Spired and emotional: the Oxford Lieder Festival 2020

On paper, the Oxford Lieder festival (wholly online this year, for contagious reasons) ended about a month ago. But not for me. Right up to the last minute, I’ve been extracting the maximum value I possibly can from my catch-up pass, viewing as many concerts as possible before the on-demand video archive finally vanishes from…

Interview with baritone Roderick Williams

Karine Hetherington, from our ArtMuseLondon desk, caught up with busy baritone, Roderick Williams, who has been directing and singing with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and soprano Rowan Pierce in a series of concerts of music by Bach, Handel and Teleman. The concerts are now available to watch via the OAE Player. (Photo…

Promentum..!

Many of you reading this will be aware that the pandemically-adjusted 2020 Proms season has just shifted up a gear. Since mid-July, the BBC has raided its archives and broadcast selected performances from past years. Now, however, there is an all-too-brief fortnight of live performances from an audience-free Royal Albert Hall, available on various platforms…

Wagner Singing Competition at the Wigmore

Climatic scene from Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde 1910 Rogelio de Egusquiz   1979 was my A-level year. Also the year I discovered Richard Wagner. We had one good stereo system in our sitting room which pumped out rock, pop, jazz and classical at all hours, to all corners of our Victorian house in Barnes. One Sunday afternoon,…

Baroque in our time

Giovanni Battista Pergolesi (1710-36) Christmas is nearly upon us and time for the Requiems, the Stabat Maters, to be performed in concert halls and churches up and down the country. Now, more so than ever, audiences, can’t seem to be able to get enough of these religious works. Their familiar musical settings are popular for…

Pietà Power at the Cadogan Hall

    Saturday night, late October, and there’s a chill in the air, and it’s not all down to weather! Brexit dramas, political deadlock, dire economic and climatic warnings have filled the day. I’m relieved to put those eerily dark streets off Sloane street behind me, and to step into the warmly lit Cadogan Hall….

Pietà Premieres in London: Interview with composer Richard Blackford

    In June 2019 Frances Wilson reviewed Pietà, a new choral work by Richard Blackford for The Cross-Eyed Pianist. Drawing on the theme of maternal grief and loss, Blackford took as his starting point the Stabat Mater. It is a hymn to Mary, and portrays her suffering as Jesus Christ’s mother at his crucifixion. In…

Benjamin Britten and the Challenge of Singing

  Portrait of Peter Pears and Benjamin Britten  by Kenneth Green 1943   The voice is an extraordinary thing. Air pumped from our lungs, passes over the fleshy folds in our throat, to emit a full spectrum of sounds. Some more pleasing than others. Last weekend I shouted and screamed so hard at a football…

Pietà by Richard Blackford – world premiere at Poole Lighthouse

Pietà by Richard Blackford Jennifer Johnston, mezzo-sopranno Stephen Gadd, baritone Amy Dickson, saxophone with Bournemouth Symphony Chorus, Bournemouth Symphony Youth Chorus, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Gavin Carr The Stabat Mater, a Medieval hymn which portrays Mary’s suffering as Christ’s mother during his Crucifixion, has been set to music by numerous composers, most notably Pergolesi,…