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For that passionate Schubertian Benjamin Britten, the period between the completion of Winterreise in October 1827 and the composer’s death in November 1828 was the most miraculous ‘year’ in the history of music. Granted, there is plenty of competition, not least from Mozart in 1791. But for many music lovers the masterpieces of Schubert’s astonishingly prolific final phase speak with a unique power and poignancy. Focusing on the piano works and songs of 1828, this Jesmond Dene Schubertiade provides an appropriately convivial setting for some of the composer’s greatest music performed by internationally renowned artists. Franz Liszt dubbed Schubert ‘the most poetic of composers’. After hearing works such as the haunting F minor Fantasy for piano duet, the otherworldly B flat Sonata, and the collection of songs published posthumously as Schwanengesang, few, surely, would disagree.
We have assembled a stunning line-up of artists for this special event:
Roger Vignoles is one of the world’s leading accompanists. In a career spanning four decades, he has collaborated with many of the finest singers and instrumentalists, and he is widely regarded as a leading authority on the song repertoire. He will perform a recital each with Stephan Loges and Elizabeth Watts and will join Martin Roscoe in a rare performance of Schubert’s F minor Fantasy for four hands.
Soprano Elizabeth Watts is now firmly established as one of Britain’s brightest new talents. A former BBC New Generation Artist, she was awarded the Kathleen Ferrier Prize in 2006, and won the Rosenblatt Recital Song Prize at BBC Cardiff Singer of the World in 2007. She has performed as a recitalist at leading UK venues including the Purcell Room and Bridgewater Hall, not to mention major opera roles and performances with leading orchestras, and she is currently an Artist in Residence at the Southbank Centre.
Born in Dresden, Stephan Loges began singing at the age of nine with the Dresden Boys Choir and then studied at Hochschule der Künste, Berlin, where he won the Gold Medal in the National Youth Singing Competition. In 1999 he won the Wigmore Hall International Song Competition. He has performed in recitals throughout the world, on the opera stage and on record. He has appeared at the Royal Opera House in several roles including the Count (Marriage of Figaro), Mercutio (Romeo et Juliette) and Schaunard (La Bohème) and also regularly performs at La Monnaie in Brussels.
Martin Roscoe is one of Britain’s most prolific performers. He has performed at the BBC Proms seven times and is one of the most regularly featured pianists on BBC Radio 3. He works regularly with most UK orchestras and has particularly close links with the BBC Philharmonic, BBC Scottish Symphony, Hallé and the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestras. As a chamber musician he has long-standing associations with Peter Donohoe, Tasmin Little and the Endellion and Maggini Quartets as well as more recent collaborations with Jennifer Pike, Ashley Wass, Matthew Trusler and the Vertavo Quartet.
Steven Osborne is one of this country’s foremost pianists, renowed for his idiomatic approach to a wide range of repertoire. He has won numerous awards, including first prize at both the Naumburg International Competition (New York) and Clara Haskil Competition, as well as a Gramophone award in 2009. He has toured extensively and has worked with some of world’s finest orchestras. His recital appearances have been publically and critically acclaimed and he has performed at prestigious venues worldwide. He will bring the weekend to a fitting end with two of Schubert’s last sonatas.
Each individual programme has been carefully crafted in close consultation with the weekend’s speaker, Richard Wigmore. Richard is a music writer, lecturer and broadcaster for BBC Radio 3. He writes for The Daily Telegraph, BBC Music Magazine and Gramophone and gives classes in Lied history and interpretation at Birkbeck College, London. He read French and German at Cambridge and later studied Music at the Guildhall. His publications include Schubert: the Complete Song Texts and Pocket Guide to Haydn.