Charles Ives “The Things our Fathers Loved,” performed by Gerald Seminatore

SV_Taso_Gerald_animated_singing_color_webFor the final video installment from our recent AMERICAN PILGRIMAGE concert, here is Gerald Seminatore performing “The Things our Fathers Loved,” with Mark Salters at the piano.

(Photo courtesy of Taso Papadakis)

Charles Ives (1874-1954) was one of twentieth century America’s most original composers. In more than 100 songs, Ives wove together original melodies, fragments of popular songs and hymns, and harmonies of sweet simplicity or crashing dissonance. There is a pronounced nostalgia in many songs, and often a humorous or ironic note.

“The Things our Fathers Loved” is a small masterpiece, with echoes of popular tunes such as “Dixie,” “Nettleton (Come thou, fount of every blessing),” and “In the Sweet By and By.” The song is a musical memory of a July 4 weekend in New England.

I think there must be a place in the soul
All made of tunes from long ago.

I hear the organ on the Main Street corner;
Aunt Sarah humming gospels, summer evenings;

The village cornet band playing in the square,
The town’s red, white and blue.

Now, hear the songs!
I know not what are the words,

But they sing in my soul
Of the things our fathers loved.

Click here to view Gerald’s performance of “The Things our Fathers Loved.” (The original key has been transposed for high voice.)


“Pilgrimage” on June 27 at the Brand Library, Glendale, CA

BLAC logo_FWe have recently confirmed the program and roster of performers for our upcoming concert at the Brand Library Arts Center on June 27 at 7:30 p.m. (1601 W. Mountain St, Glendale, CA 91201).

Our singers will include Katie Elizabeth Martin, Arnold Livingston Geis and Gerald Seminatore, along with pianist Mark Salters. The program “Pilgrimage” will include American songs by Samuel Barber, Aaron Copland, Richard Hundley, Charles Ives, and Lori Laitman.

This is a free concert, sponsored by the City of Glendale. We are grateful to be included on the 2014 series of concerts in this intimate and welcoming venue.


Gerald Seminatore performs Britten’s Canticle One

The online service YouTube has become ubiquitous, and many performing artists seeking a wider audience use it to post videos of their work. Our YouTube channel ( is drawing a growing number of viewers.

When we only have an audio track to share, it is uploaded to our SoundCloud archive ( YouTube only accepts video files for upload, so if an audio track has no live video associated with it, another solution is needed to share the audio on that platform. Many people create a photo montage for video streaming with an accompanying “soundtrack.” Often these videos are amateurish or poorly done, but sometimes they illuminate the content of the music and are worthy of a look.

canticleofcanticlesA few singers have used YouTube to introduce song and arias, especially those in other languages that might need a translation or subtitles. We have adopted this idea with a video for Britten’s First Canticle “My beloved is mine.”

This powerful work is based on a poem by the 17th century English “Metaphysical” poet Francis Quarles. Britten’s musical setting presents few obstacles for the listener, but the poem’s language and imagery are not immediately accessible. This video provides an introduction to the Canticle itself, as well as text and images to aid the listener in enjoying an extended vocal work that is both spiritual and ardent.

This live 2013 performance is by Gerald Seminatore and pianist Jaebon Hwang. Gerald the montage as a final project for a PowerPoint class.

Click here to view the video of Britten’s First Canticle, “My beloved is mine”


Gerald Seminatore at Denver Lyric Opera Guild Competition

OperaLOGO-171x300Gerald recently received an invitation to judge the preliminary round of the Denver Lyric Opera Guild competition. So, off he went last week to a very cold city last to spend a day hearing 36 singers with fellow judges John Baril, music director of the Central City Opera, and Gayle Shay, director of opera at Vanderbilt University. During their conference following the competition, all three shared their impressions of the performers, helped one another understand shared reservations about some of the singers, and finally ranked the contestants. They also talked about current expectations for auditioning singers at festivals like Central City, and even broached the topic of the occasionally uneasy relationship between academic performance programs and the professional world.

Perhaps the most rewarding part of the day was meeting with the contestants after the results were announced. Gerald shared his thoughts with each singer about his/her audition, and also heard from many of them about their own aspirations and challenges.

(Disclaimer: this post is not associated with any published communication of the Denver Lyric Opera Guild.)

A Lied for Three Kings Day (Jan. 6)

For many folks, a song in a foreign language can sound unfriendly, but we certainly want to introduce songs from different countries to our listeners! Here’s one attempt to cross the language barrier–a track from our 2013 Holiday concert (in German), with an introduction to the song, along with a photo montage which includes an English translation. Click here for “Die Könige” (The Kings) by Peter Cornelius. Happy 12th day of Christmas!999px-Magi_1-Wikimedia-Commons

A Musical Christmas Greeting

FLED-Plastic-Christmas-Starrom our 2013 Holiday concert, here is
a pair of songs by American folklorist John Jacob Niles that shine with a radiant simplicity. We invite you to hear “What Songs Were Sung,” performed by Gerald Seminatore, and the classic folk song “I Wonder as I Wander,” performed by Barbara Kilduff. Libor Dudas is at the piano. Our sincere wishes for a happy and musical Christmas season!

Hugo Wolf “Schlafendes Jesuskind”

Continuing our participation in the musical energy of this holiday season, this week’s post introduces German composer Hugo Wolf’s famous song “Schlafendes Jesuskind” (Sleeping Infant Jesus). Wolf’s music is in late Romantic style, with echoes of Richard Wagner and a subtle interplay between harmony and text. The image rich poem is by Eduard Mörike (1804-1875 ), who was inspired by a painting in the style of Francesco Albani (Italy, 1578-1660).

The poem’s German text and an English translation appear below the picture. We invite you to read the poem, and then to click here for a live, unedited 2013 performance of “Schlafendes Jesusukind” by tenor Gerald Seminatore and pianist Libor Dudas.


Sohn der Jungfrau, Himmelskind!
Son of the Virgin, Heaven’s child!

Am Boden auf dem Holz der Schmerzen eingeschlafen,
On the ground, asleep upon the wood of suffering,

Dass der fromme Meister, sinnvoll spielend,
That the devout painter– with gentle allusion –

Deinen leichten Träumen unterlegte;
has placed under your light dreams;

Blume du, noch in der Knospe dämmernd,
You flower, still  in the opening bud,

Eingehüllt die Herrlichkeit des Vaters!
Encased in the glory of of your Father!

O, wer sehen könnte, welche Bilder
O, who could see, what pictures

Hinter dieser Stirne, diesen schwarzen Wimpern
Behind this brow, and these dark lashes,

Sich in sanftem Wechsel malen!
Are being painted in gentle changes!

(Trans. Gerald Seminatore)

Britten in Song: A note for our audience

britten100Concertos“Britten in Song” is today! Nov. 10 at 5:00 at The Parish Church of St. Mark, Episcopal in Glendale, 1010 N. Brand Blvd. It will be a celebration of Benjamin Britten’s repertoire for the solo voice. Not only is the repertoire varied, but so are the voices! Sopranos Bianca Hall and Ariel Pisturino, tenor Arnold Geis, and baritone David Castillo are all uniquely compelling vocalists and performers. Add to this the talents of internationally acclaimed tenor Jonathan Mack and the pianistic finesse of Kristof van Grysperre, and the only possible result is an extraordinary recital.

This is a general admission event, and no tickets are
required. We don’t know what is in your hearts, or your budget, but we are counting on visitors to make some sort of donation to help us cover the costs of this event. We would gratefully accept cash or a check, as is convenient.

Parking is free in the church parking lot (behind the church on Dryden) and on adjacent streets. Refreshments or a light meal before or after the program are available at Recess, only a few steps away from the church on Brand Blvd.

There will be a brief pre-concert talk about Britten and his music at 5:00, and then it’s off to the races! We hope to see you.

College Music Society National Conference Presentation

OAc_AIDS_quilt_0612_opt_smallA lecture-recital authored by core group members John Seesholtz and Gerald Seminatore was presented today at the National Conference of the College Music Society. A large audience was introduced to the AIDS Quilt Songbook, and heard  performances by John and Gerald of songs by Annea Lockwood, John Harbison, and Chris DeBlasio. It was well received and stimulated further discussion among some of the attendees.