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Let romantic poetry woo your valentine
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‘Art Songs’

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: Pearce Auditorium, Brenau University, 500 Washington St. SE, Gainesville

How much: Free

Also: An additional "master class" will be held at 2:15 p.m. Friday at Pearce Auditorium and is open to the public

If you’ve always wanted to give your loved one the gift of some heartfelt poetry — but just couldn’t find the words — try a new approach this year.

Take him or her to Brenau University’s "Art Songs" concert on Saturday night, and let the words of romantic Spanish poets caress their ears.

The concert will feature 22 of 44 songs by Austrian composer Hugo Wolf, which were translated from Spanish to be sung in German. The concert will feature Brenau University’s Barbara Steinhaus, director of the school’s music program, singing alongside guest pianist John Wustman, a professor of music at the University of Illinois since 1968.

Also singing will be Sharon Munden, chairwoman of the vocal studies program at East Carolina University, and John Kramar, associate dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communication at Eastern Carolina.

Steinhaus said the group will sing the first half of the 44-song collection at Furman University in South Carolina, then continue with the second half on Saturday at Brenau.

"This is a song cycle of value and beauty, and it’s nice to celebrate that with this concert program," she said. "It was original Spanish poetry and that was translated in the 19th century into German poetry, which Wolf then set (to music)."

But don’t worry about anything getting lost in translation, she added, because all three versions of the words — in Spanish, German and English — will be printed in the programs.

Steinhaus said she knew a few of the songs from her graduate work at the University of Illinois, where she studied for her doctorate under Wustman. And as far as singing in German, she said, after you’ve been singing professionally for a while the languages start to come more naturally.

Languages "tend to be more often the languages of Europe, outside of English, but they can be Russian or Czech," she said. "Like anything, you find someone who can coach you in the language, you take language courses."

And above all, the music will be perfect for a romantic evening.

"It’s very passionate Spanish poetry. Some of it is love, sweet love, some jealous rage, some sad, yearning and loss, so it covers the gamut of love," she said.

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