O No, it wasn’t. . !

Anyone going to the City Hall last Thursday anticipating a once in blue moon opportunity of hearing the virtually never heard, let alone never seen ballet music in Mozart’s opera Idomoneo will have been disappointed.

They may even have felt cheated.

Depending on tempi, around 25 minutes of music should have been heard. There was five minutes of the ballet – the regal Chaconne, preceded by the Overture to the opera.

It was bad enough that the brochure blurb for the Royal Northern Sinfonia concert effectively states that Idomeneo was a “ballet score” by Mozart with no reference to the opera in which the ‘ballet’ is little more than five dance episodes.

The City Hall is not to blame; the fault rests with the orchestra in furnishing misleading information.

 

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Julius Caesar meets Cleopatra

English Touring Opera arrives in Buxton this coming weekend with the two staged offerings in the company’s autumn season, Handel’s Giulio Cesare in Egitto and Rameau’s Dardanus.

As always, Sheffield is not on the itinerary as it is for ETO’s spring tour but, as in recent years, there will be a whistle-stop visit on the 5th of November to anchor a concert featuring a major choral work – Bach’s B minor Mass this year!

The autumn tour – usually with Baroque operas – has a particularly magnetic draw this time round in Handel’s opera, Julius Caesar in Egypt, usually known as just as Giulio Cesare – or Julius Caesar!

Not that it is merely a chance to see what many regard as the composer’s operatic masterpiece in this neck of the country; it also comes with a considerable bonus. It is being performed absolutely complete!

It rarely is and is usually cut as its four-hour running time is regarded as a deterrent. Indeed, ETO sees it that way and so is performing it in two parts with fabricated titles on Saturday (21st October) in Buxton: The Death of Pompey at 4pm and Cleopatra’s Needle at 8pm.

For some reason, part two begins with a repeat of the last five scenes of part one. It can only be assumed that this has something to with the two parts being performed 24 hours apart at some venues.

Handel wrote it in three acts over which, in brief, the following is enacted:

Pursuing his enemy Pompey, Caesar follows him to Egypt. Pompey’s wife, Cornelia, implores him not to kill him. He is about to grant her wish when Tolomeo, co-ruler of Egypt, presents him with the head of Pompey. Cornelia and Pompey’s son, Sesto, swear revenge.

Tolomeo’s sister and co-ruler, Cleopatra, wants to depose him. She sees a chance with Cornelia and Sesto’s quest for vengeance and, in disguise, seduces Caesar to get him on her side. Tolomeo (who lusts after Cornelia, by the way!) makes a failed attempt to slay Caesar.

Cleopatra hears reports that Caesar, by now smitten with her, has drowned. Tolomeo imprisons her. Far from being dead, Caesar appears and frees her. Sesto kills Tolomeo. Caesar proclaims Cleopatra as Queen of Egypt and returns to Rome.

Such is, or was Handel’s scenario. It is clear from production photos of the staging that the period is not 47 BC and, in all likelihood, the location not Egypt.

On paper, there is a super cast with South African countertenor Christopher Ainslie as Caesar and highly rated young Lancashire-born soprano Soraya Mafi as Cleopatra who get to sing all nine arias each that Handel penned for the characters.

Australian-born mezzo-soprano Catherine Carby is Cornelia, outstanding British mezzo Kitty Whately is Sesto (a trouser role and, yes, Kevin is her dad in case you didn’t know!) and Benjamin Williamson, another excellent countertenor, plays Tolomeo.

English Touring Opera’s period instrument orchestra, the Old Street Band is conducted as always by one-time countertenor Jonathan Peter Kenny and the performance is given in its original Italian with English surtitles.

The Rameau (20th October), reckoned a neglected masterpiece, is ETO’s first foray into French Baroque opera – Dardanus is the son of Jupiter who spends most the time trying to secure the hand of Iphise – and the production marks the British premiere of the 1744 version.

 

Schubert in Sheffield

Sheffield University’s new concert season, in effect, gets into motion this Thursday, the 5th of October, with a 45-minute rush hour concert given by PhD students at Firth Hall.

The city’s busiest concert season is again divided into four strands: Forged in Sheffield, featuring concerts by in-house forces; Sound Laboratory, which caters for contemporary music; Global Soundtracks, taking in an array of world music; and SongMakers.

This time round the latter provides the umbrella title for three Lieder concerts hinged on Schubert presented in collaboration with the annual Leeds Lieder festival and a performance of Bach’s B minor Mass in association with English Touring Opera on the 5th of November.

The season proper can be said to start on the 15th October with the first of three Schubert concerts under the heading ‘Schubert in Sheffield’. Every indication is that the increasingly acclaimed pianist Joseph Middleton is curating them and he begins in the realms of Goethe.

Of the 600-plus Lieder – or songs – that Schubert penned, 82 are to texts by Goethe, though not all different texts as the composer was prone to re-visiting a text, perhaps with a gap of years intervening, sometimes more than once. One song actually exists in six versions!

It’s one of his Mignon Lieder from Goethe’s multi-volume novel Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre (Wilhelm Meister’s Journeyman Years), Nur wer die Sehnsucht kennt – Only those who know longing.

Mignon is a female character in the Apprenticeship books of the philosophical saga who Wilhelm rescues on his travels the tomes, too, introducing a lugubrious blind Harper (a minstrel) who is given texts that Schubert also set.

Both are encountered at the initial concert: the three Gesänge des Harfners (Harper Songs), plus the earlier Harper song setting, Der Sänger, and four of the six Mignon Lieder, including Kennst du das Land – Know you the Land? and the fifth setting of Nur wer die Sehnsucht kennt, as a duet!

After those, we meet Gretchen from Goethe’s Faust in three songs, including the well-known Gretchen am Spinnrade and slightly less familiar Der König in Thule.

Among 16 other song masterpieces in a Goethe–Schubert timeline are the two settings (seven years apart) of Wandrers Nachtlied, Rastlose Liebe, Der Erlkönig, Ganymed, Geheimes, Der Musensohn and Wilkommen und Abschied.

Two of the finest up and coming singers around, Slovenian soprano Nika Gorić and British baritone James Newby give voice to them – the latter was awarded the Richard Tauber Prize for the best interpretation of a Schubert Lied in 2015!

Details are scarce at present on Joseph Middleton’s second Schubert concert on the 21st of November with soprano Mary Bevan, no less, which deals with myths and legend. Haydn’s cantata Arianna a Naxos has filtered through, plus Italian songs by Schubert and Mozart.

Ditto: to a point, the third concert on the 13th of February with much-praised young baritone Ashley Riches, although two song cycles appear to be scheduled, Schubert’s Schwanengesang and Beethoven’s An die ferne Geliebte (To the distant Beloved).

Details of the whole University Concert Season can be found at www.sheffield.ac.uk/concerts

 

Music in the Round – Autumn 2017

World of Strings, an ongoing exploration of stringed instruments from around the globe and the music played on them, is launched by Music in the Round in its autumn series of concerts in Sheffield.

It remains to be seen how the project develops, especially with the ever-increasing amount of what is termed ‘world music’ being presented exclusively at concerts.

All genres are featured – classical, jazz, folk, as well, and there is every indication that fusion will be an element. Also, that string instruments will not have the stage entirely to themselves.

The second of the first two ‘WoS’ concerts in the season (18th November) from Sheffield’s acclaimed global music collective, Rafiki Jazz, provides clear evidence of this with the inclusion of Caribbean steelpans and kawala flutes among other exoticisms.

More conventional instruments, although perhaps not among percussion items, are heard 24 hours earlier at the star-studded opening concert (17th November) of the World of Strings project, ‘Strad in Rio’.

Other than percussion, violin, cello and guitar to be precise, including the world-renowned Russian violinist Viktoria Mullova and a celebrated cellist who is no stranger to Sheffield having been born here, Matthew Barley, who happens to be ‘Mr Mullova’.

Paul Clarvis is the distinguished percussionist and, while unable to speak for João Luis Nogueira Pinto, there is no reason to doubt the Brazilian guitarist’s credentials in this company, least of all as the music (of the popular variety) is from his country.

Another stellar visitor – in fact, a long time returnee! – in the season is pianist Imogen Cooper (14th October) with a programme of Beethoven, including Sonata No 31, Haydn and Thomas Adès.

A much quicker returnee is the Van Kuijk Quartet (28th October) with Debussy, Mendelssohn: Op 44 No 2, and Akira Nishimura: String Quartet No 2 – Pulse of the Lights, at Upper Chapel.

At the same venue, the Marmen Quartet ends it tenure (21st October) on Music in the Round’s ‘Bridge Quartet’ scheme with Mozart, Haydn and Brahms.

The Leonore Piano Trio continues its survey of the complete violin sonatas, cello sonatas and piano trios by Beethoven (11th November) and the trio’s pianist, Tim Horton, launches in to another cycle, Schubert’s major piano sonatas over four concerts (2nd December).

All three musicians will be on duty when Ensemble 360 gets the season underway on the 9th of October with a Schubert string quartet: No 11, Berio: one his 14 solo Sequenzas, Mahler and Korngold: Piano Quintet.

Two further ensemble concerts take in Coleridge-Taylor’s Clarinet Quintet, Fauré’s Piano Quintet No 1 and the first performance of a work, commissioned by Royal Philharmonic Society, by Patrick Brennan (8th November).

The other (29th November), features more Berio – another Sequenza, Beethoven, Mozart and Dohnányi’s jolly Sextet for violin, viola, cello, horn, clarinet and piano.

There are also three attractively planned Thursday lunchtime concerts at Upper Chapel from individual ensemble members.

Roderick Williams hosts a seasonal concert at Upper Chapel (16th December), which also involves Sheffield Young Singers and Sheffield-born mezzo-soprano Anna Harvey of ever-increasing note.

For jazz aficionados, the Jason Rebello Trio (1st December), in association with Sheffield Jazz, is a must and all the concerts take place in the Crucible Studio, except as noted.

Full details of the season can be found at www.musicintheround.co.uk

 

2017/ 18 Sheffield International Concert Season – 1

Marche Écossaise; Marche écossaise sur un theme populaire to give it its full title, is not the first piece of music you would think of if asked to name a work by Debussy.

In fact, it has what can be called quiet popularity, although in all likelihood has never been heard in Sheffield before, at least the orchestral version.

On the 29th of September, ‘Scottish March on a Popular Theme’ (circa, seven minutes) is the first work heard when the 2017/ 18 Sheffield International Concert Season opens at the City Hall.

Debussy was on the breadline in 1891 so when a Scottish general commissioned him to write a march based on traditional melody of the Ross clan he readily agreed.

A four-handed piano piece in its original form, the much more solvent composer orchestrated it in 1908.

Nothing remotely unfamiliar about the work that follows, Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No 1 with Alexander Gavrylyuk as soloist, before Sir Mark Elder and the Hallé end proceedings with Stravinsky’s Firebird score.

Scotland and ballet figure in the following concert (12th October) from the Royal Northern Sinfonia under the baton of distinguished Baroque specialist Paul McCreesh.

The nearest he gets to the period, though, is the ensuing Classical era: Haydn’s Cello Concerto No 1 with the highly thought of Guy Johnston and Mozart, the rarely heard ballet music from his opera Idomeneo – not ballet as the brochure blurb can be construed as suggesting!

Mendelssohn’s Symphony No 3, the Scottish, which he actually christened Scotch, posterity changing it, as it has nothing to do with Scotland’s famed alcoholic distilment, completes the evening.

We are definitely in the realms of ballet: an unspecified suite from Prokofiev’s Cinderella and Ravel’s Daphis et Chloé Suite No 2, when the Brussels Philharmonic pays a visit (11th November), the orchestra having had three previous names since its formation in 1935.

Preceding them is another ‘stranger’, Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Passchendaele, a multi-textured First World War commemorative piece premiered in 2014, followed by the regularly encountered (to say the least!) Violin Concerto No 1 by Bruch – the famous one!

The orchestra’s principal conductor Stéphane Denève is the podium and the soloist in Bruch, Nikolaj Znaider.

The Hallé has a further concert before the end of the year (8th December) and there is yet more unfamiliarity among the offerings, at least as far as Sheffield concert audiences are concerned: Respighi’s The Fountains of Rome.

Celebrated Italian maestro Carlo Rizzi is the conductor and follows it with something everyone knows by another fellow countryman, Rossini’s William Tell Overture, before moving on to Rachmaninov’s monumentally lush Symphony No 2.

The popular annual Christmas Concert with the Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus and, yet again, the famous Black Dyke Band, takes place the following week (16th December).

Concerts in the rest of season – eight of them – will be expounded on nearer the time it recommences in the New Year.

Tasters include, Delius: Paris: The Song of a Great City; Shostakovich: Cello Concerto No 1; Mussorgsky/ Ravel: Pictures at an Exhibition. The Hallé/ Sir Mark Elder, Alisa Weilerstein: cello, on the 19th of January.

Khachaturian: Masquerade Suite; Prokofiev: Violin Concerto No 1; Tchaikovsky: Symphony No 4. Russian State Philharmonic Orchestra/ Valery Polyansky, Alexander Sitkovetsky: violin, on the 3rd of March.

Debussy: Children’s Corner; Schumann: Piano Concerto; Stravinsky: Symphonies of Wind Instruments (1947); Debussy: La Mer. City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra/ Mirga Gražinyte-Tyla, Rudolf Buchbinder: piano, on the 16th of March.

Mahler: Symphony No 2 ‘Resurrection’. Bruckner Orchester Linz/ Markus Poschner, Sheffield Philharmonic Chorus, on the 5th of May.

 

Lucio Silla – review

Mozart’s Lucio Silla, Buxton International Festival’s third operatic offering this year in a co-production with the renowned period instrument orchestra, The English Concert, is a visual mess!

Redemption can be found in the strong music values, although even here it can sound a little thin at times. Not even Mozart could write so many arias to cram into just over 150 minutes each with the same high degree of quality.

For a predominantly young cast, the singing is extremely accomplished and delivered with considerable confidence no matter how technically difficult. Where two of the singers are concerned, the assurance is extraordinary!

The two en travesti (in trouser roles) as it happens, originally written for castrati: the exiled Lucio Cinna – Czech soprano Karolina Plickovcá, and his friend Cecilio – New Zealand soprano Madeleine Pierard, Buxton’s Louise in the concert performance of Charpentier’s opera two years ago.

Both act and look uncannily like men (one notch at least for the production team) and have superbly sound vocal techniques. Coloratura runs are fearlessly and faultlessly delivered as is all they do is and always with firm vocal line.

Rebecca Bottone, as Cecilio’s beloved Giunia, took a while to entirely warm up but when she did there was next to nothing to carp about – on the contrary! In the other, less demanding female role of Celia, Lucio Silla’s sister, Fflur Wyn sings with great vocal beauty and no apparent embarrassment over her weird costuming.

Silla himself is in the more than capable dramatic and vocal hands of Joshua Ellicot, a tenor who usually livens things when he appears, but not to the lengths of inadvertently causing inappropriate loud audience laughter at the opera’s dénouement on the opening night.

Leading us back to American stage director Harry Silverstein’s production and a taste of its many shortcomings!

Opera seria, what Lucio Silla is, is not easy to stage for contemporary audiences.

Dramatically, it is primarily static and affected so a point of focus is needed for involvement and an understanding of what’s happening – it just isn’t there!

Silverstein’s appears not to know what to do with the characters. They stand around like spare parts as one their number sings a long aria, or engages in a lengthy stretch of recititative.

How many times do we see a character singing an aria apparently begin to exit the stage before turning back and continuing it? Sometimes more than once! Or the number of times someone sitting on the lower steps of a metal staircase?

Throughout, the boring-on-the eye set consists of three giant screens of scaffolding construction, initially draped in plastic gaudy, abstract coloured plastic sheeting.

On the first night, one peeled off by a third of its length as one character sang O ciel (Oh, heavens)! It came down completely, as did the other two, when Silla tore them down in a fit of pique!

Costuming is utterly bizarre. The military look as if they strayed from Ivor Novello’s Ruritania. The chorus sports motley clothing that could have come from a charity shop.

Celia wears what looks like party dresses. Cinna looks like a beau from Mozart’s time, while a shabby Cecilio wears a hoodie top and turned up jeans.

 

Albert Herring – review

Buxton International Festival’s second opera mounted under its own steam, Britten’s Albert Herring, can be summed a little more briefly than Verdi’s Macbeth.

It is little short of magnificent and entirely merited the exuberant reception at the end!

The whole cast is thoroughly engaging and turn in a wonderful ensemble performance with everyone playing off each other, especially the six-member May-Day Festival Committee with some highly experienced singers in its number.

Yvonne Howard, in excellent voice, is a suitably formidable Lady Billows and Lucy Schaufer beautifully characterises her put-on minion Florence Pike, at the same time assuming petty importance in imitation of her redoubtable ladyship.

The whole committee of worthies is vividly etched: Mary Hegarty’s genteelly dizzy schoolmarm Miss Wordsworth; Jeffrey Lloyd Roberts’ puffed up mayor, Mr Upfold; Nick Merryweather’s cardboard cut-out vicar Mr Gedge, skilfully given an indefinable different edge; and John Molloy’s stiff-necked Superintendent Budd – impressive bass voice, too!

Also vocally impressive is Morgan Pearse as Sid, a well-focussed light baritone with an easy stage manner and, as his village bombshell girlfriend Nancy, Kathryn Rudge simply uses her gorgeous mezzo-soprano voice to great effect.

Heather Shipp cuts crest-fallen, almost tragic figure as Mrs Herring when Albert finally wakes up and turns on her, while as the greengrocer’s lad himself, Bradley Smith could hardly be more of a simpleton, bespectacled, nervously shy and insecure.

Leading us to his transformation and the only really contentious aspect of the production, which is otherwise left firmly in the post-war 1940s by director Francis Matthews.

A Carousel-like dream ballet is added to the instrumental interlude when Albert returns home after his crowning and a ‘Stranger’ (a silent Simeon John-Wake), who pops up throughout, presents himself and begins gyrating suggestively, which Albert eventually starts emulating.

Sexually suggestive, it leads to the implication that Matthews perhaps sees (and stresses) something in the dubious theory of a homosexual subtext seen by some in the opera, which is held up as a sort of ‘coming out’ ritual.

On a more pertinent note, the Northern Chamber Orchestra (effectively its principals) and conductor Justin Doyle were alert to every nuance of Britten’s complex, constantly shifting score.

 

Macbeth – review

Enthusiastic applause greeted the final curtain of this rare staging in its original version of Verdi’s opera as part of this year’s Buxton International Festival, as it is now known.

Almost certainly generated by the audience having experienced a highly dramatic, often compelling performance, it also revealed that the 1865 version (the one usually heard) is not as overwhelmingly superior as it is held up to be.

Verdi’s first thoughts in 1847 may appear a little rough and ready by comparison but they were more direct and incisive. Only with Lady Macbeth’s act two aria La luce langue can the revised version be said to truly score – not that the one it replaced is exactly a disaster!

Distinguished stage director Elijah Moshinsky lets Verdi tell the story with little interference in a minimalist, darkly lit production, heightening the dangers lurking round every corner.

A miscalculation is the dead Lady Macbeth’s body being wheeled on for Macbeth to grieve over before Birnam Woods ‘walk’, suggesting the aria he sings over the corpse is associated with it instead of him feeling sorry for himself before being told she was dead, offstage!

A much more clever and successful idea is the witches engaging in a Tiller Girl dance routine across the front of the stage at the start of act three, although having the chorus of refugees at the same location singing seated in a line at act four’s outset made little dramatic sense.

What definitely does, though, are both instances of video pyrotechnic projection; and having Malcolm in full battle regalia singing from a balcony box high up in the Opera House auditorium was a production whim that came off.

Music values are generally high, although a question mark surfaces over Kate Ladner’s totally committed Lady Macbeth. Vocally, she gives it her all and excitingly shirks nothing in the role’s high register work, but there is not a lot of vocal body supporting it below.

It suggested the part is not for her, at least at this stage in her career if she wants it to continue and not risk burn out.

Stephen Gadd’s no less committed Macbeth is sturdily and tirelessly sung while capturing the character’s uncertainty over his murderous actions, but his stage presence is not particularly strong in creating the all-conquering general he is supposed to be.

Young Moldovan bass Oleg Tsibulko makes a highly favourable impression for the future as Banquo and South Korean tenor Jung Soo Yun turns in an extremely well sung, open-throated account of Macduff’s act four aria, but tends to look a trifle lost dramatically much of time.

First night nerves, perhaps? – which may also have something to do with the afflictions suffered every so often by the usually ultra-reliable augmented Northern Chamber Orchestra under the entirely idiomatic baton of Stephen Barlow.

No such problems for superb Festival Chorus, from which tenor Luke Sinclair has a night off to make a splendid Malcolm in his ‘bird nest’!

 

Baroque to Broadway

Baroque to Broadway is an agreeable offering at the third in the new concert series at the Whirlow Spirituality Centre’s Chapel of the Holy Spirit this coming Friday (30th of June).

It features soprano Chloe Saywell, whom you may have encountered with Opera on Location among other things and has a particular partiality for English art song – reflected in the concert!

With her are trumpet/ flugelhorn player Matthew Redfearn, now freelance after 12 years as director of music at Ecclesall Parish Church; and pianist Stephanie Pitts, in the past a busy repetiteur and occasional recital accompanist, now Head of Music at Sheffield University.

Proceedings begin with two arias from Handel’s cantata Apollo and Daphne, Ardi adori – in which she tells Apollo that he desires, adores and beseeches her in vain; and Come in ciel – when she tells him, as Neptune calms the stormy ocean waves, so he should restrain his love.

Thomas Morley (strictly, pre-Baroque) follows with two songs, Thyrsis and Milla and the more familiar It was a Lover and his Lass – “hey, ding, a ding, a ding!”

We move considerably forward in time to Cecilia McDowall (b1951) for a trumpet/ piano piece, A Choir of Angels, although you could say, stay back at the same time! “The Baroque brilliance of A Choir of Angels,” is publisher Boosey & Hawkes’ description of it.

Two frequently encountered Mozart songs are then heard, most regularly, Das Veilchen – The Violet (actually, it concerns a rose!), and Der Zauberer – The Magician.

After which, we move forward permanently to the 20th century, initially to hear three of Gerald Finzi‘s Five Bagatelles for clarinet and piano played as transcriptions on the flugelhorn: Prelude, Forlana and Fughetta – No’s 1, 4 and 5.

Two songs by Roger Quilter, Now Sleeps the Crimson Petal and Love’s Philosophy, precede a rather lovely, lesser-known song by John Ireland, If There Were Dreams To Sell, before moving right up to date with Chris Noble: Spring Song in Winter.

Yes, it is the Platform 4 composer! and we remain in the present for Redfearn: If Only, a piece by Matthew Redfearn himself and indulges in composing when he has the time, before three pieces by Leonard Bernstein, all for trumpet and piano:

Rondo for Lifey – Lifey being the name of Judy Holiday’s dog; Lucky To Be Me, an instrumental version of the song in composer’s musical On the Town; and Red, White and Blues, a heavily blues-influenced piece.

Little needs to be said about the two final items, Jerome Kern’s Smoke Gets in Your Eyes and Cole Porter’s Night and Day, except all three musicians come together for the latter.

 

Anxieties and Desires

Bradfield Festival of Music gets underway on the 23rd of June and once again celebrated names will be appearing at the historic church of St Nicholas.

Particularly attractive is the concert on the 29th of June when one of the country’s foremost piano accompanists Audrey Hyland is in residence with Songsmiths, an itinerant group, or pool of well thought of singers she formed in 2012.

With her at Bradfield will be Elizabeth Watts, a soprano who needs no introduction to Sheffield audiences; Nicky Spence, one of the country’s brightest young tenor talents; and Christopher Ainslie, a South African-born countertenor rapidly making a name for himself.

Songsmiths is not dissimilar to Graham Johnson’s highly successful Songmakers’ Almanac, created some 35 years earlier to explore neglected piano-accompanied song repertoire, often with themed programmes and also featured the spoken word.

The aim of the newer group is, to quote: “to connect songs in varied languages and styles to unite the world of song through a common theme, story and emotional journey.”

In the process, neglected parts of the song repertoire are also tapped, as happens at the Bradfield concert. On the other hand, a number of items are familiar among the 23 scheduled for an exploration of Secrets and Obsessions.

Although there is no mention of the spoken word, it should perhaps not be ruled out. It was fairly prominent in the group’s excellent White Camelia – The Story of a Courtesan at last year’s Buxton Festival, but with fewer songs.

Widely eclectic and stylistically diverse, a detailed description of each song being performed in Secrets and Obsessions would border on tedium so here they are with minimal comment.

Trust Her Not, a jolly duet by Michael Balfe to a Longfellow text; Purcell/ Tippett: Sweeter than Roses; Schubert: Gretchen am Spinnrade (Goethe’s ‘Faust’); Carl Loewe: his setting of Ach neige, du Schmerzenreiche, another ‘Gretchen’ text from Faust; Frank Bridge: Come to me in my dreams, a setting of Matthew Arnold’s ‘Longing’; Britten: Midnight on the Great Western (from Winter Words); Die Nacht, a Richard Strauss gem! Brahms: Da Unten im Tale, a German folk song duet; Schumann: Zweilicht (from Liederkreis Op 39); Hugo Wolf: Du denkst mit einem Fädchen (from the Italian Songbook); Britten: As it is, plenty (from On this Island).

At which point there is an interval, before carrying on with:

Heimliche Aufforderung, one of the four well-known songs, Op 27, Richard Strauss wrote as a wedding present to his wife; Mendelssohn: Hüt du dich, a popular text from ‘Des Knaben Wunderhorn’; Britten: Lost is my quiet, a duet after Purcell; Japanese – anyone’s guess what this is! not so, Heiss mich nicht redden, also known as Mignon 1 and one of Hugo Wolf’s ‘Mignon’ settings from Goethe’s ‘Wilhelm Meister’; Kennst du das Land? the best known Mignon ‘song’ heard in Wolf’s setting of it; Reynaldo Hahn: Néère (from Études Latines); Granados: El majo discreto (from Tonadillas in an Old Style); Schubert: Der Doppelgänger (from Schwanengesang); Rodrigo: Adela (from Twelve Spanish Songs); Butterworth’s Is my team ploughing? (from A Shropshire Lad); and some Tom Lehrer: the anarchic Poisoning Pigeons in the Park.