Past Event

Orpheus Britannicus

1 Feb 2014

Andrew Watts counter tenor
Melinda Maxwell oboe
Helen Tunstall harp
Paula Chateauneuf lute

Harrison Birtwistle Orpheus Elegies
Purcell, Dowland Lute songs

Birtwistle’s Orpheus Elegies comprises 26 miniatures that respond to Rilke’s Sonnets to Orpheus, and tonight’s performers worked closely with the composer on their creation. Enigmatic and multi-layered, they mix vocal settings of the poems with instrumental songs without words. Delicate yet emotionally charged, lute songs are among the true glories of English Renaissance music. Purcell and Dowland were masters of the genre, and a selection of their finest examples is an exquisite companion to Birtwistle’s translucent masterpiece.

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