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USM Faculty Concert Series continues with Laura Kargul "Wild at Heart"

Laura Kargul

The University of Southern Maine School of Music continues the 2018 Faculty Concert Series on Friday, October 19 at 8:00 p.m. with a solo recital by Laura Kargul, “Wild at Heart” at Corthell Concert Hall on the Gorham Campus.

Kargul, an internationally acclaimed pianist and the Director of Keyboard Studies at the USM School of Music, will take us through a program featuring works by Mozart, Schumann and Liszt, all inspired by emotional landscapes of passion and drama.

Also a popular lecturer, Kargul is often featured locally on the Portland Ovations Pre-Performance Lecture Series at Merrill Auditorium. Her informative and humorous comments from the stage have become a trademark of her performances.

Kargul has appeared in concerts throughout Europe and the USA, as well as in Canada and the West Indies, in venues such as the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, the Schleswig-Holstein and Nordhessen Music Festivals in Germany, the Opera Theater and Music Festival of Lucca in Italy and the Evian Music Festival in France.

Kargul will open with one of Mozart's most famous keyboard works, his Twelve Variations on the French Song "Ah, vous dirai-je, maman" ("Ah, shall I tell you, Mother"). The melody of the theme eventually became known to English speakers as "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" in 1806, but the original French song was composed half a century earlier, during Mozart's lifetime.

"The text of the French song, with its five verses, is actually quite racy," notes Kargul. "A young shepherdess is seduced in the pasture, and she confesses the details to her mother. There is absolutely no mention of twinkling stars. Mozart's genius in setting dramatic scenes is on full display here; it's hard to imagine that he wasn't thinking operatically with a text so rich in both pathos and humor. Each variation seems to contribute to the unfolding of the overall story, from beginning to end. If you hear the work in this way, it takes on a whole new meaning - and 'wild' is not too strong a word to describe it!"

Kargul bookAlso on the program will be two works by Franz Liszt: "Sposalizio," his transcendent depiction of the wedding of the Virgin Mary, based on the well-known painting by the Italian Renaissance artist Raphael, and his lush virtuoso solo piano transcription of the sextet from Donizetti's opera, "Lucia di Lammermoor."

"Liszt's compositions perfectly embody the 19th-century notion of romantic love, rooted in arching passion that can barely be contained. Music is the ideal medium to express such extreme emotions," says Kargul.

Kargul is also noted as a Liszt interpreter, one of very few artists ever invited to perform a full recital on Liszt's own Bechstein piano at the Liszt-Haus in Weimar. Her solo CD of Liszt's virtuoso transcriptions, “Liszt and Ravel: Transcriptions for Piano,” was produced by Grammy winner Bob Ludwig of Gateway Mastering.

The final work on the program will be Robert Schumann's monumental masterpiece, “Fantasy in C Major, Op. 17.” Schumann composed the Fantasy in 1836, during a period when his beloved future wife, the renowned pianist and composer Clara Wieck, was forcibly separated from him by her father. "By his own admission, this is the most passionate work he ever wrote, conceived in the throes of excruciating longing and pain caused by his separation from Clara, the love of his life."

Kargul has performed the Schumann “Fantasy to high critical acclaim, starting with her European debut, reviewed by the Rotterdams Nieuwsblad: "World Class Piano Playing: This is piano playing of a class that belongs on our great concert stages.... Rarely does one hear this magisterial opus [Schumann's Fantasy] carried from the first to last note with almost feverish inspiration, so controlled and thrilling. Laura Kargul does not try to flaunt her great technique, but rather penetrates deep into the heart of the work."

Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for seniors, USM employees and alumni, and $5 for all who are students. To purchase tickets, call the Music Box Office: (207) 780-5555 // TTY: 780-5646, or purchase tickets online at

The concert is sponsored by University Credit Union.

Those needing special accommodations to participate fully in this program, contact Lori Arsenault, (207) 780-5142, Hearing impaired: call USM's telex / TDD number (207) 780-5646.