Thursday 31 August 2023

Exploring Rachmaninoff's songs alongside those of his contemporaries: Iain Burnside and friends at Wigmore Hall

Sergey Rachmaninoff
Sergey Rachmaninoff
Rachmaninoff wrote songs from his years at the Moscow Conservatory right through to 1916. There are over 80 songs (románsy in Russian) setting Russian romantic writers and poets. Intimately connected to the literature of the Russia that he left behind in 1917, the song genre was one to which Rachmaninoff never returned during his exile.

Running from September 2023 until June next year is a Rachmaninoff Song Series at Wigmore Hall, four concerts curated by pianist Iain Burnside in partnership with Philip Bullock, professor of Russian literature and music at Oxford. The first concert, on 28 September 2023, features soprano Anush Hovhannisyan and bass Jasurbek Khaydarov with Iain Burnside in a programme of songs by Rachmaninoff alongside those of his contemporaries, Nikolay Myaskosvksy (1881-1950), Anatoly Alexandrov (1888-1982), Mikhail Gnesin (1883-1957), Yuliya Veysberg (1880-1942) and Maximilian Steinberg (1883-1946).

The idea behind the series is to intertwine Rachmaninoff romances with those of his contemporaries, many now forgotten, ‘cancelled’ after the Revolution and First World War. There are wonderful discoveries here, both poetic and musical, and many stories to be told, and the curators feel that, leaving aside Rachmaninoff, most of this repertoire has never been heard in the UK before. Philip Bullock will be giving pre-concert talks introducing the repertoire.

Full details from the Wigmore Hall website.

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