On Friday, November 30, the Performing Artists Series presented a concert featuring Franz Schubert’s song cycle Winterreise by Ruth Marshall Magill Professor of Music Curt Cacioppo and Montreal-based baritone Alex Dobson. The famed 24-song cycle, written as Schubert succumbed to terminal illness, is about the titular “winter journey” of a spurned lover who wanders into the snow and moves from feelings of rejection and betrayal to paranoia, numbness and longing for death. The performance, which was preceded by a talk by musician, conductor and teacher Karl Middleman, also happened to be the first chance for the public to hear the College’s Bösendorfer Imperial concert grand piano after more than a year of restoration by the Cunningham Piano Company of Philadelphia.
The performance was just one part of a multi-pronged, interdisciplinary study of Schubert’s song cycle by 60 students and five professors across departments. Cacioppo taught Winterreise in his “Advanced Tonal Harmony” class, but other non-music-related faculty also got involved. With support from the John B. Hurford ’60 Center for the Arts and Humanities, Cacioppo engaged Associate Professor of Fine Arts Markus Baenziger and his sculpture class, Associate Professor of Fine Arts Hee Sook Kim and her silkscreening students, Assistant Professor of German Imke Brust and her “Elementary German” students and Associate Professor of German Ulrich Schönherr and his “Intermedial Transformations” class in over the three months of collaboration. The fine arts students used Winterreise as inspiration for their own work, and the German students created documentary films on the composers’ and artists’ creative activities and used the songs’ lyrics as a source for grammar and vocabulary study.
A show, Winterreise and Beyond, was mounted in Founders Common Room in the week leading up to the performance and featured the related artworks.
Click the images below for a more detailed view of some of the individual pieces.
Photos by Thom Carroll