Hugo Wolf's Italienisches Liederbuch (English: Italian songbook) is a collection of 46 songs for voice and piano. The first 22 songs (Book 1) were composed between September 1890 and December 1891, and published in 1892. The other 24 songs (Book 2) were composed between March and August 1896, and published the same year. The 46 lyrics of the songs were taken from an anthology of Italian poems by Paul Heyse (1830–1914), translated into German and published with the tile of Italienisches Liederbuch in 1860. Despite Heyse’s diverse poetic selections, Wolf preferred the rispetto, a short Italian verse usually consisting of eight lines of ten or eleven syllables each, as a result of which the songs are short. It is usually performed by alternating baritone and soprano singers. In the lyrics, the male in love tends to idealize his lover and praise her beauty, while the female shows practical ideas about love and sometimes has complaints against her lover.
David Grogan has performed extensively throughout the southwest, getting positive reviews. The Dallas Morning News hailed Dr. Grogan as the “perfect Christus” after a performance of the St. Matthew Passion with the Dallas Bach Society. The New York Times called his singing “excellent.” The Albuquerque Tribune, in reference to a performance of Messiah with the New Mexico Symphony, said, “David Grogan had all the range and power required of the part, sounding like the voice of doom in "The people that walked in darkness" and the light of revelation in "The trumpet shall sound." A performance of Elijah had critics praising his ability to “move easily from stentorian declamation to lyrical aria.” Another critic said that he “….brought an impressive vocal power to the lead role of Elijah, and his rich emotive gift set the level for the other chief performers.” The Dallas Morning News said “His meaty bass shook the heavens and the earth and sounded the trumpet with imposing conviction.” He has performed as a soloist with Dallas-Fort Worth area arts groups such as the Dallas Symphony, Fort Worth Symphony, Dallas Bach Society, Plano Civic Chorus, Denton Bach Society, Texas Baroque Ensemble, Orpheus Chamber Singers, Texas Camerata, Fort Worth Baroque Society, and several Texas universities. Recent performances include Handel’s Messiah with the Saint Thomas Choir of Men and Boys in NYC, Handel’s Acis and Galatea with Mountainside Baroque in Maryland, Bach’s B-Minor Mass under the direction of Simon Carrington with the University of Northern Colorado, Verdi’s Requiem with Texas Tech, and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony at Bass Hall in Fort Worth, TX
Texas soprano Laura Smolik made her professional debut in 2008 with Houston Grand Opera as Dritte Knabe in Die Zauberflöte. Laura was most recently seen as Martha/Mission Band Member in Guys & Dolls with Lyric Stage. Laura has been a frequent collaborator with composer and pianist Eric Genuis, performing his music in venues around the country. Laura Smolik holds a Bachelor of Music from Southern Methodist University and a Master of Music from University of Southern California. Now residing in Dallas, you can next see Laura performing in The Flying Dutchman with The Dallas Opera, followed by a performance of Wolf's Italienisches liederbuch with baritone David Grogan and Voces Intimae.
Brian D. Bentley, a native of Dallas, has a Bachelor of Music degree in Piano Performance from Oklahoma Baptist University and Master of Music degrees in Choral Conducting and Piano Accompanying from Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University. Brian serves as Adjunct Lecturer on the faculty of Meadows School of the Arts, and as an adjunct professor of music at the University of Dallas. In addition, Brian serves as Principal Accompanist & Associate Conductor for the Arts District Chorale, as Music Consultant for Cistercian Abbey – Our Lady of Dallas, and is the founding director of the Schola Cantorum Stellæ Solæ, an ensemble dedicated to the study & singing of Gregorian chant.