Tenor, pianist perform
songs of amity
Posted October 28, 2005
Emmah Obradovich
Performing selections from Robert Schumann, Samuel Barber and Charles Ives, tenor Charles Kamm and accompanist Gayle Blankenburg, performed in Founders Auditorium together for the first time Oct 20. A candidate for a doctor of musical arts degree at Yale, Kamm currently teaches at Scripps College. Blankenburg holds a master’s degree in piano performance from Indiana University and currently teaches piano at the Claremont Colleges. The performers opened the recital with 12 short songs by Schumann.

Tenor Charles Kamm and pianist Gayle Blankenburg were the guests at a recital hosted by the department of music at the University of La Verne on Oct. 20.

About 40 students, faculty members and other guests attended the recital held in Founders Auditorium.

Curiosity and an interest in music seemed to be the reasoning for those in attendance.

“I’m in the Honors Colloquium and this is an event we had to come to,” said Knewenle Stanley, a sophomore psychology major.

“It sounded interesting and I love music, so I decided to come.”
Kamm and Blankenburg performed short songs by Robert Schumann, Samuel Barber and Charles Ives for a little over one hour.

The audience was silenced as Kamm and Blankenburg took the stage and opened the recital with Liederkreis, Op. 39 by Schumann. These 12 short songs are all written in German.

Kamm explained that the songs are various poems written by the German Romantic composer Schumann.

The poetry was written after he was allowed to marry his love Clara. Soon after the marriage was allowed, Schumann wrote four sets of songs which Kamm said express the joy of this marriage, the wonder that Schumann had for his wife and various aspects of human emotion.

“Three or four of the songs are the most beautiful Schumann songs,” Kamm said. “For singers this set and others are at the top of what singers hope to perform.”

Song choices for the recital were jointly made by Kamm and Blankenburg. The songs had personal connections to the performers.

“I had a similar situation,” Blankenburg said of the Schumann songs. “For people to perform well you have to make a connection. That is the only way you can communicate something.”

The recital also included Hermit Songs, Op. 29 by Samuel Barber. Hermit Songs are poetry written by monks from the eighth to the 13th centuries that were not necessarily meant to be seen, Kamm said.

Small poems and thoughts about being close to nature, animals, God and the simple lives that these monks led are the themes of these songs.

The recital closed with the performance of three songs by Charles Ives.

Kamm explained that Ives’ music is grounded in marching bands and expressed contrasting emotions.

“At the River” is a hymn tune, “Slow March: Inscribed to the Children’s Faithful Friend” is a march song that was written after the death of a family pet and “Memories: A. – Very Pleasant; B. – Rather Sad” express contrasting emotions.

To the audience’s surprise, Kamm and Blankenburg performed another Ives song not included on the program, “The Greatest Man.”

Kamm has performed recitals and oratorio throughout the United States as well as in Austria, England, Sweden and Finland.

He is currently assistant professor of music at Scripps College. At Scripps, he conducts the Claremont Concert Choir and the Claremont Chamber Choir. He also teaches music history.

Kamm received his bachelor’s of arts degree from Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana, master of music from Michigan State University and master of musical arts from Yale University.

He has also studied in Vienna, Austria. Kamm is a candidate for the doctor of musical arts degree at Yale University.

Blankenburg is currently on the piano faculties of the Claremont Colleges where she teaches at Scripps College, the Claremont Graduate University and Pomona College. She has performed as a solo pianist, chamber musician and vocal accompanist in a variety of concerts and events.

Blankenburg was a student of distinguished pianists Menahem Pressler of the Beaux Arts Trio and Abbey Simon at Indiana University.

She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in piano performance and was awarded the performer’s certificate at Indiana University.

Marilee Lorusso can be reached at mlorusso@ulv.edu.

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