FREE POP-UP CONCERT: Rainer Maria Rilke

18 October 2015, 3:00pm - 3:30pm

Jacques Imbrailo baritone
Alisdair Hogarth piano

The first of our ‘pop-up masterpieces’. These concerts are completely free: no need to book, just turn up and enjoy a single work where poet and composer meet on equal terms.

Stephen Hough’s Herbstlieder, five settings of Rilke, was premiered at the Oxford Lieder Festival in 2010 by Jacques Imbralio and Alisdair Hogarth. We are delighted that these two star artists can return for today's performance. See what The Times said about that performance back in 2010 below.


From The Times, October 2010:

The pianist Stephen Hough travels the world with concertos and recitals, writes about theology and faith, and is an indefatigable blogger. But that’s not enough. He composes as well — and his latest work, a song cycle called Herbstlieder, was given its world premiere at the Oxford Lieder Festival.

These five autumnal settings of the poetry of Rilke are a rich harvesting of much that has played into Hough’s own musical life. There are shades of Zemlinsky and Schoenberg in the harmonic palette and aching leaps of the first song, 'Herbsttag'; the following 'Klage' seems like a long-missing extra song from Schubert’s Schwanengesang; and spectres of Mahler and Richard Strauss drift through the final two pieces, 'Bestürz mich, Musik' and 'Herbst'.

And yet these songs speak with a distinctive and free voice of their own — one which is beautifully sensitive to the inflection of Rilke’s verse, is not afraid of white space and silence, and which gives the pianist just as much to work on as the singer. Alisdair Hogarth proved the point, flexing his pianistic muscle in rhapsody, in bare chords and in ripe, overflowing figuration.

Jacques Imbrailo’s performance was outstanding: this baritone’s recent successes in opera have perhaps blinded both audiences and entrepreneurs to his potential for being not only a good, but a great lieder singer too.

The Oxford Lieder Festival celebrates lieder as such, but it is also determined to commission and present the newest of new song. Hough’s cycle will be a valuable addition to the repertoire.

2015 brochure

16 October 2015 | 9:00am

2015 Festival: Singing Words: poets and their songs

Previous Event
Gabriel Fauré: A Life Through Song II
18 October 2015, 10:00am - 2:00pm
Next Event
Pop-up Poetry: Goethe - The Sorrows of Young Werther
18 October 2015, 4:00pm - 4:40pm

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