BY SEAN COLVIN, STAFF WRITER
The Susquehanna Music department held its fifth and sixth biannual Schubert Song Project concerts on Feb. 17 at 7 p.m. as part of an ongoing series in which students and faculty will cumulatively perform more than 600 of Franz Schubert’s pieces for voice and piano in alphabetical order.
The project, which began in the spring of 2013, features one concert per semester, with 20 pieces performed at each concert for a total of 40 per year.
Forty songs, rather than the usual 20 were performed on Tuesday night, to make up for the last-minute cancellation of last semester’s Schubert Song Project concert.
The project is scheduled for completion in 2028, the 200th anniversary of Franz Schubert’s death, according to program notes.
Associate Professor of Music David Steinau, who is behind the project, said that he was inspired to begin the Schubert Song Project after missing out on the opportunity to perform in a similar series of concerts when he attended graduate school at the University of Illinois, where the project was completed in 10 years.
“[Schubert] is the undisputed greatest song composer,” Steinau said. “It’s the kind of thing where you could say, ‘Okay, I’m going to learn all 600 of Schubert’s piano pieces,’ but then you never actually get around to doing it on your own. This way, you get other people involved, and it gets done.”
He said that he felt that the project had a place at Susquehanna. He said, “It’s a way to get students to feel like they’re part of something that’s continuing beyond their time here.”
The performance featured a cast of 20 different vocalists, consisting of both faculty and students, and 12 different accompanists, including senior horn player Jennifer Shirk on a piece titled, “Auf dem Strom.” The piece titled “Antigone und Oedip” featured two vocalists, juniors soprano Starletta Noll-Long and bass Matthew Tiramani.
During the second half of the evening, in what was technically Schubert Song Project concert number 6, the performers reached the letter “B” alphabetically, with a piece titled “Ballade” about a maiden locked away in a tower at sea. This milestone, which has come two years into the project, highlights the immense size of Schubert’s catalogue.
According to Steinau, the “A” section is one of the longer sections of Schubert’s catalogue because many German articles begin with the letter “A,” but the “B” and “C” sections will be shorter because there are fewer articles that start with those letters. He also said that the “D” section will be similar in size to the “A” section.
The next concert in the Schubert Song Project series does not yet have a date, but is expected to be on schedule sometime in the fall and will feature another 20 of Schubert’s pieces for voice and piano.