January 24, 2011 8:03:00 AM
Two celebrated French composers will be the focus of a Tuesday recital and lecture at Mississippi State University.
Featuring compositions of Gabriel Faure and Francis Poulenc, the free 7:30 p.m. performance in the Giles Hall auditorium will include piano selections and songs, as well as observations about the composers and their compositions.
Tenor Guy Hargrove Jr. of Starkville, a retired MSU music professor, will be featured, accompanied by pianist and music instructor Karen Murphy. Musicologist James Sobaski, an assistant professor of music theory, also will provide commentary. The program will include English print translations of the songs'' texts.
Recognized as one of the leading composers of his day, Faure (1845-1924) was a master of the art song. An organist and teacher, he also was known for piano nocturnes and the highly regarded large work "Requiem."
Sobaski, a Faure authority, currently is writing a book about the composer''s creative style. He holds bachelor''s and master''s degrees from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, and a doctorate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Poulenc (1899-1963) was regarded as the "great successor" to Faure and another famous French composer, Claude Debussy, said Hargrove, who will comment on Poulenc works as he performs.
In 1962, Hargrove received a Fulbright grant to study with Poulenc in Paris. Following the composer''s death the following year, he then worked with baritone Pierre Bernac, a Poulenc friend who had performed much of his music.
"My Year with Pierre Bernac," an essay the veteran MSU educator wrote of his experience, is to be published in the Journal of Singing.
Hargrove holds a master''s degree in voice from the Ecole Normale de Musique, as well as bachelor''s and master''s degrees from the New England Conservatory of Music, and a doctorate in performance and literature from the University of Iowa. He has been featured in concerts throughout the United States and Europe.
Murphy, a collaborative pianist in the MSU music department, is a doctoral graduate of the University of Minnesota. She has performed with singers, instrumentalists, and choirs throughout the United States and in Canada, Spain and France.
For more information about the recital, contact Hargrove at 662-323-6941.