Hugo Wolf’s Italian Songbook is a pinnacle of solo vocal repertoire. Composed not as a song-cycle but as a diverse collection of miniatures, it is replete with masterful word-setting, vivid characterisations and brilliant keyboard writing. The anthology of poems, in German translations of short Italian folk lyrics, was compiled by Paul Heyse. Their brevity inspired a highly concentrated approach, with many delightful touches of humour as well as deep emotional insights.
Published in two books in 1891 and 1896, Wolf composed the 46 songs during three intensive bursts of creativity. The work is usually performed as a collaboration between two singers and a pianist, but on this occasion Soirées Musicales Quintette extends this approach to showcase the talents of each of its members. The Italian Songbook is rarely presented in its entirety, so this concert is a very special opportunity. It will be performed in German, with English surtitles.
Annie Lower, soprano.
Rachael Griffin, soprano.
Mattias Lower, tenor.
Leon Warnock, baritone.
Peter Roennfeldt, piano (Viennese instrument built in 1843)