Sir John Tomlinson bass Rozanna Madylus mezzo-soprano
Counterpoise - Fenella Humphreys violin Deborah Calland trumpet Kyle Horch saxophone/clarinet Sebastian Wybrew piano
This is a concert in two parts.
We start with The Art of Love, a musical portrait of Alma Mahler and her time. Vienna; hotbed of artistic revolution. Alma; beautiful, talented, passionate – and flawed. She had a string of husbands (notably composer Gustav Mahler), and an even longer string of lovers, including painter Oskar Kokoschka. But she was a gifted composer and pianist – no mere socialite.
Rozanna Madylus and Counterpoise present four of Alma’s own romantic songs. They also perform pieces by her teacher and lover Zemlinsky, her husband Gustav Mahler, the avant-garde miniaturist Webern, and Wagner/Liszt – before her time, but towering musical influences. We also hear two rarities: A song by Alma (recently discovered by Counterpoise) and Webern’s unpublished Trio movement, which has a specially written continuation by our patron David Matthews.
“Madylus was an engaging stage presence” The Daily Telegraph “Imaginative arrangements by David Matthews” The Guardian
Kokoschka’s Doll, John Casken’s powerful mini-opera for voice and small ensemble, makes an enticingly theatrical second half – a text based on Oskar Kokoschka’s poems, letters and autobiography, and a score that weaves these into a musical fabric to conjure up fin-de-siècle Vienna.
“Shot through with echoes of Wagner and Mahler, Casken’s chamber score...is lean and effective” The Times
Kokoschka often painted Alma Mahler, including the famous double-portrait, The Bride of the Wind. He was just one of her eminent lovers, but when she ended their brief affair he became obsessed with her, and she haunted the rest of his life. In bitter grief he commissioned a life-size doll of Alma and took it to public events.
Renowned bass baritone Sir John Tomlinson becomes the tormented painter in old age, vividly bringing to life all the passions of the affair, aggravated by Kokoschka’s traumatic memories of serving in the First World War.
“Tomlinson’s titanic, heart-rending performance” The Daily Telegraph “Counterpoise’s ceaselessly versatile and intriguing combination of piano, violin, trumpet and clarinet/saxophone” The Independent
Programme notes provided free of charge
Sun 6 Oct 2019
Little Missenden Church