Poe receives classical song treatment

Free concert Sunday at Washington County Museum of Fine Arts

Free concert Sunday at Washington County Museum of Fine Arts

January 11, 2007|by JULIE E. GREENE

H.L. Mencken, the "Sage of Baltimore," is mostly known as a famous journalist and satirist of the 20th century.

Mencken also was a music critic and amateur pianist, playing with his group, the Saturday Night Club.

He once said, "There are, indeed, only two kinds of music: German music and bad music."

Some of the German composers Mencken liked, including Franz Schubert and Robert Schumann, will be featured in a free concert Sunday afternoon at Washington County Museum of Fine Arts.

The first half of the Hamilton Memorial Recital will focus on Mencken and the composers he liked. The second half will feature Maryland poets and more contemporary composers.

Soprano Karen Lubeck, who lives in New York, designed the program for this recital.

While Mencken wasn't a big fan of vocal music, Lubeck didn't let that deter her.

She will sing classical art song, a genre in which music is generally composed as a collaboration between composer and poet or created with the influence of a poem. Lubeck also sings opera, chamber music and solos with orchestras.


The second half of the concert features "Three Poe Miniatures," a piece composed by Rupert Thompson and set to the words of three Edgar Allan Poe poems.

Thompson, who was born in Annapolis, Md., composed the song for Lubeck and pianist Jean Schneider to perform last summer at Apple Hill Center for Chamber Music in New Hampshire.

Schneider, who also lives in New York, will join Lubeck in Sunday's concert.

Schneider, who has performed with Lubeck a few times, says Lubeck's programming idea for this concert was ingenious, with different facets such as German and contemporary composers all tied to Maryland.

The Hamilton Memorial Recital was established in honor of Mavin J. Hamilton, the daughter-in-law of Maryland Gov. William T. Hamilton and board president for the museum from its founding in 1931 until 1967, says Christine Shives, administrative assistant with the museum. A memorial fund pays for the annual concert.

If you go ...

WHAT: Hamilton Memorial Recital featuring soprano Karen Lubeck and pianist Jean Schneider

WHEN: 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 14

WHERE: Bowman Concert Gallery in Washington County Museumof Fine Arts, City Park, Hagerstown

COST: Free

MORE: A reception - an opportunity to meet the musicians - will follow the performance. Light refreshments will be available. For more information, go to

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