Julia Brogdon
In Search of a Theme
February 28, 2003

      It was a sweet hour we spent listening to Julia Brogdon sing. She has a gentle, charming way with this music. I especially liked her I Attempt from Love's Sickness to Fly by Henry Purcell.

      An Aaron Copeland set followed with Diane Altizer on piano and Trudie Matthews on flute. Three songs were from his cycle Old American Songs: Simple Gifts, Zion's Walls and the lullaby The Little Horses. Ms. Brogdon's experience as a guitarist informs her delivery of these dressed-up folk tunes. She closed the set with the popular Copeland song Heart, we will forget him from Twelve Poems by Emily Dickinson.

      While the singer had a break we were entertained by Ms. Matthews playing Francis Poulenc's sophisticated and light-hearted Sonata for Flute. Her fleet and precise tone was just right for this French music. Think of the sound of a small, clear stream flowing quickly over small stones, laughing on its way. Then a smooth area, a bit more somber. Then, far too soon it is over.

      The second half was a grab bag of songs. G.F. Handel's Rejoice Greatly, O Daughter of Zion from his Messiah, polyphonic music from the 14th century, an aria from Purcell's Dido and Aeneas, with harpsichord and double bass well-played by high school student Marcus Croft. My Favorite was the a capella Sometimes I feel like a motherless child by Harry T. Burleigh, whose setting emphasizes the lullaby aspect of this song. She closed the recital with Richard Strauss' Beim Schlafengehn from Four Last Songs. This was the only piece not in English but happily we had words for all the songs in the program, which is always helpful.

      Being an art song recitalist is new for Ms. Brogdon; in fact last year was her first recital. Fourteen years of piano lessons and choral singing that extended through college helped prepare Ms. Brogdon, though she took her degree in nursing at the University of North Carolina. Singing lessons from Ed Harris of Chesapeake blossomed into a desire to share her gift and the wonderful music she is constantly discovering. Most of the audience seemed to be friends of the singer. Lee Tepley who is head of music at Norfolk's First Lutheran Church where the concert was held "because the church's harpsichord is too heavy to move" was present as a beneficent presence for this lovely hour of music. Thanks to each participant.

 

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