Sunday 9 February 2014

Glorious Wigmore Hall Summer 2014

The Wigmore Hall is even more impressive when you compare it with much bigger venues.. The WH can't afford (or accommodate)  celebrity orchestras and conductors,. Instead it targets more serious audiences who want good music, not necessarily pricey tickets.

The Wigmore Hall does do big-name orchestras  and voices, but in a concise way. Christophe Rousset brings Les Talens Lyriques to Wigmore Street twice this season. First, on 13/4  they're giving Leçons de ténèbre - Couperin and Charpentier. Since this falls during the solemn rituals of Hioly Week, the programme will have special extra-musical significance. This concert will go very nicely with the Charpentier and Lalande concert on 12/4 with Le Poème Harmonique (Vincent Dumestre) , who have done so much for Lalande. Then, on 28/4, Les Talens Lyriques return for a programme of arias written for Farinelli. Farinelli was of course a castrato. Such voices would not now exist, so Rousset has brought in Ann Hallenberg. She will be singing Giacomelli, Hasse, Neapolitans Nicola Popora and Leonardo Leo, and several pieces written by Farinelli's brother, the compoaser Riccardo Broachi.

In 1728, Handel met the French violinist and composer Jean-Marie Leclair in London. The London Handel Players commemorate this  exchange with a concert on 10/4. This will be an important event as Lawrence Cummings and Adrian Butterworth are Leclair specialist, having edited some of his works. Stile Antico promises something even more glorious on 11 May with "Treasures of the Renaissance": vocal works by Byrd, Gombert, Clemens non papa, Lassus, Tallis, Praetorius, Palestrina and a world premiere by Huw Watkins. Watkins thing for detail might work very well here.

More French sacred music on 30/5 with Le Concert Spirituel and Hervé Niquet - Charpentier, Lully and a rare piece for women's voices by Louis Le Prince, chapel master at Lisieux, 150 years before St Thérèse was born. Two more must-go baroque evenings in July: Philippe Jaroussky improvises on Henry Purcell with L'Arpeggiata on 10/7. and the Cardinall's Musick celebrate their 25th anniversary on 27/7. In between, other gems like Iestyn Davies,  Lawrence Zazzo, Florilegium, The Early Opera Company and the English Concert. 

If your tastes are more moderrn, you weill already have booked for Ensemble Intercontemporain on 27/4 doing small ensemble pieces by Berg and Kurtag plus Schumann and Yann Robin (UK Premiere). Also unmissable, the Arditti Quartet on 15/5 -  Scelsi String Quartet 4, Kurtag, Lachenmann and Julian Anderson. In a slightly different vein, there's an Edwin Roxburgh Study Day on Sunday 26/4. The Birmingham Contemporary Music Group return to the Wigmore Hall on 20 June for a wonderful programme (Knussen, Henze, Elliott Carter, Adès, Woolrich etc)

"Normal" Wigmore Hall fare is pretty enticing too - Prégardien and Bostridge singing Schubert (not together), Marc-Andre Hamelin, Perényi and Schiff, Imogen Cooper, Ma and StottAnna Prohaska, The Jerusalem Quartet (Shostakovich), the Elias String Quartet (Beethoven) and a Rachmaninov Song series.   

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