Sidmouth Music concert to go ahead soon after last-minute cancellation in February

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WHEN Sidmouth Music’s February concert had to be cancelled on the day of the performance because of illness, it was an inescapable tragedy for the 40th celebration season.

However the artists wanted to fulfil their commitment as soon as possible afterwards and the concert, featuring rising British young tenor Andrew Tortise, accompanied by pianist Nicola Eimer in a superb programme of song, will now go ahead on Saturday, April 14. Whether it’s in large scale choral works from Bach, or opera from Wagner, or in the sort of intimate song cycles he will present to Sidmouth at Knowle, Andrew is attracting seriously good reviews from the press.

Compliments range through powerful, winsome, terrifically intense, seductive, ideal, and back again.

For his Sidmouth recital he has chosen three sets of songs. Opening the concert will be Claude Debussy’s Fêtes Galantes, which is a setting of three 19th century poems by Paul Verlaine, each describing the pursuit of love by their subjects.

Then Andrew calls on five songs from Benjamin Britten, written in 1911 under the title On this Island. These too are settings of poems, by Britten’s friend and collaborator WH Auden.

Given their progeny these songs are, not surprisingly, complex and subtle, a reflection of Auden’s command of language, with the music reflecting the wide range of moods Auden presents.

The second half of the recital is given over entirely to one set of songs: Schubert’s incomparable Die Schöne Müllerin (the fair maid of the mill).

In the 20 short songs, Schubert creates a literary and musical masterpiece as he describes the yearnings of the love-sick young miller, always accompanied in the background by the rumbling of the mill wheels or the burbling of the ever present brook.

It will be a delight in this recital too to hear Nicola Eimer once again in Sidmouth; on her last visit her playing of Schubert’s piano works were described as “a pianistic exhibition of sheer grace and delicacy”.

The recital starts at 3pm and tickets at £12.50 are available at Paragon Books, Sidmouth and other local outlets in the area. All enquiries to 01395 514618. Euterpe

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