Askonas Holt artists make their mark in celebration of composer’s life
2013 is the centenary of the birth of Benjamin Britten. London’s Wigmore Hall premiered no fewer than twenty four works by the composer. So it is only fitting that the centenary celebrations should be launched by the Wigmore Hall in a five day series of concerts. Askonas Holt artists played a major part in those celebrations: Iestyn Davies, having launched his own Residency earlier in the week took part in the opening concert devoted to the ‘Canticles’ singing Canticle II ‘Abraham and Isaac’ and Canticle IV ‘Journey of the Magi’; Ann Murray, John Mark Ainsley, Robin Tritschler and Malcolm Martineau continued the series with a performance of ‘A Charm of Lullabies’, ‘The Holy Sonnets of John Donne’ and ‘Winter Words’ on the Saturday. Malcolm then played for the concert on Sunday consisting of the ‘Songs and Proverbs of William Blake’, the ‘Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo’, the ‘Poet’s Echo’ and folksong arrangements and followed this with a live BBC broadcast on Monday lunchtime with Christine Rice singing the ‘Cabaret Songs’. John Mark Ainsley then returned to perform the haunting ‘Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings’ with the Nash Ensemble on Tuesday to bring the series to a triumphant conclusion. This last concert was also broadcast on BBC Radio 3 and together with the Monday lunchtime concert are available on the BBC iPlayer. All these artists stand at the forefront as interpreters of Britten’s music and many congratulations to them all for such a magnificent contribution to this celebration of the life of this giant of 20th century music.