Soprano Mary Bevan and pianist Jopseph Middleton perform a programme exploring the genius of Baudelaire and Goethe, and how texts by them unlocked very specific musical landscapes in settings by Debussy, Duparc, Chausson, de Bréville, Séverac, Fauré and Schubert.
Praised by Opera for her “dramatic wit and vocal control” in stand out performances on opera and concert platforms, Mary Bevan is a winner of the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Young Artist award and UK Critics’ Circle Award for Exceptional Young Talent in music.
Pianist Joseph Middleton specialises in the art of song accompaniment and chamber music and has been highly acclaimed within this field. Described in the BBC Music Magazine as “one of the brightest stars in the world of song and Lieder”, he has also been labeled “the cream of the new generation” by The Times and “a perfect accompanist” by Opera Now.
Mary Bevan (soprano) read Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic at Trinity College, Cambridge, before training at the Royal Academy of Music in London. She became an Associate Artist of Classical Opera in 2010, and is a winner of the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Young Artist award and the UK Critics’ Circle Award for Exceptional Young Talent in Music.
Her opera roles include Susanna (The Marriage of Figaro), Despina (Così fan tutte), Papagena (The Magic Flute), Yum-Yum (The Mikado), Second Niece (Peter Grimes) and Rebecca (in the world première of Nico Muhly’s Two Boys) for English National Opera, where she is a Harewood Artist, Gerechtigkeit (Die Schuldigkeit des ersten Gebots), Tamiri (Il re pastore), Servilia (La clemenza di Tito) and Emma (Thomas Arne’s Alfred) for Classical Opera, Zerlina (Don Giovanni) for Garsington Opera, Belinda (Dido and Aeneas) for The English Concert, and – for The Royal Opera – Music/ Euridice (Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo) at the Roundhouse and the title role in Luigi Rossi’s Orpheus at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse.
Her extensive concert engagements have included Bellezza (Il trionfo del Tempo e del Disinganno) with the Dunedin Consort, a Handel residency with Emanuelle Haïm at the Aix-en-Provence Festival, and Handel’s Messiah with The English Concert and the English Chamber Orchestra, and she has appeared at the BBC Proms, Edinburgh International Festival, Spitalfields Festival and Oxford Lieder Festival. Her recordings include ‘Handel in Italy’ with London Early Opera for Signum Classics, Handel’s The Triumph of Time and Truth and Ode for Saint Cecilia’s Day with Ludus Baroque for Delphian Records, and Ludwig Thuille songs with Joseph Middleton and Mendelssohn songs with Malcolm Martineau, both for Champs Hill Records.
Pianist Joseph Middleton specializes
in the art of song accompaniment and
chamber music and has been highly
acclaimed in this field. Described in
Opera Magazine as ‘the rightful heir to
legendary accompanist Gerald Moore’,
by BBC Music Magazine as ‘one of the
brightest stars in the world of song and
Lieder’, he has also been labeled ‘the
cream of the new generation’
by The Times. He is Director of Leeds
Lieder, Musician in Residence and
a Bye Fellow at Pembroke College,
Cambridge and a Fellow of his alma
mater, the Royal Academy of Music,
where he is also a Professor. He was
the first accompanist to win the
Royal Philharmonic Society’s
Young Artist Award.
Joseph is a frequent guest at major music centres including London’s Wigmore Hall (where he has been a featured artist), Royal Opera House and Royal Festival Hall, New York’s Alice Tully Hall and Park Avenue Armory, Het Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Konzerthaus and Musikverein Vienna, Zürich Tonhalle, Hamburg Elbphilharmonie, Berlin BoulezSaal, Kölner Philharmonie, Strasbourg, Frankfurt, Lille and Gothenburg Opera Houses, Baden- Baden, Philharmonie Luxembourg, Musée d’Orsay Paris, Oji Hall Tokyo and Festivals in Aix-en-Provence, Aldeburgh, Barcelona, Schloss Elmau, Edinburgh, Munich, Ravinia, San Francisco, Schubertiade Hohenems and Schwarzenberg, deSingel, Soeul, Stuttgart, Toronto and Vancouver.
He made his BBC Proms debut in 2016 alongside Iestyn Davies and Carolyn Sampson and returned in 2018 alongside Dame Sarah Connolly where they premiered recently discovered songs by Benjamin Britten.
Joseph enjoys recitals with internationally established singers including Sir Thomas Allen, Louise Alder, Mary Bevan, Ian Bostridge, Allan Clayton, Dame Sarah Connolly, Marianne Crebassa, Iestyn Davies, Fatma Said, Samuel Hasselhorn, Christiane Karg, Katarina Karnéus, Angelika Kirchschlager, Dame Felicity Lott, Christopher Maltman, John Mark Ainsley, Ann Murray DBE, James Newby, Mark Padmore, Mauro Peter, Miah Persson, Sophie Rennert, Ashley Riches, Dorothea Röschmann, Kate Royal, Carolyn Sampson, Nicky Spence and Roderick Williams.
He has a special relationship with BBC Radio 3, frequently curating his own series and performing alongside the BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artists. His critically acclaimed and fast-growing discography has seen him awarded a Diapason D’or, Edison Award and Priz Caecilia as well as receiving numerous nominations for Gramophone, BBC Music Magazines and International Classical Music Awards. His interest in the furthering of the song repertoire has led Gramophone Magazine to describe him as ‘the absolute king of programming’.
Claude Debussy was a French composer. He and Maurice Ravel were the most prominent figures associated with impressionist music, though Debussy disliked the term when applied to his compositions. He was made Chevalier of the Legion of Honour in 1903. He was among the most influential composers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and his use of non-traditional scales and chromaticism influenced many composers who followed.
Debussy's music is noted for its sensory content and frequent usage of non-traditional tonalities. The prominent French literary style of his period was known as Symbolism, and this movement directly inspired Debussy both as a composer and as an active cultural participant Among his most famous works are his Clair de Lune, his Three Nocturnes and his orchestral piece La Mer.
Source: WikiPedia Alexis-Emmanuel Chabrier (French: [ɛmanɥɛl ʃabʁie]; 18 January 1841 – 13 September 1894) was a Romantic composer and pianist, born in Ambert, central France. His bourgeois family did not approve of a musical career for him, and he studied law in Paris and then worked as a civil servant until the age of thirty-nine while immersing himself in the modernist artistic life of the French capital and composing in his spare time. From 1880 until his final illness he was a full-time composer.
Although known primarily for two of his orchestral works, España and Joyeuse marche, Chabrier left a corpus of operas (including L'étoile), songs, and piano music, but no symphonies, concertos, quartets, sonatas, or religious or liturgical music. His lack of academic training left him free to create his own musical language, unaffected by established rules, and he was regarded by many later composers as an important innovator and a catalyst who paved the way for French modernism. He was admired by, and influenced, composers as diverse as Debussy, Ravel, Richard Strauss, Satie, Stravinsky, and the group of composers known as Les six. Writing at a time when French musicians were generally proponents or opponents of the music of Wagner, Chabrier steered a middle course, sometimes incorporating Wagnerian traits into his music and at other times avoiding them.
Chabrier was associated with some of the leading writers and painters of his time. Among his closest friends was the painter Édouard Manet, and Chabrier collected Impressionist paintings long before they became fashionable. A number of such paintings from his personal collection by artists known to him are now housed in some of the world's leading art museums. He penned a large number of letters to friends and colleagues which offer an insight into his musical opinions and character.
Chabrier died in Paris at the age of fifty-three from a neurological disease, probably caused by syphilis.