like that in her pieces, the vocal line and the accompaniment are truly independent. The accompaniments are fine by themselves, and the vocal lines are fine by themselves, but the way in which they work together make for a splendid result. I find it interesting how she puts things together. We don’t always agree creatively, but we manage through it, and in the end, we’ve got something special.”
Blom, a composer and pianist, is associate professor of music at Western Sydney University in Australia. She has written several works for voice, often setting texts by Australian and New Zealand writers.
Hanrahan encourages people to attend the concert on Feb. 3.
“We really did pick the most beautiful pieces,” he said. “I think it will be fun. Diana’s music is very accessible, and it’s definitely contemporary. It’s a relaxed evening.’