Friday, 18 September 2015

Great Songs - Great Poets

Headingley LitFest in partnership with Leeds Lieder+ presents
Great Songs - Great Poets

Three classically trained singers, recent graduates from the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, will perform in the Shire Oak Room of the Headingley Heart Centre at 7.30pm on Saturday 17 October, in an evening highlighting the great
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poetry which inspired some great composers.

The event has been organised by Jonathan Fisher, staff pianist at the RNCM and pianist-in-residence at the University of Huddersfield, and LitFest Secretary Richard Wilcocks. It is dedicated to the memory of Headingley resident Jane Anthony, founder of Leeds Lieder+, who died last year.

Baritone James Berry will be singing settings of poems by Walt Whitman and Shakespeare, mezzo-soprano Hollie-Anne Bangham will be singing a set of fivesongs in German based on letters written by Mary Stuart (Queen of Scots) withmusic by Schumann, and soprano Kimberley Raw will deliver a song cycle by Benjamin Britten on poetry taken from Auden's Look, Stranger! 
Tickets £8 on the door - or online from
Composer Ned Rorem took the texts for his fiveWar Scenes fromSpecimen Days, a memoir of his time as a Civil War nurse by Walt Whitman (pictured) and dedicated them to "...those who died in Vietnam, both sides, during the composition 20 - 30 June 1969".
Mary Stuart's letters seem to have been well-known all over Europe in the nineteenth century. Robert Schumann read them in German and based his Gedichte der Königin Maria Stuart on the ones which most moved him. You will hear extracts from them read in English as well.
A couple of the Cabaret Songs created in the 1930s by Benjamin Britten and W H Auden (pictured) are in the programme for the evening - Britten's treatment of Funeral Blues ("Stop all the clocks... ") has been described as a forewarning of the dark world of the Second World War, but the harmonic, jazz-influenced soundscapes he provided for Look, Stranger! are very different.

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