Sunday, May 17, 2015

Ian Bostridge and Julius Drake at the Wigmore

Wonderful concert at the Wigmore Hall last night with Ian Bostridge and Julius Drake!

It was an all-Schubert programme. The first three songs were by Matthaus von Collin including the sand and melodramatic Der Zwerg about a dwarf murdering his lover the Queen (shades of Game of Thrones).

Then Goethe including Der Musensohn which made me think of Der Alpenjager, An die Entfernte and Am Flusse which inevitably recalls the Winterreise.  Wilkommen und Abschied (1822) had echos of Beetoven's Les Adiuex (1809/10) and Wandrers Nachtlied II was (like the others) beautifully executed, with the final intimation of deep peace (in death) wonderfully conveyed.

An Die Leier by Franz von Bruchmann (a Redemptorist poet who had 5 songs set by Schubert!) after Anacreon is a fine comic song where the poet wants to sing of heroes but his lyre will only sing songs of love, and we also had his Am See and Im Haine which again was witty and well observed.

The first half concluded with a masterly rendition of Erlkonig: I've never heard the drama so clear and the parts done so well.

The second half was all Goethe. We started with the 1815 setting of An den Mond, and then Nahe des Geliebten with one of the finest evocations of sunrise I have ever heard: this was a poem written by Goethe to a melody by Zelter, improving on a poem by the poetess Freiderike Brun. I found it especially moving: the poet say he thinks of, sees and hears his beloved  in natural phenomena and finally says "I am with you" - again the wonderful poetry and music were perfectly expressed by the performers. Nachtgesang, Liebhaber in allen Gestalten, Meeres Stille and Auf dem See were beautifyully performed and we then had An Mignon, Erster Verlust and Ganymed before we concluded with the 1819 setting of An den Mond - completely different music.

Three encored concluded a wonderful evening, and they signed some of their Wigmore Hall Live CDs. I was able to thank Ian in person for his wonderful book.

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