When it comes to Lieder, writes Michael Quinn, Schubert was ‘a veritable demigod’. In the space of just 13 years he composed an astonishing 600 Lieder, simultaneously establishing and perfecting the form. This series of lunchtime concerts in St John's brings together five renowned singers and pianists to perform some of Schubert’s most celebrated songs.
Based on poems by Wilhelm Müller (who also wrote Winterreise), Die Schöne Müllerin (The Fair Maid of the Mill) is one of the towering achievements of the Lied form, a quintessentially Romantic tale of doomed youth and unrequited love; intimate, personal and deeply felt.
British baritone Roderick Williams is a star of opera houses, concert halls and festivals worldwide. His repertoire ranges from baroque to contemporary music, including world premieres of works by Sally Beamish, Robert Saxton and other leading composers, while his own award-winning compositions have received premieres at the Barbican and Wigmore Hall and he won Best Choral Composition at the British Composer Awards in 2016. In 2015 he embarked on his ‘Schubert project’: a three-year exploration of the song cycles, and his recording of Schubert Lieder, with pianist Iain Burnside, was released last year to widespread acclaim. He was awarded an OBE in 2017.
Pianist, playwright, broadcaster and International Visiting Artist at the Royal Irish Academy of Music, Iain Burnside has worked with many of the world’s leading singers, performing and recording an eclectic repertoire from Debussy to Schoenberg. He has written and devised a number of highly individual theatre pieces for Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and his latest play, Why Does the Queen Die?, received its premiere at the Oxford Lieder Festival in 2014.
Williams is an unfailingly intelligent singer and is matched every step of the way by Burnside Gramophone
Williams … seems well on the way to joining that select company of fine contemporary British Schubertians Bachtrack