Petersen helps bring Imogen to life

Rebecca Neipp

News Review Staff Writer

Petersen helps bring  Imogen to lifeImogen gazed out with a girl’s gladness in her eyes, happy to know that she was back once more where there were those who knew her …

— “Aunt Imogen,” Edwin Arlington Robinson

Rarely can the longing of human emotion be captured by a single medium. So Patrick Rindt added music, and Amber Petersen her voice, to enable Imogen’s heart-tugging story to soar like never before.

The local duo will debut a song cycle adapted from Robinson’s powerful blank verse poem when Patrick Rindt & Friends unveil the local composer’s original music on Nov. 11 and 12.

“Amber has an ability to sing in a very dramatic and powerful style. But as an actress, she also has the expressive range necessary,” said Patrick. “Imogen is tender and funny, but also heartbreaking and ultimately affirming. You could not ask for a better performer for this piece than Amber Petersen.”

“This music is exquisite!” said Amber. “I love the depth of character that comes across in each song within the cycle. Patrick’s harmonic palate is rich and complex without being dissonant. The texture he is able to achieve between the piano and vocal line are incredible — both parts are relevant, with neither seeming to dominate, rather each enhancing the overall composition.”

Amber said that while the cycle leaves impressions of the moods and harmonic language of other composers, “It seems to me that Patrick already has a unique ‘voice.’ He uses traditional ‘jazz’ harmonies, but in a rather unconventional way, harkening a Bernsteinesque quality. Yet in his sensitive treatment of the text, I find some qualities of Schumann, Brahms and other prominent composers of German lieder.”

Similar to the romantic, pastoral and sometimes tragic themes of traditional lieder, Robinson explores Imogen’s emotional crisis while she visits her sister’s family — realizing the life she dreamed of for herself has passed her by.

“This is a story Robinson tells very well, perhaps because it so closely parallels his own. He was not able to marry the woman he loved or have children of his own, and he deeply desired both. But in the end he was able to embrace his role as an uncle as Imogen embraced hers as an aunt.”

It’s also one of Robinson’s lesser known works. “It’s a gentle and domestic story for an edgy and pessimistic writer typically known better for his short, rhymed poetry. But for me, there is none better, or more personal, than ‘Aunt Imogen’.”

“The mood and character of each piece is so aptly captured that I don’t have to work hard to bring the ideas across. He’s done it all for me!” said Amber.

“After studying the poetry, I felt like poor Imogen was a tragic case. But with the setting of her story, much more of the hope and light that I hadn’t previously perceived is brought forth. I feel like the music brings me to a deeper understanding of Robinson’s text. That’s quite the accomplishment!”

Amber noted that she is also excited and honored that Patrick had her voice in mind when he composed the piece.

“And I am thrilled to be a part of this music and hope to bring it to the level of artistry that work of this caliber demands.”

Patrick Rindt &?Friends will present the original compositions of Rindt, performed with Simon Austin, David Hodgson, Amber Petersen and Darcy Rindt, on Veterans Day weekend at United Methodist Church.

Performances will be held Saturday,?Nov. 11, at 7 p.m., and Sunday, Nov. 12, at 4 p.m. Tickets are $25, available at Cosner-Neipp Corp. and at the door.

For more stories about this creative collaboration, see also

Story First Published: 2017-11-03