Monday 28 July 2014

Wigmore Hall new season (part one)

Joyce DiDonato ©Simon Pauly
Joyce DiDonato ©Simon Pauly
The 2014/15 season at the Wigmore Hall starts with a whole clutch of treats in the first two months including Joyce DiDonato, Thomas Allen, Renata Pokupic, Ian Bostridge, Franco Fagioli, Anna Caterina Antonacci, Katarina Karneus and Simon Keenlyside. Instrumentally things are just as fascinating with the Pavel Haas Quartet in Janacek, clarinettist Martin Frost as Artist in Residence, and pianist Maria Joao Pires celebrating her 70th birthday. We preview the delights on offer in September and October.

The season opens with a great treat, Joyce DiDonato in recital with Antonio Pappano accompanying in a programmme of Haydn, Bellini, Donizetti, Santoliquido, John Musto and Kern (6/9, 8/9). Shortly afterwards Thomas Allen celebrates his 70th birthday, accompanied by Malcolm Martineau in Haydn, Beethoven, Wolf, Ravel and Quilter (9/9). Croatian mezzo-soprano Renata Pokupic is joined by Roger Vignoles for an interesting programme of Mahler's Ruckert Lieder, Finzi's Let us Garlands Bring and songs by Reynaldo Hahn (always a treat to hear these) (13/9). Ian Bostridge is performing Schubert with Julius Drake (15/9).

Franco Fagioli
Argentinian counter-tenor Franco Fagioli makes his Wigmore Hall debut accompanied by the Accademia Montis Regalis in a programme of music by the Neapolitan composer Nicola Porpora whose pupils included both the star castrato Farinelli, and Joseph Haydn. (21/9). Anna Caterina Antonacci, accompanied by Donald Sulzen, performs Orff, Respighi, Tosti, Poulenc, Ravel and Falla (24/9). Swedish mezzo-soprano Katarina Karneus and Joseph Middleton perform songs by Wilhelm Peterson-Berger alongside Ophelia songs from Brahms, Chausson, Berlioz, Schumann and Saint-Saens (12/10). Simon Keenlyside and Emanuel Ax will be giving two performances of Schubert's Die Winterreise, in what must be a hugely anticipated event (22,24/10). Austrian baritone Florian Boesch is accompanied by Malcolm Martineau in songs by Strauss, Mahler and Schubert (29/10)

The Pavel Haas Quartet are joined by mezzo-soprano Bernada Fink and pianist Anthony Spiri in a programme of Janacek, Martinu and Dvorak, including Janacek's Intimate Letters String Quartet settings of Moravian folk poetry. This is the first of a series of concerts exploring the musical life of Bohemia under the Hapsburgs. Kristian Beuidenhout's piano recital on 10 September launches an impressive two series covering two seasons which explores the chamber music of Mozart. Further concerts include Martin Frost (who is Artist in Residence) and the Apollon Musgate Quartet in Mozart's Clarinet Quintet (16/9), Alina Ibragimova and Cedric Tiberghien in violin sonatas (27/9) and much more. The Nash Ensemble is celebrating its 50th birthday and their 50th Anniversary Season kicks off with Martinu and Dvorak (28/9), followed by a series of wide-ranging concerts exploring core repertoire and their early commissions (18/10, 22/11, 4/12).

Pianists Yaara Tal and Andres Groethuysen are giving a lecture recital on Wagnerisme in France with Wagner's music transcribed for two pianos by Debussy, Dukas and Alfred Pringsheim (the father-in-law of writer Thomas Man) (4/10). Anthony Marwood and friends perform a pair of octets, the well known one by Mendelssohn and the lesser known one by Enescu (7/10). Maria Joa Pires is marking her 70th birthday with a programme of Beethoven piano trios with Agustin Dumay and Antonio Meneses (27, 28/10)

Robert King
Robert King
The Choir of the King's Consort, conductor Robert King, present Faire is the Heaven a programme of English Romantic choral music including William Harris's glorious Faire is the Heaven and Bring us O Lord God, plus Naylor's Vox dicentis: Clama, Stanford's Three Latin Motets (including the gorgeous Beati quorum via) and Howell's Take him, earth, for cherishing. A real treat, not to be missed. (8/10)

Another tempting two season series is Henry Purcell: A Retrospective, which explores much of Purcells music. The series opens with Harry Christophers conducting the Sixteen in Purcell's music for The Indian Queen (17/9), with further concerts to come in the New Year.

Rachel Podger directs the English Concert in a programme of Bach, Vivaldi and Telemann concertos including Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 4. Les Paladins, director Jerome Correas, and soprano Sandrine Piau celebrate Rameau with a programme of music from his operas (1/10). The Belgian  ensemble Vox Luminis, artistic director Lionel Meunier, is performing a programme of cantatas by Pachelbel, Buxtehude and Bach (16/10). Contralto Nathalie Stutzmann directs Orfeo 55 in music by Vivaldi and Handel including arias from Rodelinda, Ariodante and Serse (17/10).

Nicolas Hodges celebrates Harrison Birtwistle's 80th birthday with a piano recital which includes a new work and by Birtwistle, plus Gigue Machine (14/9). Ensemble Modern are performing new commissions from Johannes Schollhorn and Janis Patraskevics along with music by Schoenberg and Friedrich Cerha (10/10). The Scottish Ensemble, artistic director Jonathan Morton, with Alasdair Beatson bring a programme which mixes Arvo Part and Schnittke with Mozart and Haydn, including Haydn's Concerto for violin and piano with string orchestra - no I hadn't heard of it either (30/10).

Our preview of the new season will be continuing with our look at the concerts in November and December.
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