Monday, 2 November 2009

Wigmore Hall new season

Public bookings for the Wigmore Hall new season began at midnight but by 0015 some were already sold out. So if you want to hear Angelika Kirchschlager in an incomparable Strauss and Wolf concert, or on Schubert's birthday, you'll have to stand in line for returns. Ditto Matthias Goerne's continuing Schubert series. Of three concerts, one's completely gone and the others have very few seats left. By the time you read this they'll probably be gone. Almost certainly Joyce DiDonato and Magdalena Kozena seats are gone, too.

But the good news is that some of the less high profile stuff is actually more interesting. András Schiff will be playing Lieder ohne Worte with several different singers, including Kozena and Juliane Banse singing in Lieder mit Worte. Schiff programmes well, so listen when he matches song with non-song pieces. Mark Padmore continues his residency with concerts til May. He'll be singing Henze's Songs from the Arabian on 25/1. I've heard him sing this before so I hope he's gone deeper into it. This one's on BBC Radio 3 so I'll listen to it then.

Alice Coote and Julius Drake do English songs, and Christianne Stotijn is doing an interesting programme on 25th March. Bernarda Fink and Genia Kühmeier have a very good programme of Dvorak, Brahms and Schumann : Fink is of course one of the doyennes of Dvorak. She may be Argentine but she speaks perfect Slovenian. Measha Brueggergosman is looking glamorous! She was the first runner-up the year the Wigmore Hall didn't award first prize in the Song Competition for young singers. Thomas Quasthoff's back on 19/3 singing Frank Martin's Monologues from Jedermann. The Prince Consort are singing on 14/3 – not the same programme as at the Oxford Lieder Festival but a wider selection of Ned Rorem songs.

For me the big events aren't the fancy galas but concerts with interesting new repertoire. That's why Luke Bedford's near the top of my list. Writing for voice is not as easy as people assume, so when I first heard his Or Voit Tout En Aventure (in 2006), I was amazed that someone so young could write so intuitively for voice. Fortunately, the cycle's become something of a classic aand seems to grow in stature the more it's performed. Bedford (born 1978) is definitely distinctive, so circle 24th January on your calendar, when he'll be speaking and premiering a new work Good Dream She Has. Claire Booth (who's made Or Voit her thing) is singing, with Hilary Summers and Christopher Gillett. Oliver Knussen conducts the BCMG.

Also worth going to is the Birtwistle programme on 24/3 where Claire Booth and the Nash Ensemble do a new, unnamed work and the wonderful The Woman and the Hare cycle, to poems by David Harsent (who wrote the libretto for the The Minotaur). Booth will also give the UK premiere of Elliott Carter's Poems of Louis Zukofsky.

Obviously plenty of piano and chamber music, early music and baroque opera but you'lll have to find that yourself.

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