Stephen F. Austin State University

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SFA music faculty Bissen, Oh to present 'La Vie Antérieure'

December 3, 2018 - Robbie Goodrich
Nicholas Bissen and Hyun Ji Oh
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - The Stephen F. Austin State University School of Music will present a faculty saxophone and piano recital at 6 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9, in Cole concert Hall on the SFA campus.

Nicholas Bissen, adjunct professor of saxophone, and Hyun Ji Oh, collaborative pianist, will present the program "La Vie Antérieure," which is also the title of a work on the program and translates to "The Former Life." The program oscillates between moments of reckless indulgence and nostalgic reference, but never with regret, according to Bissen.

The first two works on the program - Allemande from Partita No. 2 by Johann Sebastian Bach and "Renewing the Myth" by Marilyn Shrude - move from a simple, unaccompanied baroque melody into a contemporary realization of the baroque period myth where Niccolo Paganini sold his soul to the devil in exchange for technical prowess on his instrument, Bissen said.

The program will also feature a new work entitled "Tactile," written by music composition faculty member Robert Coe for saxophone and electronics. "The pre-recorded electronic track involves edited sounds previously recorded by the saxophonist as well as percussion sounds from Professor Coe's kitchen," Bissen said. "The interaction between the soloist and the tape starts as a series of seemingly disorganized pitches with various saxophone effects and activated household appliances, developing into a stomping groove."

Henri Duparc's "La Vie Antérieure," taken from Charles Baudelaire's poem "Les Fleurs du mal (The Flowers of Evil)," portrays a man reminiscing fondly on his previous deviant nature. "If one were to experience this music without being aware of the text, one would leave hearing a beautiful romantic sonority, nostalgic melody and sweeping gestures," Bissen explained. "The text adds another layer of complexity; as the music swells to a glorious peak, the poetry unveils the character's abhorrent nature of his former life."

The concert is a joint presentation of the College of Fine Arts and School of Music. Admission is free. For more information, call the SFA Fine Arts Box Office at (936) 468-6407 or visit www.finearts.sfasu.edu.