39. An Imperfect Tapestry: Gweneth Ann Rand & Simon Lepper

17 October 2020, 5:30pm - 6:30pm

Following an extraordinary performance of Messiaen’s Harawi at last year’s Festival, Gweneth Ann Rand was described in The Observer as having a ‘sumptuous voice [that is] technically brilliant, verbally agile and expressive’, and that concert, also with the acclaimed pianist Simon Lepper, was subsequently selected as one of The Guardian’s Top Ten Classical Music Events of 2019.

Gweneth Ann has described today’s programme as ‘a personal reflection of Black voices and muses, stretching back in time to the Black Venus, who inspired the poetry of Baudelaire’. The Black Venus refers to the Haitian-born actress and dancer who was a muse to Charles Baudelaire, whose poetry was so memorably set by Claude Debussy. Alongside some of these Debussy songs, they perform Ravel’s Chansons Madécasses (‘Madagascan Songs’) which set poems by Evariste-Désiré de Parny. These poems were ostensibly translations of Madagascan song lyrics, but were more likely original poems written during de Parny’s travels on the island in the 1780s.

As well as traditional songs, and songs made famous by Billie Holiday and Nina Simone, the programme features works by Harry Sever, Adolphus Hailstork and Errolyn Wallen, all acclaimed contemporary song writers. Harry Sever is a conductor and pianist as well as a composer, whose song ‘Tears’ sets the American poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou. American composer Adolphus Hailstork’s ‘Decisions’ is from his 1992 cycle Songs of Love and Justice, setting Martin Luther King Jr. Errollyn Wallen has been described by The Observer as the ‘renaissance woman of contemporary British music’ and in her ‘Peace on Earth’ she sets her own words.

This concert will be streamed completely live from the Holywell Music Room. Shortly afterwards, it will also be available to watch again (using the same ticket and link) until 1 November 2020. Click here for further information on how tickets will work this year.


10 October 2020 | 10:00am

Connections Across Time - A Brief History of Song

Previous Event
38. Before Beethoven: Stephan Loges & Eugene Asti
17 October 2020, 1:15pm - 2:15pm
Next Event
40. Schubert: Schwanengesang: Christoph Prégardien & Michael Gees
17 October 2020, 7:30pm - 9:30pm

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