John Mark Ainsley & Malcolm Martineau
Friendly Persuasions was John Mark Ainsley's best performance of the night, measured and just the right side of intense. - Intermezzo
John Mark Ainsley [has] absolute control and superb diction. - BBC Music
John Mark Ainsley's soaringly beautiful tenor. - The Independent
John Mark Ainsley's cleverly constructed recital highlights the personal and musical connections of four of the twentieth century’s best song writers: Britten, Poulenc, Heggie and Berkeley.
The breadth of repertoire showcases Ainsley’s range, expansive vocal colour, expressive voice and exceptional understanding of text.
Accompanying Ainsley is Malcolm Martineau, to whom Heggie's Friendly Persuasions is dedicated. The American composer pays homage to Poulenc with four imaginative songs, each of which recreates in miniature a transformative friendship in Poulenc’s life.
In 2008 Ainsley and Martineau gave the world premiere performance of Friendly Persuasions at Wigmore Hall, London.
The recital also includes three works by Poulenc: Fancy, Bleuet and Tel jour telle nuit, a beautifully conceived and shaped cycle; considered Poulenc’s greatest vocal work it is reminiscent of the great cycles of a century earlier such as Winterreise or Dichterliebe.
Despite French heritage and fluency in the language Berkeley’s friendship with Britten led him to set verse by the English poet, W.H. Auden instead. His Five Poems are some of the best of their kind; a cohesive and satisfying collection, Berkeley perfectly captures both the fanciful and reflective elements of Auden's poetry.
Auden in turn re-introduced Britten to the works of John Donne, which Britten went on to set in his Holy Sonnets; darkly moving and highly demanding, they are among his finest work.
John Mark Ainsley has appeared with the world’s greatest orchestras and conductors, including the London, Boston, Chicago and San Francisco Symphony orchestras, the London, Berlin, Vienna, Rotterdam and New York Philharmonic orchestras, with Sir Colin Davis, Bernard Haitink, Sir Charles Mackerras, Kurt Masur, Sir Roger Norrington, Sir Simon Rattle and Claudio Abbado.
In opera he has sung at Glyndebourne, Covent Garden, Netherlands Opera, San Francisco Opera, La Scala, the Deutsche Staatsoper and the Aix-en-Provence, Munich, Salzburg and Berlin Festivals.
Ainsley won the 2007 Royal Philharmonic Society Singer Award and is a visiting professor at the Royal Academy of Music.
Malcolm Martineau is recognised as one of the leading accompanists of his generation, working with many of the world’s greatest singers.
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