At Oxford Lieder, you can can experience what Schubertiades may have been
like. In Oxford, most concerts take place in the Holywell Music Room, built in
1740, the oldest dedicated public recital space in the world. The building
seats only about 100 people. Seats are arranged on three sides, the platform
extending into the room Interaction between performers and listeners is
intense, much more direct than in an ordinary concert hall.
Moreover, the atmosphere is as intimate as the Schubertiades would have
been. Oxford Lieder feels like “family”, since it’s so nurturing and
supportive. People come together here because they’re united in their love of
the genre and want it to thrive. An intimate genre like Lieder can’t — and
perhaps shouldn’t — generate mass sales. Funding is backed entirely by
private and trust contributions.
The opening recital on 15th October features Wolfgang Holzmair with Julius
Drake, performing Schumann. Indeed, all through the festival there will be
Schumann recitals and events, including “Lunch with Schumann” —
refreshment for the soul!
A measure of how far the festival has come is that it has been able to
co-commission Ned Rorem to write a song “My Love is a Fever”. The Prince
Consort, who specialize in Rorem will give the premiere on 21st October, at
which a second co-commission, a setting of Rilke by pianist Stephen Hough will
also be unveiled. The Prince Consort, whose members include Jacques Imbrailo,
have been associated with Oxford Lieder almost from the start.
Oxford Lieder programmes blend well known with unusual repertoire. This year
part-songs figure prominently and Schubert settings for guitar (Christoph
Denoth and Nathalie Chalkley). Katarina KarnÈus and Julius Drake perform
Grieg, Sibelius and Ture Rangstrˆm There’ll be an evening of Polish song
with Maciek O’Shea and Festival Director Sholto Kynoch. Hugo Wolf’s
complete Mˆrike setting will be heard over two days. Among the singers this
year are : James Gilchrist, Anna Grevelius, Sophie Daneman, Stephan Loges,
Felicity Palmer, Sophie and Mary Bevan, and Jonathan Lemalu. Oxford Lieder has
a reputation for spotting new talent early on, and many of its
“discoveries” return loyally.
Ian Partridge leads this year’s main Masterclass programme, but this year
there are three, the others, led by Stephan Loges and Henry Herford, encourage
non-professionals to enjoy the experience of singing. There are schools events
and even an open air Brahms and Schumann concert. Oxford Lieder is much more
than an annual festival — it’s aims are long term and benefit the wider
For more information, please visit the Oxford Lieder site.
image_description=Holywell Music Room in Oxford, England [Source: Wikipedia]
product_title=Oxford Lieder Festival 2010
product_id=Above: Holywell Music Room in Oxford, England [Source: Wikipedia]