Wednesday 28 May 2008

Wigmore Hall new Season (I)

The Wigmore Hall's new season brochure has just hit my letterbox, and as usual it is so full of goodies as to be almost intimidating; most years I intend to book a series of concerts and never do as the simple act of organising all the information and actually deciding is far too complex!

The season opens with Joyce di Donato and Julius Drake doing a concert of Vivaldi opera arias, plus songs by Chausson, Turina, Copland and Arlen - so they are definitely not taking the easy route. Joan Rodgers and Christopher Maltman give a concert of songs by RVW, Finzi and Howells - the first in a year long series celebrating RVW and English song. Still in September, Angelika Kirschlager returns with a Schubert, Korngold, Weill recital.

In October the Academy of Ancient Music are doing Purcell's Dido and Aeneas in tandem with a group of works by 17th century composer Christopher Gibbons, all taken from recently discovered manuscripts. Another visitor, the wonderful Veronique Gens, is doing Berlioz, Debussy and Offenbach for a BBC lunchtime recital. Then a group of performers are celebrating Michael Berkeley's 60th birthday.

On a slightly more off-beat note, Colin Currie is doing a percussion and piano recital with music by Birtwistle and John McLeod. Later in the season, Thomas Ades crops up as pianist, with Stephen Isserlis in a wide ranging programme which includes some of Ades's own music.

Come November, we have Diana Damrau to look forward to, again with the ubiquitous Julius Drake. They are doing a programme of Berg, Barber, Strauss and Ian Bell's Daughters of Britannia. The King's Consort celebrate St. Cecilia's day 8 days early with a group of Cecilia inspired Purcell pieces plus a couple of his Welcome Odes, a brilliant opportunity to hear some of his lesser performed pieces in the genre.

Graham Johnson is doing a series entitled Brahms, His Friends, Rivals and Contemporaries; I must confess that this is a series I will be giving a miss.

The Britten Sinfonia crop up at another Lunchtime Concert in December, with a programme which includes music by Charlotte Bray and Colin Matthews. Then another ensemble, The Nash this time, do a Czech programme which includes Smetana's Der Fischer for reciter and ensemble with Eleanor Bron.

The Early Opera Company celebrate Christmas with Messiah, a lovely chance to hear it performed with just 12 singers and 14 players. Carolyn Sampson is taking a break from Bach and Handel and doing a programme of lute songs by Dowland and his contemporaries, with lutenist Matthew Wadsworth.

2008 finishes with a New Year's Eve concert from the King's Consort, this time an All Bach concert featuring an early version of Suite No. 4, 2 cantatas, the Motet Lobet den Herrn and the Harpsichord Concerto in A

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