Tuesday 6 November 2012

Too much to take in - Wigmore Hall's Spring season

By the time you read this, many of the concert in the Wigmore Hall's January to March 2013 Spring concerts season will be fully booked as public booking opened last week. This is not surprising because the season is, as usual, fully of goodies including some fascinating series such as Graham Johnson accompanying French Song, the Hugo Wolf songbooks, a celebration of Schubert and a residency from Bernada Fink.

Graham Johnson's exploration of the French melodie, Le Plus Doux Chemin, looks at French song from 1860 to 1960. The singers are mainly young modern British singers with Lucy Crowe and Christopher Maltman in the first concert, Ailish Tynan and Yann Beuron in the second; subsequent concerts in the summer season include Sarah Connolly, John Mark Ainsley, Geraldine McGreevy and Sarah Fox.

Julius Drake is accompanying two concerts in the Wigmore Hall's Hugo Wolf songbooks series with Angelika Kirschschlager and Dietrich Henschel in one and Sophie Daneman and Ian Bostridge in the other. Both recitals look at songs from the Morike-Lieder and the Goethe-Lieder. Julius Drake reappears with Gerald Finley in a programme of Schubert and songs from Mahler's Des Knaben Wunderhorn.

There is a chance to catch Finnish soprano Soile Isokoski in a programme which includes Berlioz's Les nuits d'Ete and Strauss's Ophelia Songs, Austrian baritone Wolfgang Holzmair in songs by Ernest Krenek from his Reisebuch aus den osterreichischen Alpen, counter-tenor Iestyn Davies in Purcell, Clarke, Humphrey and Blow, and Simon Keenlyside in Wolf, Faure, Ravel and Poulenc
Bernada Fink is in residency with three concerts, including one with the Academy of Ancient Music where she will be singing Vivaldi and Ferrandini. Sophie Bevan's recital with Sebastian Wybrew focuses on love, with songs by Purcell, Schubert, Wolf, Barber and Lennox Berkeley. Dramatic soprano Susan Bullock takes time off from Brunnhilde to sing Schumann, Debussy and Britten. And there is a concert to celebrate the 70th birthday of mezzo-soprano Sarah Walker.

The Prince Consort are giving three concerts in their American Song Series, including music by Ned Rorem, John Musto and William Bolcom.

An die Musik – Schubert: A Celebration includes concerts from violin / piano duo of Alina Imbragimova and Cedric Tiberghian, Cuarteto Casals and Imogen Cooper. The Takacs Quartet are giving three concerts featuring the jewels of the Austro-German chamber music repertoire. Andras Schiff continues his complete survey of the Beethoven piano sonatas. Thomas Quasthoff will be narrating the Belcea Quartet's performance of Haydn's Seven Last Words from the Cross.

There is a Huw Watkins day which includes concerts at throughout the day plus Huw Watkins talking to Tom Service. Huw Watkins also re-appears as pianist accompanying his brother, cellist Paul Watkins.

There are concerts and master-classes from the European Chamber Music Academy which nurtures young aspiring chamber music ensembles. The Wigmore Hall's own study group has three sessions on Beethoven's string quartets linked to the Hagen Quartet's Beethoven quartet cycle. The Royal Academy of Music's Song Circle focuses on Britten the linguist

The Nash Ensemble continue their residency with a pair of concerts with Mark Padmore, including Britten's folk-songs for tenor and guitar and Warlock's The Curlew for tenor, flute, cor anglais and string quartet, and a concert with Christopher Maltman which includes Butterworth's Love Blows as the Wind Blows and Finzi's By Path and Style. There is another 70th birthday, this time for composer David Matthews, which will be celebrated by the Nash Ensemble.

The Britten Sinfonia returns, also with Mark Padmore, in Walton, Britten, Richard Rodney Bennett, Gerald Barry and Poulenc. Their second concert features Britten alongside Copland and Shostakovich. The Scottish Ensemble are including Gorecki's Harpsichord Concerto and Vaughan William's Violin Concerto in their programme.

Florilegium and soprano Gillian Keith perform an all Handel programme with trio sonatas, the German Arias and the cantata Un alma inamorata. More Handel from soprano Anna Prohaska and Arcangelo, this time operatic arias plus music by Purcell, Vivaldi and Handel's Bohemian contemporary Jan Dismas Zelenka.

Ian Page's Classical Opera are looking at the castratos who worked for Mozart, with music written for them by Mozart and by J.C.Bach and by Arne.

The Sixteen returns to the Wigmore Hall with a programme of Monteverdi, from Selva Morale e Spirituale. For Holy Week there is a lovely sequence of concerts from Stile Antico, the English Concert, Florilegium and the London Handel Orchestra., which include such delights as sacred music from Byrd and his contemporaries, Biber's Missa Christi resurgentis and Handel's La Resurrezione.

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