At 4 p.m. on Nov. 8, Dr. Leroy Bynum, dean of the College of Arts and Humanities at Albany State University, will take to the ACAD Auditorium stage for a faculty recital, but this recital will honor one of the greats of classical music – Robert Schumann.
“The world of western classical music is preparing to celebrate the 200th birthday of one of its luminaries, Robert Schumann,” Bynum said. “Concert halls, symphony organizations, college and university music departments and conservatories, and art series all over the world are planning a year-long homage to Schumann by programming his works. I am therefore extremely honored to have been asked to participate in such Schumann celebrations having received invitations to perform full-length recitals featuring his works at several venues throughout the country, beginning here, and including two of my alma maters – the University of Georgia, and the University of North Carolina – in the coming year.”
Considered one of the greatest composers of all time, Schumann was born in Germany in 1810. In the Nov. 8 recital, Bynum will perform Schumann’s “Dichterliebe,” which is translated as “a poet’s love.”
“‘Dichterliebe’ is arguably one of the most famous works among his compositional output of art songs.” Bynum said. “‘Dichterliebe’ is an art song cycle, which I’ll perform in recital here and throughout the coming year. It consists of 16 songs set to the poetry of Heinrich Heine. As the texts for his beautifully fashioned songs, Schumann carefully chose Heine’s poems, which represent many aspects of love, from the joy it brings to tragic results of love betrayed or love lost.”
“Dichterliebe” is especially close to Bynum’s heart.
“I have devoted a good bit of my professional singing career to German operatic, oratorio and song literature,” he said. “As such, I have found a special connection with this very special collection of artsongs by Schumann, all tied to the organizational theme of love in its many facets from the perspective of the poet. I am always excited when the opportunity presents itself for me to be able to pick these pieces up once again to study and perform them.”
While “Dichterliebe” is made up of 16 songs, the entire group only takes about half an hour to perform. Because most recitals last between an hour and an hour and a half, Bynum chose additional selections by Henri Duparc, a French composer of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and love songs by African-American composers who set to music the works of some of America’s famous Black poets, such as Langston Hughes and Claude McKay.
“Preparing recitals of this nature takes months of practice and study,” Bynum said. “The more you perform them, the better they become. I was very fortunate to have been able to become a part of the ASU Poetry Festival scheduled for Nov. 5-8. Not only is the poetic connection an obvious and comfortable one, my participation provides me the opportunity to share my celebration of Schumann and of poetry with the Albany community while at the same time it allows me to perform these works before an audience of well wishers before taking them on the road.”
There is no admission charge for the Nov. 8 recital.