London's wonderful recital room, The Wigmore Hall, will present us with the complete songs over two seasons 2015-2017, launched in September with a recital by Florian Boesch and Graham Johnson. This is a remarkable achievement in the making, and is thanks to the hall's energetic, creative, and imaginative Executive Director, John Gilhooly, who has transformed the place since his appointment fifteen years ago. And thanks also of course to Graham Johnson, who has devoted his life to his passion, a total commitment to the promotion of knowledge and understanding of song by singers and the public.
I was at the Wigmore last night for Christiane Karg's contribution to this series, with Graham as her partner. Christiane was a Neue Stimmen prizewinner in 2007. She is now firmly established as one of the finest singers of her generation, including her recent debut at the Lyric in Chicago. She is no stranger to British audiences who will have seen her in Glyndebourne's Hippolyte et Aricie and Finta giardiniera. Her eloquent and persuasive Schubert yesterday evening was a huge pleasure - a carefully chosen programme demonstrating the scholarship and sensibility of Graham Johnson as much as the Christiane's own immersion in and understanding of these songs. There was a mixture of the familiar and the less familiar, predominantly the latter - including Vergißmeinnicht, a very long song rarely programmed.
The complete programme was:
Gretchen am Spinnrade D118
Das Geheimnis D250
Das Mädchen aus der Fremde D252
Entzückung an Laura D390
Thekla: eine Geisterstimme D595
Strophe aus Die Götter Griechenlands D677
Ihr Grab D736
Der Wachtelschlag D742
Die Rose D745
Die Liebe hat gelogen D751
Du liebst mich nicht D756
Auf dem Wasser zu singen D774
Die Mutter Erde D788
This series will give so much pleasure over the coming 18 months. Do browse the Wigmore Hall's website for this series and the many other jewels to be discovered there.