All concerts are at the St George's Concert Hall, Lime Street, Liverpool.
Patrons are advised that ticket sales have been very encouraging and some concerts are now sold out.
Ian Bostridge, tenor
Tuesday, 5 February 2008 7.30pm
Britten Holy Sonnets of John Donne
Julius Drake piano
A rare chance to hear one of the world’s leading tenors in Liverpool. Bostridge is ‘not only a lyric tenor of uncanny focus and intensity’ (New Yorker) but also an accredited scholar (D.Phil., Oxford, 1990, ‘Witchcraft and Its Transformations, c.1650 – c.1750’). Along with Schumann’s sublime Dichterliebe, he performs Britten’s Holy Sonnets of John Donne, a powerful response to a visit Britten made with Yehudi Menuhin in 1945 to the concentration camp at Bergen-Belsen where he performed for former inmates. Britten returned home to set to music nine of John Donne’s profound religious meditations in response to his harrowing experience. These songs ‘do not try to depict horror; instead, they offer the consolation of sublime, transcendent rage.’ (New Yorker)
‘Ian Bostridge is simply the perfect interpreter. He doesn’t just sing these songs, he lives them.’
Salzburger Nachrichten – on his performance of Britten
Borodin String Quartet
Tuesday, 11 March 2008 7.30pm
Haydn Quartet in D, Op.64 No.5 ‘The Lark’
Beethoven Quartet in C minor, Op.18 No.4
Miaskovsky Quartet No.13 in A minor, Op.86
Shostakovich Quartet No.13 in B flat minor, Op.138
The Borodin Quartet is unquestionably one of the great music ensembles; founded in 1945, it is the world’s longest-lived string quartet, with an unparalleled reputation and history. Known to play ‘as if each player were actively engaged in playing all the parts, not just the one under his fingers’, the Borodin Quartet has performed an extensive range of the vast string quartet literature. They have a particular affinity for the quartets of Shostakovich and Beethoven, and we hear one each of these in this recital alongside the contrasting music of Haydn, the father of the string quartet, and Nikolai Miaskovsky, the most prominent composer of the Soviet era apart from Shostakovich and Prokofiev.
‘The great quality they bring to their playing of Shostakovich is that elusive one of atmosphere. Without doubt, this has something to do with the fact that the ensemble’s tradition of performing these works goes right back to the time of Shostakovich. Nor is it mere illusion that this association gives the Borodins special insight; it is actually manifested in the music-making. In their performances, there was an unusual aura of intimacy, a mellowness and subtlety that not only invited contemplation, but surreptitiously enveloped you in Shostakovich’s private world.’ The Telegraph
Gould Piano Trio
Tuesday, 22 April 2008 7.30pm
This concert is now fully sold out and only returns will be available
Beethoven Trio in C minor, Op.1 No.3
Ireland Phantasie Trio
Haydn Trio in C, Hob XV:21
Smetana Trio in G minor, Op.15
‘Brimming with verve and panache, this talented trio displayed commitment and maturity in their polished performances… Trio playing at its best’.
Ensemble in residence at the Royal Northern College of Music, the Gould Piano Trio has received rave reviews for its performances around the world. The Trio has established a reputation as one of the most stylish and versatile ensembles performing today. In this recital we hear a varied programme, including Smetana’s Piano Trio, the impetus for which was the tragic death of his young daughter.
‘It will not tolerate a moment of insincerity or exaggeration from the players. Violinist Lucy Gould, cellist Alice Neary and pianist Benjamin Frith met its emotional demands with the highest commitment and deepest artistic insight, seamlessly moving through its shifting, conflicting states of feeling.’ Los Angeles Times
Paul Lewis, piano
Tuesday, 20 May 2008 7.30pm
Mozart Fantasia in C minor, K475
György Ligeti Musica Ricercata (11 Pieces for Piano)
Mozart Rondo in A minor, K511
Schubert Sonata No.18 in G, D894 ‘Fantasy’
A regular sell-out at London’s Wigmore Hall, Paul Lewis is one of Britain’s most sought-after young pianists. A protégé of Alfred Brendel, Lewis brings a fresh approach to everything he plays. ‘Lewis casts forth his intellect with a sense of cosmic play,’ says the Washington Post, and in so doing, he reveals stunningly original interpretations of even the best-known works. His acclaimed Schubert Piano Sonata Series won him both the 2003 South Bank Show Classical Music Award and the 2003 Royal Philharmonic Society’s Instrumentalist of the Year award.
‘Lewis is one of the exceptional artists who compels you to concentrate closely on the music, because his playing is so obviously the product not merely of acute stylistic instinct, but also of deep interpretative thought.’
Geoffrey Norris, The Daily Telegraph
Endellion String Quartet
Tuesday, 24 June 2008 7.30pm
All Beethoven Programme
Quartet in D major, Op.18 No.3
Quartet in F major, Op.135
Quartet in C major, Op.59 No.3 ‘Rasumovsky’
Formed in 1979 and with no change of personnel since 1986, the Endellion String Quartet is renowned as one of the finest quartets in the world. Their schedule includes regular tours of North America and many European countries. In 1997 the quartet was honoured with the Royal Philharmonic Society’s award for ‘Best Chamber Ensemble’ and they are the Quartet-in-Residence at Cambridge University.
‘How extraordinary that we can arrive to rehearse a quartet that we have performed more than a hundred times and experience again the passion, wonder, and sense of discovery of the very first rehearsal... How miraculous that we have as our raw materials the infinite subtlety and good humour of Beethoven’s electrifying synthesis of humanity and spirituality...’
Andrew Watkins, cellist of the Endellion String Quartet
Earlier concerts in the season
Belcea String Quartet
Tuesday 16th October 2007
Schubert Quartet in D minor, D810 ‘Death and the Maiden’
Schubert Quartet in G, D887
The Belcea Quartet has gained an enviable reputation as one of the leading quartets of the new generation. It continues to take the British and international chamber music circuit by storm, consistently receiving critical acclaim for the players’ ‘individual timbres blending magically’. We are delighted to welcome the Belcea back to Liverpool to perform two of Schubert’s late quartets. Quartet No.14, ‘Death and the Maiden’ is arguably one of the greatest, characterised by its harrowing emotional honesty and unrelenting rhythmic force. His final quartet, in G major, with its rawness and unnerving tension, is almost symphonic in its structure and as well developed as many symphonies of its age. This programme offers a chance to hear a sensational quartet playing at full throttle.
‘In very few years, the Belcea Quartet has grown from a live-wire young ensemble into one of the most mature quartets around. Its sound is mellow and warm, there is no sense of the leader over-dominating (the downfall of many quartets), and its unanimity is astounding.’
Chilingirian String Quartet - Nicholas Cox, clarinet
Tuesday, 20 November 2007 7.30pm
Mozart String Quartet in D K499, ‘Hoffmeister’
Hugh Wood Clarinet Quintet (world premiere)
Brahms Clarinet Quintet in B minor, Op.115
Chilingirian String Quartet
Nicholas Cox clarinet
Now in its 35th year of performing together, we offer a warm welcome to the Chilingirian Quartet whose distinguished ensemble playing makes them one of the world’s most celebrated and widely travelled ensembles renowned for its thrilling interpretations of the great quartets. In this chamber concert, the Quartet is joined by the Liverpool Phil’s own principal clarinettist, Nicholas Cox, performing two contrasting Clarinet Quintets. The first is a world premiere by Hugh Wood, now in his 75th year, and specially commissioned by the Rodewald Concert Society. To complete the concert the ensemble performs Brahms’ much-loved Clarinet Quintet.
‘Any woodwind player who can sing through his instrument as though it represents an extension of his musical personality is clearly one of some consequence. Nicholas Cox can and is.’
‘Those indispensable pillars of British musical life, the Chilingirian Quartet’
Ashley Wass, piano
Tuesday, 11 December 2007 7.30pm
Alwyn 12 Preludes
Debussy Preludes (selection)
Liszt Années de Pèlerinage, Book 1
The young British pianist Ashley Wass is recognised as one of the rising stars of his generation. Only the second British pianist in 20 years to reach the finals of the Leeds Piano Competition (in 2000), he was the first British pianist ever to win the top prize at the World Piano Competition in 1997. Ashley Wass begins this recital with a performance of the complete cycle of William Alwyn’s Preludes, one of the finest achievements in the literature of 20th century British piano music, followed by a selection of Debussy’s mysterious and magical Preludes. To complete the recital, he performs the first book of Liszt’s Années de Pèlerinage, creating the atmosphere of Liszt’s travels through Switzerland, the music as fresh as the landscape it portrays.
‘That maturity may have little to do with age is proved by the altogether exceptional artistic character of Ashley Wass. Here is a very special, precious talent... I am sure that for music, the future is safe in Wass’s hands.’
Seen and Heard
Andreas Scholl, countertenor, with the Accademia Bizantina
Wednesday, 23 January 2008 7.30pm
This concert was unfortunately cancelled due to the Illness of Andreas Scholl. We are hoping to rearrange the whole programme for another date. This will be advised as soon as possible.
If you had a ticket for this date and require a refund, please contact the Box office at the Philharmonic Hall.
All Handel Programme
Trio Sonata in D major, Op.5 No.2
Alto Cantata: Nel dolce tempo
Alto Cantata: Mi palpita il cor
Alto Cantata: Vedendo amor
Trio Sonata in B minor, Op.2 No.1
Soprano & Alto Cantata: Amarilli vezzosa
Ottavio Dantone harpsichord/director
Andreas Scholl countertenor
Klara Ek soprano
While Handel may be thought of as an honorary Englishman, he spent a few prolific years in Italy in his twenties. Operas were banned by the Vatican, so unstaged dramatic cantatas – operas in miniature – filled their place. Four of the finest of these are presented by the matchless countertenor Andreas Scholl and the Swedish soprano Klara Ek. They are supported by the Italian period instrument ensemble Accademia Bizantina: ‘it was the players, directed by Ottavio Dantone, who really set the pace … they bore Scholl up with fearless energy’ (The Times). Set in an Arcadian landscape of lovesick shepherds, the cantatas abound with elegant Italianate melody.
‘Scholl’s voice rushes through the bloodstream, so tender and gravely beautiful that time seems to stand still.’