University of Hartford "H" Magazine - Winter 2019

University of Hartford

When the University of Hartford was incorporated just over 50 years ago by business and community leaders, they envisioned a center of education and culture for Greater Hartford. Read more...

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Sunday Afternoon at the Opera - Nathan: Some Favored Nook; Welwood: Threads of Blue and Gold

11/19/2023 1:00 pm
11/19/2023 4:30 pm


Sunday Afternoon at the Opera host Keith Brown writes:

Looking forward to the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, the vocal music of American composers is certainly called for. Both the song cycles featured this Sunday are settings of the poetry of New England's great nineteenth-century lyric poet, Emily Dickinson. In the case of Eric Nathan's Some Favored Nook (2017), her verses are augmented by quotes from the correspondence of her contemporary, Thomas Wentworth Higginson: essayist, minister, abolitionist, and military commander in the Civil War. That conflict and the fate of America's Black population casts its shadow over Nathan's composition, and its subject continues to trouble the nation's conscience unto this very day. Eric Nathan (b. 1983) is Composer in Residence with the New England Philharmonic and teaches composition at Brown University, so he's very much a New England-based artist. Some Favored Nook is scored for soprano and bass voices and piano, and comes to us on a brand new New Focus CD release.

A local composer, the late Arthur Welwood (1934-2020), is another one of many, including Aaron Copland, who rendered Dickinson's concisely worded lyrical gems into song. Welwood selected four poems reflecting upon the progression of the months and seasons for his song cycle, Threads of Blue and Gold (2009), scored for a chamber ensemble and soprano voice. The cycle was recorded live at its first performance at Boston's Berklee College of Music, where Welwood taught after moving on from the music department of Central Connecticut State University, New Britain. Threads of Blue and Gold I last broadcast on Sunday, May 30, 2010, making use of a compact disc copy given to me by the composer himself. More vocal music appropriate for the American harvest home will follow.