Tuesday 28 October 2014

Wigmore Hall Spring season preview

Jonas Kauffmann - © Gregor Hohenberg / Sony Music
Jonas Kauffmann
© Gregor Hohenberg/Sony Music
New year at the Wigmore Hall opens with quite a bang with bass-baritone Luca Pisaroni and pianist Wolfram Reiger in Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn and Schubert (2/1/2015), soprano Robert Invernizzi, contralto Sonia Prina and Ensemble Claudiana in a programme of madrigals and chamber cantatas by Monteverdi, Handel, Bach and others (3/1/2015) and tenor Jonas Kaufmann and pianist Helmut Deutsch in Schumann's Kernerlieder and songs by Strauss (4/1/2015). Don't get killed in the rush for tickets. The season continues in a strong manner with a fine mixture of established names and young artists and March finishes with the 2015 Wigmore Hall International String Quartet Competiiton. What follows is my very personal selection

Sir Andras Schiff will be playing an 1820 Viennese forte-piano in Schubert sonatas (9/1), and Beethoven (13/1) and is joined by tenor Mark Padmore for Beethoven and Schubert (15/1)

The Songsmiths (Elizabeth Watts and Mary Bevan sopranos, Anna Huntley mezzo-soprano, Marcus Farnsworth baritone, Jonathan Lemalu bass-baritone and Audrey Hyland piano) have a programme called Secrets and Obsessions with songs from Balfe to Brahms to Butterworth (18/1). And mezzo-soprano Kitty Whately is joined by pianist Joseph Middleton in an all Schumann programme (19/1) for a BBC Radio 3 Lunchtime recital. Counter-tenor Christopher Ainslie, pianist James Baillieu and viola player Xandi van Dijk perform Songs of Night and Travel from Dowland and Purcell to Strauss, Wolf and Brahms (21/1). Baritone Florian Boesch and pianist Roger Vignoles are performing Ernst Krenek's 1920's song cycle Reisebuch aus den osterreichischen Alpen (29/1), and no I have never heard it either.

Robin Tritschler - © Sussie Ahlburg
Robin Tritschler - © Sussie Ahlburg
There is a chance to catch a very different voice in Schumann's Kernerlieder in tenor Robin Tritschler and pianist Graham Johnson's recital in which they also perform a varied selection of Shakespeare settings (1/2/2015). Contralto Marie-Nicole Lemieux is accompanied by Roger Vinoles in an all French programme with music by Faure, Lekeu, Hahn, Koechlin, Debussy and Duparc (27/2).

Soprano Lucy Crowe returns in recital with James Baillieu performing songs by Purcell, Lutoslawski, Wolf and Strauss (9/3). Bass baritone Gerald Finley is accompanied by Julius Drake in Mozart, Beethoven, Brahms, Ives, RVW and Ned Rorem's War Scenes (21/3). The young German baritone Benjamin Appl is accompanied by Graham Johnson in an all Schubert recital (27/3)

Ian Page and Classical Opera are launching the Mozart 250 project celebrating Mozart's childhood sojourn in London with a retrospect of the year 1765 with music from that year, not just Mozart but Gluck, JC Bach and more, with sopranos Anna Devin and Sarah Fox, and tenor John Mark Ainsley (22/1). Christian Curnyn and the Early Opera Company continue the Wigmore Hall's Purcell Retrospective with King Arthur with sopranos Joelle Harvey and Mhairi Lawson, tenors Samuel Boden and Nick Pritchard and bass George Humphreys (11/2) and there is a study afternoon on the work on 14 February, plus a King Arthur family concert on 21 February.

Carolyn Sampson
Carolyn Sampson
Akademie fur Alte Musik Berlin is bringing a programme of Vivaldi and Caldara (6/2). Ashley Solomon and Florilegium perform an interesting selection of Telemann and music written for the courts for Louis XIV and Louis XV (9/2). Harry Bicket conducts the English Concert with soprano Rosemary Joshua and mezzo-soprano Sarah Connolly in music by Purcell, Locke and Blow including songs from The Fairy Queen (10/3). Robert King and the King's Consort explore Venice with a programme of sacred music by Monteverdi and Andrea Gabrieli (13/3). The Purcell Retrospective continues with a programme of songs from soprano Carolyn Sampson with Elizabeth Kenny (lute), Jonathan Mason (bass viol) and Laurence Cummings (harpsichord).

Purcell is not the only composer being celebrated, Andrew Carwood and the Cardinall's  Musick are celebrating the early Tudor composer Robert Fayfrax. Their concert on 23 March includes music for Henry VIII by Fayrfax and his contemporaries, including Fayrfax's Missa Regali ex progenie.

Vocal ensemble Exaudi is directed by James Weeks in a programme devised by Weeks and composer-in-residence Julian Anderson, which mixes Leonin and Machaut with Scelsi, Heinz Holliger and Michael Finissy (3/2). Soprano Sally Matthews joins the Nash Ensemble, conducted by Martyn Brabbins for a programme of Wagner, Mozart and Strauss including an arrangement of the last scene from Capriccio (17/1). Members of the Britten Sinfonia perform a chamber music concert with RVW's Phantasy String Quintet, Beethoven and a premiere of a piece by Ben Comeau.The Nash Ensemble returns with two programmes of works commissioned by them (7/2, 18/3), and are joined by mezzo-soprano Sarah Connolly and violist Lawrence Power for Mozart, Brahms and Mahler's Ruckert Lieder (7/2).

Birmingham Contemporary Music Group gives the premiere of their fourth commission from Irish composer Gerald Barry, alongside music by Ades, Birtwistle and many others (24/2). Composer Wolfgang Rihm is the subject of a Composer Focus Day (28/2) with concerts of his music throughout the day. The Nash Ensemble is conducted by Joanjo Mena for a Spanish themed programme with mezzo-soprano Bernarda Fink performing Turina and Falla, and guitarist Juan Martin in Flamenco guitar music (14/3)

Colin Currie - photo Marco Borggreve
Colin Currie - photo Marco Borggreve
Percussionist Colin Currie joins the Pavel Haas Quartet for the UK premiere of Jiri Gemrot's Quintet for two violins, viola cello and marimba (18/2), and the programme is completed with music by Dvorak, Janacek and Pavel Haas.

Violinist Nicola Benedetti and pianist Alexei Grynyuk are giving a recital of Mozart, Elgar and Beethoven to help celebrate 21 years of Wigmore Hall Learning (24/1). And there is a learning event on 7 February when you are invited to Come and Sing: Early Opera.

The 2015 Wigmore Hall International String Quartet Competition takes place on 28 and 29 March 2015 and is the 13th edition of the competition, and various alumni of the competition return to give recitals and masterclasses during the week of 22-29 March.

Further information from the Wigmore Hall website.

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