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Classical 101

Katherine Rhorer And OSU Introduce Louis Aubert

Louis Aubert is a composer new to me. He's a Frenchman who lived from 1877-1968. He was a boy-soprano star, introducing Faure's Pie Jesu. Puberty wrecked his vocal career, but Aubert switched to piano and gave the first performance of Ravel's Vales nobles et sentimentales in 1911. Music was easy for Aubert. You know the old saying "It takes like chicken". It's easy to decide that a French composer contemporary with Debussy and Stravinsky would copy those composers in style in not substance. That's what I thought when I first looked at the score to Aubert's collection of songs, Six poemes arabes.  The Six Arab poems are by another Frenchman, Franz Tuisssant. When Faure and Debussy were instilling eroticism in their music by way of long lines and chromaticism, Aubert used quick contrasts in volume and a wide range for the voice to heat us up but good. I'd never heard of Aubert of his Six poemes arabes until I heard a performance by mezzo-soprano Katherine Rhorer and pianist James Jenkins. Katherine is on the voice faculty of The Ohio State University School of Music. She has long championed these melodies and has found Aubert's orchestrations, not previously known. This is L'adieu, The Farewell the fifth of the poemes arabes. "All the life of my body is stopped..." I find the musical textures dark, sometimes violent and passionate. The piano spends a lot of time on the left side of the keyboard. I heard chords that approach tone clusters, but Aubert never takes the easy way out to dissonance. I'm delighted to present Katherine Rhorer's and James Jenkins performance of  Six poemes arabes on Concerts at Ohio State Sunday March 1, at 1 PM on Classical 101The above recording was recorded at Ohio State on September 23, 2013. The broadcast will bring this music and these artists to the wider public they deserve. Lucky us!  

Christopher Purdy is Classical 101's early morning host, 7-10 a.m. weekdays. He is host and producer of Front Row Center – Classical 101’s weekly celebration of Opera and more – as well as Music in Mid-Ohio, Concerts at Ohio State, and the Columbus Symphony broadcast series. He is the regular pre-concert speaker for Columbus Symphony performances in the Ohio Theater.