1 SACD hybrid
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19 October 2012
"Burggraaf has a dominant voice, warm and expressive"Luister, 13-5-2013
Simon read music at King’s College, Cambridge. He is a professor of piano accompaniment and a vocal repertoire coach at the Royal College of Music, London where he also co-ordinates the piano accompaniment course. He is an official accompanist for the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Competition.
Performance highlights have included an invitation from the Wigmore Hall, London to present a three concert project on the songs of Joseph Marx; a recital tour with Stéphane Degout which included the Ravinia and Edinburgh festivals; his debut at Carnegie Hall, New York with mezzo Karen Cargill and at the Frick Collection with Christopher Purves; performances of the Schubert song cycles with Mark Padmore including at the Schubertiade, Hohenhems and recitals with Angelika Kirchschlager at La Monnaie, Brussels and at the Wigmore Hall where appearances have included recitals with Christopher Maltman, Elizabeth Watts, Stephan Loges, Sophie Bevan, Sally Matthews and Lawrence Zazzo.
Vocal recordings include Warlock Songs with Andrew Kennedy, two volumes of Debussy Songs and a Strauss disc with Gillian Keith (Champs Hill Records, CHRCD018) and a disc of Mahler songs with Karen Cargill, as well as a song recital disc with Dame Felicity Palmer, and the complete songs of Jonathan Dove with Kitty Whately (Nights Not Spent Alone, also on Champs Hill Records, CHRCD125).
Benjamin Britten is one most important British composers from the second half of the twentieth century. Remarkably, he focused on opera, a dying genre, at least in its current form. Britten's contributions however, among which Peter Grimes, The Rape of Lucretia, Gloriana, The Turn of the Screw, and Death in Venice, managed to remain core repertoire for opera companies to this day. Many of these productions included a role for his artistic partner and life companion Peter Pears. Britten also wrote a number of lieder for this tenor, among which his Serenade for tenor, horn and string orchestra. Yet, Britten excelled in many more genres. He wasn't even 20 years old when he composed his brilliant Phantasy for hobo quartet and his friendship with the legendary cellist Rostropovich led to a Cello sonata, three Suites for cello solo and a Symphony for Cello and orchestra in the 1960s.
Britten never became Master of the Queen's Music, yet he surely had feeling for public sentiments. For example, as a pacifist, he taught his people about world peace through his War Requiem from 1962. Britten was an excellent interpreter of his own work, just like Bartók and Stravinsky. Many of his recordings have been matched, but never exceeded.
During his own time, Gustav Mahler was considered as one of the major conductors of Europe, but nowadays he is considered to a major composer who bridged the Late Romantic period to the modern age.
Few composers are so connected with the symphonic repertory as Gustav Mahler. Composing symphonies was his "core business": in every aspect he developed the symphony towards, and sometimes even over, its absolute limits. Almost all of Mahler's symphonies are lenghty, demand a large orchestra and are particularly great in their expressive qualities. With rustic and mythical atmospheres (the start of the First Symphony), daunting chaos (the end of his Sixth), grand visions (end of his Second), cheerful melodies (opening Fourth), romantic melancholy (the famous adagio of his Fifth), evocations of nature (his Third), megalomanic eruptions in the orchestra (his Eighth), and the clamant atonality of his unfinished Tenth, Mahler's musical palette seemed inexhaustible.
His symphonies are captivating, but some could find it a bit 'over the top' at times. For those, his orchestral songs could undoubtedly show there is an incredibly subtle and refined side to his compositional style as well.
In the Netherlands, Mahler is particularly popular due to its close bond with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, which was already established during his lifetime!
Ottorino Respighi was an Italian composer from the first half of 20th Century. After his studies in Bologna (violin, viola and composition) he moved to St. Petersburg where played for several years for the Imperial Opera. There he also met Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, who became his mentor in composition and orchestration. From 1903 until 1908 he played viola in the Mugellini quintet in Bologna. In 1908, he stayed in Berlin for a short period to study under Max Bruch. In 1913, he became a teacher himself at the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome, of which he became its director in 1924. Two years later, he already left the position to be able to dedicate himself completely to composing. While Respighi did compose nine operas, he is mostly known for his instrumental works. In particular his orchestral triptych of symphonic poems, Fontane di Roma, Pini di Roma and Feste Romane (also known as the Roman Trilogy) became quite famous. His style was a continuation of the French impressionism, and of Rimsky-Korsakov's technique. He also applied early composition techniques by applying melodies from early lute music (Antiche arie e danze per liuto) or harpsichordpieces from the Baroque era (Gli uccelli).
Burggraaf has a dominant voice, warm and expressive