Hodgson interprets the collaborative stories of Robinson and Rindt

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

Hodgson interprets the collaborative  stories of Robinson and RindtThe Patrick Rindt and Friends recital, scheduled for Veterans Day Weekend, will unveil to the world not only original music by Rindt, but a newly honed tenor range by David Hodgson.

The two prominant local musicians will be collaborating, along with Mezzo-soprano Amber Petersen, Trumpeter Simon Austin, and Violist Darcy Rindt, to present Rindt’s compositions on Saturday, Nov. 11, at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 12, at 4 p.m. at the United Methodist Church.

“For as long as I can remember the things I have been most interested in are piano, literature and singers. So I suppose when composing a piece for an instrument I love using the text of an author I adore to be sung by a voice I admire, I’m playing to all my strengths.”

Such is the graceful deflection Patrick Rindt employs to explain how he composed four songs in four days while adapting six poems by Edwin Arlington Robinson for his friend David Hodgson.

“I have to partly credit my sources of inspiration. Robinson has a number of poems that I have found to be extremely powerful, and I believed would work well as songs,” said Patrick.

“This was definitely the fastest I have ever been able to compose, which is not always a quick process. Sometimes you have to try a lot of ideas before you find what works. When I started this project, the first idea I had in every song and every section seemed to work.

“But David was definitely a big part of that inspiration. I don’t know if all of these things would have come together quickly if I had not had a singer of his caliber to work with.”

Patrick said that David is a rare class of singer known as a “heldentenor” — which commands one of the largest ranges and most dramatic qualities of all voice types. “he is basically a baritone with both tenor and bass notes, and he’s one of the few people on the planet who could sing these pieces as they are written.”

The first time Patrick heard them was a surreal experience. “I am not a singer at all, so until the moment I heard David’s voice everything was still in my head. Being able to hear it — and getting a validation that it’s working — is somewhat shocking.”

“First of all, this music is fun to sing. And the more we practice the more I want to sing it,” said Hodgson.

He likened Patrick’s storytelling ability to one of his favorite movie makers, Hayao Miyazaki. “Studio Ghibli spends a lot of time making these emotional drawings, and the story they end up telling is built around these evocative images,” said David.

“So while I get to articulate the literal words of these stories, there is a deep emotional subtext in the music that helps me convey the meaning. These songs work on several levels at once.”

As a professional, David also appreciates the challenges presented in the music that proved to be transformative.

“When Patrick presented me with these songs, my initial inclination was to ask for a lower key,” said David. “I’ve been working as a baritone for some time, but Patrick hears my voice as a tenor — a dramatic tenor, or a heldentenor, which is a close cousin to my usual category as a Verdi baritone.”

So David attempted to fulfill Patrick’s original vision for the pieces, “and sure enough, Patrick was right! I have personally evolved as a singer in attempting to master these songs.”

Changing to a higher “fach,” or vocal category, happens only on a rare occasion, said David. “It’s very exciting, and a career as a heldentenor is entirely possible for me.”

He loves that the songs are in English, “which I believe deepens the meaning and experience for the audience — and, quite frankly, the singer. To be able to sing in your native language, you have all the context of your experience and your memories ringing through your soul without even being conscious of it.”

The range of emotions run from agitation to sorrow to longing to peace. “I think Patrick really has an amazing sense for emotion, and these stories are told wonderfully through his music.

“As an artist, I feel like you are always chasing authentic experiences. This is as authentic as it gets. Getting to be a part of sharing something new to the world is just an amazing experience,” said David.

“As I singer, I have sung many, many wonderful composers. I think Patrick stands with the best. In fact, he might be my favorite. I just hope he keeps composing.”

Tickets to the concert are $25 general admission or $20 reduced (senior, military, youth), available at Cosner-Neipp Corp. at 109 N. Sanders St.

For more information about Rindt and his collaborators, watch future editions of the News Review and Facebook.com/PatrickRindt.

Pictured: David Hodgson (background) finds new resonance as a tenor during his preparation for Patrick Rindt and Friends, which will feature his vocal performance of a selection of Edwin Arlington Robinson’s poetry set to Rindt’s demanding score. -- Photo by Rebecca Neipp

Story First Published: 2017-10-27