Monday 24 February 2014

Wigmore Hall summer 14 - a garden of delights

The Wigmore Hall summer programme, running from April to July 2014, is a veritable garden of delights with performers such as Sarah Connolly, Christiane Karg, Dorothea Roschman, Lucy Crow and Anne Sofie von Otter giving recitals, and that's just the female singers. The programme has a remarkable depth to it with major period instrument groups such as Les Talens Lyriques, Florilegium and Classical Opera, alongside the Ensemble intercontemperain and BCMG, as well as the Kings Consort performing Britten and Finzi on gut strings. Premieres include music by Harrison Birtwistle, Einojuhani Rautavaara, Brett Dean and Julian Anderson.

Soprano Christiane Karg performs Schoeck, Wolf, Debussy, Schoenberg and Strauss with Malcolm Martineau (6/4). Karg returnes in July with Wolfram Rieger for a programme of Wolf, Falla, Duparc, Ravel Hahn, Koechlin and Poulenc (12/6). Rising star mezzo-soprano Tara Erraught makes her Wigmore Hall debut in a programme of Brahms, Dvorak, Haydn, Wolf and Britten accompanied by Henning Ruhe (13/4). Sarah Connolly and Henk Neven are accompanied by Malcolm Martineau in a programme of Duparc as part of the Songlives series (23/4), and Connolly returns with Julius Drake in English song from Purcell and Dowland to Britten and R.R.Bennett, with some Tippett, Elgar and Stanford on the way. Who else would programme Tippett's Songs for Ariel alongside Elgar's Sea Pictures and Stanford's Belle Dame Sans Merci! (14/5).

Dorothea Roschmann and Malcolm Martineau mix songs by Faure, Listz, Strauss and Wolf (8/6). Alice Coote and Christian Blackshaw are pairing Schumann's Frauenliebe und -leben with the composer's Dichterliebe (22/6). Lucy Crowe and Anna Tilbrook's recital includes Schubert, Sibelius, Berg, Head, folksong arrangements by Britten and Tate, plus Walton's A Song for the Lord Mayor's table (3/7). Anne Sofie von Otter is joined by Steven Isserlis and Bengt Forsberg for a fascinating selection songs by Wagner, Saint-Saens, Faure, Chaminade, Hahn and Lennon & McCartney (4/7).

Counter-tenor Lawrence Zazzo is joined by Simon Lepper for a programme which includes Britten's Purcell realisations, alongside songs by Mussorgsky, Poulenc and William Bolcom plus the world premiere of Iain Bell's These motley fools (3/6). The Prince Consort (Anna Leese, Jennifer Johnston and Jacques Imbrailo with pianist Alisdair Hogarth) are performing an all Schubert programme including a cantata for soprano, tenor and baritone (4/7). Counter-tenor Christopher Ainslie, with Matthew Wadsworth on theorbo and Kate Hayns on cello, are performing Dowland, Purcell and Monteverdi (24/7).

Franz Schubert by Wilhelm August Rieder
Franz Schubert
by Wilhelm August Rieder
Austrian baritone Markus Werba returns to the Wigmore Hall with Gary Matthewman to perform Schubert's Die Winterreise (15/4). Tenor Toby Spence and Julian Milford perform Schubert's Schwanengesang at a lunchtime concert (28/1). French baritone Stephane Degout is performing an eclectic programme of Schubert, Loewe, Schumann, Liszt, Weill, Wolf, and Faure with Simon Lepper (2/5). Mark Padmore and Till Fellner present Schumann's Dichterliebe alongside the London premiere of Harrison Birtwistle's Songs from the Same Earth (18/5). Ian Bostridge and Julius Drake are doing an evening of Schubert lieder (22/5). Dutch baritone Henk Neven returns, accompanied by Hans Eisackers, to mixe Schubert with Ravel and Ibert plus some folksong arrangements by the Norwegian composer Arne Dorumsgaard (27/5).

Gerald Finley continues his residency with a concert with Julius Drake performing Schubert's Schwanengesang (an interesting contrast with Toby Spence) and the world premiere of Einojuhani Rautavaara's Rubaiyat (31/5). Christoph Pregardien and Malcolm Martineau are performing an all Schubert programme as part of the Songlives series (18/6). Tenor Michael Schade and Malcolm Martineau (again, he's a very busy boy), perform German song from Mozart, and Schubert through to Brahms and Strauss (26/6). Mark Padmore and Julius Drake perform Schubert at their BBC Lunchtime recital (7/7). James Gilchrist and Anna Tilbrook are performing Beethoven's only song cycle, An die ferne Geliebte, alongside songs by Schubert (17/7).

The final of the Kathleen Ferrier Award 2014 takes place on 25 April, with the semi-final on 23 April.

The distinguished French baritone Francois le Roux is giving a masterclass (5/6). And there is a series of three recitals devoted to the songs of Rachmaninov with a group of six young Russian speaking artists (8/6. 29/6, 13/7). The Joseph Marx Song Series reaches its climax with a programme performed by Sophie Bevan, Christopher Maltman and Simon Lepper in which Marx's songs are performed alongside those of his contemporaries including Pfitzner, Schoeck, Zemlinsky and Korngold (27/6)

Pianist Marc-Andre Hamelin is Artist in Residence giving three concerts in three months (1/4, 12/5, 20/6) including his own Passacaglia for piano quintet and the Dvorak Piano Quintet with the Pacifica Quartet. Focus on Colin Currie presents the percussionist in concert, doing a masterclass, giving a family concert and in conversation (4,5,7/4).

Music in the Shadow of War - Wigmore Hall
Music in the Shadow of War includes concerts from an ensemble led by Joshua Bell performing Suk, Janacek, Kodaly and the Elgar Piano Quintet (5/4) and Michael Collins leading an ensemble playing Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time, written and performed when he was in a concentration camp (11/4). Whilst soprano Anna Prohaska's recital Behind the Lines 1914-2014 mixes material from a wide variety of sources in response to armed conflict (14/6)

I have admired the playing of the French pianist Pascal Roge since I was a student, and there is a chance to hear him in Debussy, Ravel, Satie and Poulenc at a BBC Lunchtime concert (9/6). Harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani mixes the music of Bach with that of his son CPE Bach, plus Benda, Couperin and Takemitsu (15/7).

The Ensemble intercontemporain are performing Schumann, Berg, Gyorgy Kurtag and Yann Robin in their programme (27/4). Birmingham Contemporary Music Group performs a wide variety of contemporary classical pieces from Oliver Knussen and Gerald Barry to John Woolrich and Thomas Ades (20/6).

The Wigmore Hall's Tippett retrospective continues with Steven Osborne and the Heath Quartet performing Tippett's Piano Sonatas nos. 2 & 3 and String Quartet No. 5 (26/4). There is a study day devoted to the composer Edwin Roxburgh with performers from the Royal Northern College of Music (26/4) and the Jerusalem Quartet continue their cycle of Shostakovich quartets (30/4, 1/5, 3/5). Viola player Antoine Tamestit, with Roger Vignoles at the piano, performs a programme of music by Vieuxtemps, Bridge, Debussy and Rebecca Clarke (1/5).

Brett Dean - credit Robert Piccol
Brett Dean
credit Robert Piccol
The Britten Sinfonia is giving the premiere of a new work by Brett Dean, a co-commission by the Britten Sinfonia and the Wigmore Hall. Dean himself will play the solo viola part. Also on the programme is music by Georg Tintner and Schoenberg (7/5). The Arditti Quartet are giving the premiere of Julian Anderson's String Quartet No.2 plus music by Giacinto Scelsi, Helmut Lachenmann and Kurtag (15/5).

The all male group New York Polyphony perform a programme which mixes Josquin des Prez and Tallis with Richard Rodney Bennett's A Colloquiy with God which was written for them in the year of Bennett's death (27/6).

Jocelyn Pook has written a new work commissioned by the Mental Health Foundation which will be premiered by the Aurora Orchestra  and the Mind and Soul Choir. The work, called Anxiety Fanfare and Variations for Voices extends Pook's interest in the experience of mental illness. The work will be performed with music by Michael Berkeley and Schoenberg (12/6).
Jocelyn Pook
Jocelyn Pook

Lawrence Cummings and London Handel Players perform their programme When Handel met Leclair recalling Leclair's visit to London in 1728 (10/4). Whilst Vincent Dumestre and Le Poeme Harmonique perform a programme of music pair the music of Michel-Richard de Lalande with that of Marc-Antoine Charpentier in a concert marking the eve of Holy Week (12/4).

Christopher Rousset and Les Talens Lyriques bring a programme of Lecons de Tenebre by Charpentier and Couperin (16/4). And soprano Invernizzi and mezzo-soprano Sonia Prina join Bernard Labadie and the English Concert for a programme of Vivaldi and Pergolesi (17/4). The group is joined by Ann Hallenberg for Arias for Farinelli, exploring music by Broschi, J.C.Bach, Giacomelli, Porpora, Hasse and Leo written for the great castrato Farinelli.

Huw Watkins
Huw Watkins
Rachel Podger leads the Royal Academy of Music Baroque Soloists in A Bohemian Bazaar, with music by Schmelzer, Muffat and Biber (4/5). The Ian Page and Classical Opera perform an all Mozart programme with soprano Sarah Fox and horn player Roger Montgomery (8/5). Stile Antico give us masterpieces from the Golden Age of Choral music, with a new work by Huw Watkins alongside 16th century polyphony (11/5). Lucy Crowe is joining the English Concert for arias and cantatas by Handel (21/5). Herve Niquet and Le Concert Spirituel return with a concert of sacred music by Charpentier, Lully and Louis le Prince (30/5).

Ashley Solomon, Florilegium and soprano Elin Manahan Thomas perform motets and cantatas by Telemann and Vivaldi (1/6). The King's Consort have a fascinating concert in which they perform Corelli and Geminiani alongside Britten's Les Illuminations and Finzi's Dies Natalis (both works premiered at the Wigmore Hall in 1940). The group are joined by the soprano Carolyn Sampson. It will be intriguing to hear the works performed on gut strings and with a soprano of such period pedigree as Sampson (11/6). The Early Opera Company and Christian Curnyn are joined by Ed Lyon, Katherine Manley, Sophie Junker, Zachary Wilder, William Berger and Callum Thorpe for Charpentier's opera La descente d'Orphee aux enfers (17/6). Iestyn Davies and Malcolm Martineau are exploring songs by composers associated with English Cathedrals, including William Croft, Byrd, Stanford, Howells, Francis Jackson and Ivor Gurney (15/6). Davies also joins John Butt and the Dunedin Consort for cantatas by Bachs father and son (24/6).

Christina Pluhar, L'Arpeggiata and counter-tenor Philippe Jaroussky promise a fresh French perspective on the English Orpheus, Purcell (10/7).

There are an evening of Indian classical music with the sarod player Amjad Ali Skhan (25/7). The season closes with the Cardinall's Musick's 25th Anniversary concert (26/7)

And in something completely different, the Wigmore Lates run on Friday Evenings with performances in the auditorium at 10pm and jazz in the bar at 11.15pm.

Further information from the Wigmore Hall website.

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