Sunday, 7 October 2012

Oxford Lieder Festival 2012 starts Friday

It's October and time for the 11th Oxford Lieder Festival, 2012. On Friday, Sandrine Piau and Roger Vignoles open the season with a recital of French song. Read about her Wigmore Hall recital earlier this year HERE because it looks as if she's singing a very similar programme, built around Debussy Ariettes oubliés. Piau's voice is light and pure, probably even more suited to a small venue like the Holywell Music Room.

In partnership with Stone Records, the Oxford Lieder Festival has been recording all the songs of Hugo Wolf (read about some recordings in the series so far HERE). Wolf's Spanisches Liederbuch features over 2 days, as there are 44 songs in all. The songs in the first part are a mix of religious and erotic, while the secular songs are like miniature operas, where each song tells a story. Birgid Steinberger, who so impressed at last year's OLF (read more HERE), heads a good team.

Florian Boesch and Malcolm Martineau on 14th October. Anyone who goes to the Oxford Lieder Festival has heard Schubert Die schöne Müllerin dozens of times, but Boesch and Martineau make it feel fresh and original.  I've been speaking with Boesch, who says this will be a very different interpretation to what we are used to. Watch this space!

I'm proud to say I've been a Friend since year 2. Oxford Lieder is especially good at nurturing new talent.  Many OLF discoveries go on to great sucess, but return because the OLF atmosphere is good. Back this year are James Gilchrist and Anna Tilbrook, Sophie Danerman, Lucy Crowe, Katarina Karnéus and Alice Coote. How time flies! These singers show why OLF is good to be part of. The secret of OLF is that it encourages the joy of singing, for its own sake, and from this all else follows.

This year the singers to watch out for include Robert Murray (excellent Steersman in the ENO Flying Dutchman), Susanna Andersson (The Baby in Knussen's Higgelty Piggelty Pop!) (reviewed here) and Stuart Jackson,  who won second prize in the Wigmore Hall International Song Competition. They wouldn't give First Prize to someone so young, but Jackson has such a distinctive voice that I could remember him a whole year after I'd first heard him sing a few songs in a private recital.  Voices like this are unique, and should be nurtured. Jackson's sensitive and intelligent qualities are extremely important in art song. I suspect he'll also be good in opera, especially English repertoire.

Robert Murray sings Janáček The Diary of One who Disappeared, one of my all-time favourite cycles, on 18/10. Susanna Andersson sings Schubert with much loved OLF perennial Stephan Loges on 27/10. Stuart Jackson will be singing on OLF's Day of English Song on 20/10, together with Johnny Herford, William Vann, Jonathan McGovern, Lucy Crowe and John Mark Ainsley.

For more information see the Oxford Lieder Festival website here.

photo : Peter Trimming

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