Wednesday 9 October 2013

London Song Festival

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Nigel Foster's London Song Festival returns for five concerts starting later this month, with concerts on 23, 30 October, 4, 6, 13 November at St Paul's Church, Covent Garden. The concerts include music celebrating Britten's centenary, along with Ned Rorem's 90th birthday and the 50th anniversary of Poulenc's death, plus music by Schubert and Finzi along with an evening of comedy songs. Performers include a fine selection of young singers with Foster himself accompanying.

Ned Rorem's 90th birthday is celebrated on 23 October with soprano Gillian Keith, mezzo-soprano Jennifer Johnston, tenor Nicholas Mulroy and baritone Ben McAteer performing Rorem's Evidence of Things Not Seen, his 1997 cycle of 36 songs to texts by 4 different authors.

On 30 October soprano Elizabeth Watts (winner of the 2007 Cardiff Singer of the World Song Prize) and baritone Ashley Riches (member of Jette Parker Young Artists Programme at Covent Garden) perform Britten's Pushkin setting, The Poet's Echo, Poulenc's Chansons Villageoises plus Schubert songs. The potent combination of Poulenc, Schubert and Britten re-occurs on 3 November when BBC New Generation Artists Ruby Hughes and tenor David Butt Philip (member of Jette Parker Young Artists Programme at Covent Garden) perform Poulenc's Fiancailles pour rire, Brittens Michelangelo Sonnets and A Charm of Lullabies, plus songs by Poulenc and Schubert.

Foster always includes an evening of comedy songs in his festival, an annual delight. This year Eleanor Meynell and Matthew Brook perform songs by Flanders and Swann, Noel Coward, Tom Lehrer and Gilber  and Sullivan on 6 November.

The final concert in the festival, on 13 November, interleaves Britten's Thomas Hardy setting Winter Words with other settings of Hardy by Gerald Finzi to create a new cycle, Winter and Summer Words. The programme is completed with Poulenc's Le travail du Peintre and Reynaldo Hahn's rarely heard recitations for voice and piano, Portraits de Peintres, plus Britten's Auden settings. All sung by BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist Robin Tritschler and Jeremy Huw Williams.

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