Art and music come together in the last concert of the Fort Hays State University music season at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 3, in the Beach/Schmidt Performing Arts Center, in Sheridan Hall on the FHSU campus.
The FHSU choirs will kick off the evening with an eight-movement, unaccompanied piece called “The Peaceable Kingdom” by Randall Thompson.
“Randall Thompson is one of the most widely performed composers of American choral music,” said Dr. Terry Crull, associate professor of music and theatre. “Singers love his music, which is filled with soaring harmonies, singable melodies and extensive use of vocal imagery; the music helps portray the meaning of the text, often referred to as ‘text painting.’”
Composed in 1936, “The Peaceable Kingdom” is named after a painting of the same name by Edward Hicks, who was known as “The Preaching Quaker.” Both the painting and the music depict scenes from the book of Isaiah in the Bible where the prophet warns the people to heed his words.
“The Peaceable Kingdom” ends with a climatic eight-part double choir raising the chorus “Ye Shall Have a Song to Come into the Mountain of the Lord” as a reference to the reward of an eternal afterlife.
“The work is entirely unaccompanied, further enhancing the beauty and also the power of human voices singing in concert,” said Crull.
Following intermission, the Hays Symphony Orchestra will play “Pictures at an Exhibition,” by Modest Mussorgsky. Originally written for piano, the piece was arranged for symphony orchestra by the famous composer Maurice Ravel.
“It depicts an imaginary tour of an art collection, and each movement represents in sound a drawing or watercolor, as well as a recurring promenade that depicts a person walking from one art work to the next,” said Ben Cline, chair of the Department of Music and Theatre. “The works depicted are in fact real works of art by Viktor Hartmann and are scenes created during his travels abroad, including France, Italy and Poland. The last movement depicts the great gates of the city of Kiev, Ukraine.”
As a special add-on for the orchestra’s 100th year celebration, the Department of Art and Design will hold a mini-art show in the Dreiling Lobby of Sheridan Hall during the concert. “The artwork will be both realistic and abstract and serve as a visual supplement to the orchestra score,” said Joel Dugan, assistant professor of art and design.
The artwork will be provided by students in the Creative Arts Society and will include drawing, paintings and prints.
Tickets are $6 for adults, $4 for senior citizens and students 12 and over, and free for children 11 and under and FHSU students with valid student ID.