Feb 22, 2013
Following performances of songs from Mahler’s Des Knaben Wunderhorn with the Indianapolis Symphony February 22 and 23, Thomas Hampson heads to San Francisco for a recital with pianist Wolfram Rieger. Their program at Herbst Theatre on Tuesday, February 26 features music by Schumann and Barber, as well as the world premiere of a new song cycle by Michael Hersch. Hampson discusses the new work in the commentary that follows:
I’m thrilled to be going back to San Francisco for this recital, which will feature an important world premiere. Composer Michael Hersch has written a beautiful cycle for me, Domicilium, based on poetry by Thomas Hardy. I’ve known Michael for several years – in fact, one of the first conversations that he had about writing vocal music was with me and the Pittsburgh Symphony about 15 years ago, when he wrote that orchestral piece for them [Ashes of Memory], a powerful work that Mariss Jansons felt very strongly about. Michael and I have regular contact since then, and this new cycle is the first project we’ve done together.
I think it’s wonderful that this young American composer has focused on the poetry of such an important and influential English author as Thomas Hardy, whose poems are known to music lovers through well-known settings by Finzi. The cycle is comprised of five songs and the first one is only for the piano. In typical Hersch fashion, he’s gone to using “extracts” – almost Haiku-esque poems of Hardy that are extremely abstractionist. The story in these poems is in the bits that aren’t actually said! It’s hard to describe the effect in words, but Hersch has created a soundscape of supposed memory and implied emotions. It’s very powerful stuff.
I’m so pleased that this important new work is on a great program that starts with a quintessential song cycle by Schumann, his Liederkreis Op. 39. This cycle, which features poems by Eichendorff, is, in its own way, abstract. We’re also doing a number of songs by Samuel Barber. I find Barber and Schumann very close compatriots in the landscape of the soul in song. Together with the Hersch work this will be a challenging but I think very engaging recital.
For ticket and additional information visit: http://sfperformances.org/performances/1213/ThomasHampson.html
Thomas Hampson is the baritone soloist on a new recording, featuring Richard Danielpour’s Songs of Solitude and War Songs, along with the orchestral work Toward the Splendid City. War Songs, a song cycle with texts by Walt Whitman, was commissioned by the Nashville Symphony in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the end of the Civil War.
“… baritone Thomas Hampson — a model of dignity, vocal presence, and deep investment in the texts that Brahms so lovingly chose and set.”
David Weininger – The Boston Globe
Thomas Hampson is the baritone soloist in Brahms’ A German Requiem on October 6, 7 & 8 with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Tanglewood Festival Chorus, under the direction of Music Director Andris Nelsons. Soprano Camilla Tilling joins for this concert series, which also features Widmann’s Trauermarsch for piano and orchestra, featuring pianist Yefim Bronfman.
“Thomas Hampson, rock solid in the parts of Priest and Angel of the Agony … This is where true artistry shows …” (Financial Times)
After yesterday’s Manon, it was a nice to return to the same venue with such an enlightening concert. Just before his encores, Thomas Hampson addressed the audience saying that it was also special for him to come back to Geneva after so many years …
The Schumann song cycle was presented not as Dichterliebe but as songs from the Lyrischen Intermezzo Buch der Lieder’ after Heine, Hampson specifying that it was closer to Schumann’s original text … the overall characterisation and care for the words were marvels. The long standing partnership between both artists meant that they could find expressive freedom while being attuned to each other …
Er ist ein weltweit gefragter Opernstar und zugleich einer der profiliertesten Lied-Baritone: Der Amerikaner Thomas Hampson. Ein echter Star im Klassik-Betrieb, den er jedoch durchaus kritisch sieht. Anfang der nächsten Woche ist Thomas Hampson in Berlin zu erleben, mit der Staatskapelle Berlin unter Daniel Barenboim: In dem Oratorium “The Dream of Gerontius” von Edgar Elgar.
In song, you have one of the most amazing diaries of any generation’s culture at a given time.