Tuesday 20 June 2023

A Phoenix Rising: Wigmore Hall's Pride event with the Fourth Choir and a new disc of songs by LGBT composers

Pride news. Unusually there is a flurry of classical music activity around Pride this year. Unusual, because habitually LGBT classical musicians have tended to keep a lower profile. Tenor Brian Smith Walters has a debut recital disc out which features works by LGBT composers, many in the classical canon but others less well known. A single from the disc, by Angela Morley, is out on Friday 23 June, on which date, you can also go to see Nicholas Chalmers conducting the Fourth Choir at Wigmore Hall's Pride event! And on 7 July, there is a Classical Pride event at the Barbican with Oliver Zeffmann conducting the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (see my article)

A Phoenix Rising: An LGBT Song Chronology - Brian Smith Walters, Adam Johnson - Navona Records
Tenor Brian Smith Walters, who recently sang the role of Siegmund in Regents Opera's production of Wagner's Die Walküre [see Florence's review for Planet Hugill], is releasing a recital album on Navona Records with pianist Adam Johnson. Titled A Phoenix Rising: An LGBT Song Chronology it features an array of songs by LGBT composers including Britten (arranging Purcell), Schubert, Saint-Saens, Tchaikovsky, Maude Valérie White,  Reynaldo Hahn, Roger Quilter, Karol Szymanowski, Charles T. Griffes, Aaron Copland, Samuel Barber. and Amanda Ira Aldridge. 

British-born Amanda Ira Aldridge (1866-1958) was the daughter of African-American actor Frederick Aldridge. A singer and teacher, she also composed, often under the name Montague Ring. There are two more contemporary composers on the album, Angela Morley and ANOHNI.

Angela Morley (1924-2009) was an English composer who became familiar to BBC Radio listeners in the 1950s under the name of Wally Stott, providing incidental music for The Goon Show and Hancock's Half Hour. Morley transitioned in 1972 and thereafter lived openly as a transgender woman. Later in life, she lived in Scottsdale, Arizona, Smith Walters' home town and the two met there during the 1990s. 

The album features a song by Morley with words by her widow, Christine Parker. It is a world premiere recording. The tune itself was the theme tune to the made-for-TV movie Madame X, yet after Angela passed, Christine arranged the tune for voice and piano and penned the words. The song, Don’t Ever Try (To Make My Heart Understand), is being issued as a single on 23 June. 

Full details from the Navona Records website.

The Fourth Choir, which celebrates its 10th birthday in 2023, makes its debut at Wigmore Hall on Friday 23 June with a late-night concert featuring music written exclusively by queer composers. The concert, titled Love, Loss & the Whole Damn Thing, takes place during Pride month and is conducted by Nicholas Chalmers (BBC Singers, Nevill Holt Opera) and presented by BBC Radio 3’s Petroc Trelawny. 

The evening features music by Samuel Barber, a celebration of a lifelong queer relationship by the Canadian composer, Stuart Beatch, which sets a poem written as a queer riposte to a well-known piece by Eric Whitacre. There is Jennifer Higdon’s witty Telegram which references both Elvis and Emily Dickinson, the motet Help Us O Lord by Aaron Copland and Michael Tippett’s setting of the spiritual Deep River, plus music by Benjamin Britten, Meredith Monk, Michael Bussewitz-Quarm, Peter Maxwell Davies, Kerry Andrew, William Linthicum-Blackhorse and Leonard Bernstein. 

Full details from the Wigmore Hall website.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Popular Posts this month