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The Echo
Taylor University, Upland, IN
Monday, June 24, 2024
The Echo
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Winter comes early to Taylor University’s campus

Conor Angell to perform ‘Winterreise’ at faculty recital

Winter is coming to Taylor’s campus.

On Sept. 7, Associate Professor of Music Conor Angell will perform "Winterreise" by Franz Schubert.  

The song cycle “Winterreise” was written in 1827. It was inspired by Wilhelm Muller’s set of 20 poems, which takes the audience on a romantic journey through desolate winter in search for self-knowledge.  

“It is not in any way a happy work; I have never performed something this dark,” Angell said. “But I think there can be value in engaging repertoire that explores human experiences including depression, alienation and brokenness.”

“Winterreise” is an emotional undertaking of a piece which was written during the final stages of Schubert’s terminal illness. The piece is widely known as the world’s most famous and challenging song cycle.  

Though the original piece was written for a tenor, it is commonly transposed for baritone, which Angell and many of his students sing in, including senior musical theater major Brandt Maina.

“I think we have a really strong faculty in the music department, and when they put on these faculty recitals, you really get to marvel in that,” Maina said. 

The faculty recitals are an essential part of the art department, as professors get to express their creative side and be a performer as well.  

Angell hopes through demonstrating a professional performance he can also help students to produce their own art. Later this year, students like Maina will prepare and perform their own recitals, and faculty recitals like these are a great example to students. 

Senior John Broda, musical theater major, said that intent behind Faculty Recitals is two-fold: they are a demonstration of the level of work an artist can produce and a way for professors to choose what they are studying. 

“It is a joy for them to be able to study these things and share them,” said Broda.

The faculty recitals are a unique opportunity to hear professional musicians perform world renowned pieces at no cost. 

Angell and his accompanist Margaret Hammond both have found the undertaking artistically rewarding. In preparation for this piece, Angell listened to many different performers from across the globe and analyzed their different approaches and interpretations of the piece. 

The journey of the song cycle as a whole features a wandering soul fantasizing about death but ultimately rejecting it. The purpose is found through the persistence the wanderer has towards pursuing life despite all of the pain he has endured.

“I have not tried to model my performance after one particular singer, instead trying to find the approach that rings true in my unique instrument,” Angell said.

The recital will be held tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. at the Butz Carruth Recital Hall, and admission is free.