Friday 24 January 2020 | 19:30 £20
'a mixture of honesty, sensitivity and human warmth that can really unlock this work’s full emotional potential'.
James Gilchrist - Tenor
Anna Tilbrook - Piano
Franz Schubert’s Winterreise, completed in 1827, is a set of 24 songs for voice and piano composed almost entirely using minor keys, which unlike the warm sounds of major keys often sound sad to our ears. Its mournful character reflects some of the personal trauma that Schubert himself was experiencing at the time. After years of a rather debauched life Schubert had contracted syphilis. The disease (or perhaps the treatment of it), was ultimately responsible for his death in 1828 at the age of 31.
Schubert described Winterreise as being “ songs which have affected me more than any others”. The songs take the audience on a journey that it is clear, by the very nature of the opening song, will end fatefully. Even the title, meaning “winter’s journey”, conjures up a visual image of a cold and dark landscape.
The lyrics are poems by Wilhelm Müller and tell the story of a lonely traveller who ventures out into the snow on a journey to rid himself of his lost love. Along the way he experiences a turmoil of different emotions, mostly ranging from despair to greater despair.
James Gilchrist began his working life as a doctor, turning to a full-time career in music in 1996. His musical interest was fired at a young age, singing first as a chorister in the choir of New College, Oxford, and later as a choral scholar at King’s College, Cambridge.
James’ extensive concert repertoire has seen him perform in major concert halls throughout the world with conductors including Sir John Eliot Gardiner, Sir Roger Norrington, Harry Christophers, Harry Bicket and the late Richard Hickox.
In J.S. Bach’s great Passions of St John and St Matthew, James works consistently at the highest level and is recognised as the finest Evangelist of his generation; as one recent BBC Proms reviewer noted, ‘he hasn’t become a one-man Evangelist industry by chance’.
A prolific and versatile recitalist, James enjoys imaginative and varied programming in collaborations with pianists Anna Tilbrook and Julius Drake, and harpist Alison Nicholls. Recent appearances include a Schubertiade weekend at St John Smith Square and Schwanengesang coupled with Beethoven An die Ferne Geliebte at the Wigmore Hall. James recently returned to the Wigmore Hall to begin his project with Anna Tilbrook, Schumann and the English Romantics, pairing Schumann song cycles with new commissions from leading composers, Sally Beamish, Julian Philips and Jonathan Dove, setting English poetry of the Romantic period.
Anna Tilbrook has collaborated with many leading singers and instrumentalists including James Gilchrist, Ian Bostridge, Lucy Crowe, Sarah Tynan, Barbara Hannigan, Lesley Garrett, Emma Bell, Nick Daniel, Natalie Clein, Philip Dukes and Guy Johnston, as well as the Fitzwilliam, Carducci, Sacconi, Elias, Navarra and Barbirolli String Quartets. Since her debut at the Wigmore Hall in 1999 she has become a regular artist at all the leading concert halls and festivals. She has also accompanied Jose Carreras, Angela Georghiu and Bryn Terfel in televised concerts. Anna regularly coaches the Jette Parker Young Artists at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, and for the past ten years has been coach and accompanist for Les Azuriales Opera Festival in Nice