Is it only me, or do other people find the London SouthBank Centre's publicity system rather annoying. First of all, their leaflets are now published on horrible, thick paper (I know, I'm being petty). Secondly, we no longer seem to get the Monthly digests giving ALL the concerts which are one, now its just a monthly newsletter. Instead there is a hugely thick book, detailing all the Classical Music for 2008/09. Like the Barbican, they seem to have gone for multiple series and each series opens booking in advance so that we are considering booking for concerts next year.
That said, there are some tempting morsels hidden amongst the rather standard classical orchestral repertoire (no I don't plan to do any Mozart, Brahms, Beethoven or Rachmaninov).
The Sixteen are bringing their programme of music dedicated to the Virgin Mary (from Palestrina to Elgar by way of Grieg, Liszt and Cornysh), but I can't help thinking that hearing them do it in a Cathedral would be more fun. Then next year the Sixteen reappear with a program which mixes music by Purcell and James MacMillan, including his O Bone Jesu, which was written for the Sixteen (as a companion to Robert Carver's motet).
There seems to be something of a Tchaikovsky event. The Moscow Conservatory Chamber choir are bringing Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom. The London Philharmonic are doing Iolanta and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment are giving his orchestral pieces an authentic look, performing both the first and last versions of Romeo and Juliet.
RVW comes in for quite a lot of platform time. The Philharmonia under Richard Hickox doing two concerts covering symphonies 3,4,5 and 9. The Bach Choir under David Hill are doing Sancta Civitas, definitely a concert to note as this lovely work is rarely done (it needs too many choirs), they are being joined by Westminster Cathedral Choristers and Winchester College Quiristers. The concert also includes Howells' Sir Patric Spens and Howells's Te Deum.
The Bach Choir crop up again next Easter with the annual St. Matthew Passion, Evangelist being James Gilchrist. I must confess to being old enough to remember these performances with Robert Tear and Dame Janet Baker, under Sir David Willcocks.
The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment are also doing a Matthew Passion with Mark Padmore as the Evangelist. They have spent quite some time doing the John Passion together, so expect some interesting insights. Listing simply gives 8 singers, no choir so I am unclear whether this is going to be a solo ensemble performance or one with a larger ripieno group of singers.
Other unusual choral repertoire includes the LPO doing Dvorak's Requiem with Neeme Jarvi and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment doing Haydn's The Return of Tobias with Sir Roger Norrington.
Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment under Robin Ticciati are doing an early Romantic programme, with Schumann's enticing Konzertstuck for 4 horns (one of my favourite pieces), Mendelssohn's 3rd Symphony and a rare, rare, rare outing for Sterndale Bennett's overture The Naiads.
Opera Rara are sponsoring 2 concerts with the LPO, Donizetti's Parisina with Patrizia Ciofi and Jose Bros and Rossini's Ermione with Carmen Giannatasio, Patricia Bardon and Colin Lee. I look forward to both recordings!
Zurich Opera are bringing Handel's Agrippina with a good cast including Vesselina Kassarova, Marijana Mijanovic and Malin Hartelius; I only wish they were giving us a more unusual opera, or one of the more serious, bigger boned mid-period London ones, there seems to have been quite a glut of Handel's slightly comic operas.
Philippe Jaroussky is doing a song recital of music by Faure, Massenet, Debussy, Saint-Saens and Chausson - quite an interesting mix for a counter-tenor.
Finally, in June next year Mark Padmore is doing Winterreise directed by Katie Mitchell in a programme which will include Samuel Beckett's poetry. Padmore will be singing the Schubert in a new translation by Michael Symmons Roberts.