Press Release: Liszt Concert (with Harmonium)
NOTE: The Harmonium/Liszt/Artis Wodehouse concert was slated for March 22, 2007 and has been rescheduled to Thursday, May 10th, 2007 at 8 pm in the Recital Hall of Cali School of Music at Montclair State University, One Normal Avenue, Montclair, New Jersey. Admission will be free.
Some of Franz Liszt's most experimental late music will be given a unique presentation by keyboardist, Artis Wodehouse, and singers from the Unitarian Church of Montclair on Thursday, March 22nd, at 8 p.m. in the Recital Hall of Cali School of Music at Montclair State University, One Normal Avenue, Montclair, New Jersey. The American Liszt Society sponsors the concert. Admission is free.
The featured work, Via Crucis, is a sacred choral and keyboard work Liszt composed in his old age, considered so unorthodox while he lived, that no publisher would accept it for publication. Via Crucis is now regarded as one of his masterpieces.
Of special interest will be Wodehouse's use of her newly restored 2-manual 1875 Trayser harmonium. Now considered historic curiosities, harmoniums were commonly used during the 19th century. Several of the great Romantic composers wrote a sizeable repertoire - now mostly forgotten - for this instrument. The harmonium resembles a very small organ. The difference is that instead of pipes, sound is produced by brass reeds positioned over a bellows. The performer plays while simultaneously foot-pumping the bellows. This forces air through the reeds so they sound.
Over the course of his lifetime, Liszt owned several harmoniums and composed solo and chamber music for them that is rarely performed. In his later years, Liszt especially turned to the harmonium, perhaps because it suited the intimate, meditative and experimental nature of some of the music he wrote during this time.
Wodehouse will also perform several solo works of Liszt to precede the performance of Via Crucis. These include solos for harmonium and piano by Liszt, as well as a work by the living American composer, Eva Wiener. This piece, 'Prelude, Fugue and Variations' is based upon Liszt's late piano solo, entitled, Nuages Gris. Ms. Wiener has scored two of the movements, the Prelude and Fugue, for harmonium. These will be world premiere performances.
Artis Wodehouse is a pianist, organist, choral conductor and musicologist. Best-known for a series of CDs, historic re-issues and transcription folios she produced of American composers, such as Gershwin and Jelly Roll Morton, who made piano rolls, Wodehouse has also researched and written about historic performances of Liszt pupils on record. Her work was published in the 1991 Garland publication, Franz Liszt: A Guide To Research, Ed. by Michael Saffle. She is Director of Music at the Unitarian Church of Montclair. She holds a Bachelor of Music in Piano from the Manhattan School of Music, a Master of Music in Piano from Yale University and a Doctor of Musical Arts in Piano Performance Practice from Stanford University.