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Orpheus Then and Now | Walter Hall, Toronto
Music of Henry Purcell and Sir Michael Tippett

date: November 12, 1995

Towards the end of his 90th birthday year, Sir Michael Tippett came to Toronto for the local premiere of The Rose Lake, an orchestral work commissioned jointly by the BBC and the Boston and Toronto Symphonies. This month also marked the tercentenary of the death of Henry Purcell, whose songs were published under the title of Orpheus Britannicus. Sir Michael generously agreeing to attend our concert, we seized the opportunity of celebrating two English ‘Orpheuses’. We were particularly happy, by collaborating with New Music Concerts, to be able to include Sir Michael’s latest chamber work, the Fifth String Quartet, performed by the Accordes String Quartet. Purcell was represented by a sequence of songs and his ‘Golden Sonata’, all in the editions prepared by Tippett and Walter Bergmann. Britten’s parallel Purcellian enthusiasm was shown in the scena Saul and the Witch at Endor. We included Tippett’s two major song-cycles, both of which were written for Peter Pears and Britten: Boyhood’s End and The Heart’s Assurance. At the concert’s end, after a Purcellian encore, Sir Michael joined us on stage and made a brief speech to the audience. We were delighted and honoured to perform for one of the 20th century’s greatest composers.

Song Artist Composer Poet
Maestoso (Sonata No. 9 in F, ‘The Golden Sonata’) Imajishi, Fujiko / Bérard, Marie, violins; Hetherington, David, cello; Ubukata, Bruce, piano Purcell, Henry, real. Tippett, Sir Michael / Bergmann, Walter n/a
Music for a while (Oedipus) Westman, James, baritone; Ubukata, Bruce, piano Purcell, Henry, real. Tippett, Sir Michael / Bergmann, Walter Dryden, John
Largo (Sonata No. 9 in F, ‘The Golden Sonata’) Imajishi, Fujiko / Bérard, Marie, violins; Hetherington, David, cello; Ubukata, Bruce, piano Purcell, Henry, real. Tippett, Sir Michael / Bergmann, Walter n/a
There ne’er was so wretched a lover Butterfield, Benjamin, tenor; Westman, James, baritone; Ubukata, Bruce, piano Purcell, Henry, real. Tippett, Sir Michael / Bergmann, Walter Congreve, William
If music be the food of love, 1st setting Anderson, Valdine, soprano; Ubukata, Bruce, piano Purcell, Henry, real. Tippett, Sir Michael / Bergmann, Walter Heveningham, Henry
Allegro (Sonata No. 9 in F, ‘The Golden Sonata’) Imajishi, Fujiko / Bérard, Marie, violins; Hetherington, David, cello; Ubukata, Bruce, piano Purcell, Henry, real. Tippett, Sir Michael / Bergmann, Walter n/a
Boyhood’s End Butterfield, Benjamin, tenor; Ubukata, Bruce, piano Tippett, Sir Michael Hudson, William Henry
String Quartet No. 5 Accordes String Quartet: Imajishi, Fujiko / Bérard, Marie, violins; Perry, Douglas, viola; Hetherington, David, cello Tippett, Sir Michael n/a
INTERMISSION
Saul and the Witch at Endor Anderson, Valdine, soprano; Butterfield, Benjamin, tenor; Westman, James, baritone; Ralls, Stephen, piano Purcell, Henry, real. Britten, Benjamin anon., after I Samuel 28
Song (The Heart’s Assurance) Anderson, Valdine, soprano; Ralls, Stephen, piano Tippett, Sir Michael Lewis, Alun
The Heart’s Assurance (The Heart’s Assurance) Anderson, Valdine, soprano; Ralls, Stephen, piano Tippett, Sir Michael Keyes, Sidney
Compassion (The Heart’s Assurance) Anderson, Valdine, soprano; Ralls, Stephen, piano Tippett, Sir Michael Lewis, Alun
The Dancer (The Heart’s Assurance) Anderson, Valdine, soprano; Ralls, Stephen, piano Tippett, Sir Michael Lewis, Alun
Remember your Lovers (The Heart’s Assurance) Anderson, Valdine, soprano; Ralls, Stephen, piano Tippett, Sir Michael Keyes, Sidney
See Nature, rejoicing, has shown us the way (Ode for the Birthday of Queen Mary) – ENCORE Anderson, Valdine, soprano; Butterfield, Benjamin, tenor; Westman, James, baritone; Accordes String Quartet: Imajishi, Fujiko / Bérard, Marie, violins; Perry, Douglas, viola; Hetherington, David, cello; Ubukata, Bruce, piano Purcell, Henry, real. Tippett, Sir Michael Tate, Nahum ?