Philip Langridge 70th birthday concert
Philip Langridge tenor
David Owen Norris piano
Doric String Quartet
A varied programme to celebrate the 70th birthday of one of our most renowned tenors. It must be admitted that he had a few vocal problems in the opening Schubert songs, and could not quite manage the high notes....even so, it was a subtle, nuanced interpretation and his technique is still sound. ( I was also at the Wigmore Hall the day before at the lunchtime concert in which Christopher Maltman sang the whole of Die schoene Muellerin, so it was interesting to compare the two performances. I will confess to a slight preference to a baritone over a tenor for this song-cycle).
With the performance of Vaughan Williams' On Wenlock Edge, of course there was no more question of vocal difficulties - a superb performance of a wonderful work! I especially liked the haunting chords of the mysterious poem 'From far, from eve and morning',and the desperate pathos of 'On Bredon Hill'. The last song, 'Clun', has a beautiful postlude for piano and quartet that fades away into quiet serenity (acceptance of the inevitablity of death).
(During the interval, someone did come out and apologise for the vocal difficulties that Langridge had experienced, and said it might have been due to the air-conditioning, that had now been turned off).
The second half of the evening began with the world premiere of Sir Harrison Birtwistle's From 'Vanitas'. to a text by David Harsent, who was also the librettist of Birtwistle's The Minotaur.