Concert recommendations – May 2013- Wigmore Hall

by / Friday, 05 April 2013 / Published in Musiquity
Concert Recommendations by Musiquity

Concert Recommendations – Wigmore Hall, May 2013

Planning your upcoming month with Musiquity

Musiquity’s concert recommendations are designed to help you plan your next month of music-going.  There’s so much on around London, and often we end up hearing about wonderful things after the fact.  We’re aiming to lessen that issue with our Friday series of concert recommendations featuring programmes at London’s leading performance venues.

This week, we’re back at Wigmore Hall, or, as we like to think of it, the place for people with shorter legs.  We jest, actually the seats are pretty comfortable, but we’d have to recommend that those over 6 feet tall consider an aisle seat.  That’s true for lots of London venues, however!

May is no exception at Wigmore Hall – there’s plenty on, with at least one event every day.  Choosing concert recommendations was a bit of a challenge, but a nice type of challenge to have.

Early in the month, on the 4th of May at 1930, Quatuor Ebène’s present an all-Fauré concert with a final String Quartet and two piano quintets.  You could think of it as a two-for-one sale if you like as there are two pianists rather than the expected one. 🙂  For us, Fauré is the embodiment of French music – light textures, sweeping melodies and refinement.  Fauré’s chamber music should see more play than it does and this is a great opportunity to hear some of his best.

On the 9th of May at 1930, soprano Anna Caterina Antonacci presents a recital of German, French and Italian works accompanied by piano and string quartet.  Interestingly, this is the third time in the 2012-13 season we’ve seen Respighi’s Il Tramonto programmed, which is great,  because it’s a beautiful piece, but slightly odd because it’s not an anniversary or anything that we can see.  (It was published in 1914).  At any rate, Ms Antonacci is a noted recitalist and the programme is full of lovely pieces of 19th century poetry and romantic accompaniments.

Two days later, on the 11th of May at 1930, two jazz greats grace the Wigmore stage.  Christian McBride, double bass and Joshua Redman, saxophone.  There’s no denying that Redman is an amazing saxophonist, but for us, the real draw is Christian McBride.  If you’ve ever harboured doubts about the bass in a jazz group – maybe you felt you couldn’t really hear it, or it had a really boring job, Christian McBride will make you reevaluate.  Virtuosic, melodic, rhythmic…it’s all there in jazz bass perfection.  

Skipping forward to the 22nd of May at 1930, American pianist Jonathan Biss presents the last in his series of events focussing on the music of Schumann.  We really appreciate what Biss is doing with these events (there are two others in May, check out the Wigmore calendar if you’re interested).  He’s looking at context, so, where Schumann fits in the lineage of classical composers.  In this recital, he plays the eight Fantasiestücke Op. 12 and fleeting movements from Janáček ’s On an overgrown path, Berg’s first Piano Sonata and Schumann’s Davidsbündlertänze Op. 6.  It’s a thinking person’s recital -what are the connections and what do they mean?   Should be quite stimulating!

We’ll end this post of concert recommendations with a rhyming performer.  Julian Bliss does indeed rhyme with Jonathan Biss, above.  Not that that is of any importance at all.  🙂  But good news for the poorer amongst us, this concert is FREE!  We like free, don’t we?  Ok, so the concert is Friday 31 May at 2315 is part of the Wigmore Lates series and features the Julian Bliss Septet.   Julian Bliss is a virtuoso clarinetist and he and his band released their debut album, A Tribute to Benny Goodman in 2012.   Per the Wigmore website,  “Expect a stylish and dynamic journey through the great tunes of the swing era.”.  Interestingly, Bliss has a strong classical background and has played the clarinet since he was 4 years old.   This is completely unheard of really, it’s typically an instrument started around 11-12 years of age.  We think it’s safe to say he knows his way around the clarinet by now.  🙂  And having listened to the debut album, there will be some wonderful clarinet playing, backed by a top-notch ensemble.

That’s it for our concert recommendations for this week.  What do you think, did we pick right?  What’s in your diary for May?  Get in touch and let us know!

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