Wednesday 5 March 2014
Andrew Watts, countertenor and Huw Watkins, piano


John Cage A Flower
Judith Weir Voice of Desire

The Voice of Desire
White Eggs in the Bush
Written on Terrestrial Skin
Sweet Little Red Feet

Joe Cutler Land of the Cookoo
Tansy Davies This Love
Philip Cashian Landscape (World Premiere, written for tonight's concert)

Torsten Rasch Ferdinand Dreams: Two scenes from the Duchess of Malfi for voice and piano.

2 Ferdinand dreams....of madmen howling
4 Ferdinand dreams....sitting beside his slain sister

John Cage The Wonderful Widow of Eighteen Springs


Michael Finnissy Beethoven's Robin Adair (World Premiere)*
Robert Peate Pearl (III), (World Premiere)**
Martijn Padding Huw's Accra Hop (World Premiere)***
Andrew Toovey Breathless (World Premiere)****
(The above are newly comissioned pieces for Huw Watkins.)

Raymond Yiu A Whorl of Knowings dim and bright (abridged) for solo counter-tenor
Olga Neuwirth Songs 1 & 2 from Tintarella di luna
Thomas Ades Life Story

* Beethoven's Robin Adair
Most of Beethoven’s folksong settings (for solo voices and piano trio) are of Scottish and Irish melodies, commissioned by the sometime publisher George Thomson. The Irische Volksweise (Robin Adair) is the seventh of a set of 12 (WoO 157), the melody – also known as ‘Aileen Aroon’ and 'Since all thy vows' is also found in many Scottish collections. It was not actually published by Thomson, but first appeared, along with a version of ‘God save the King’ and Venetian and Sicilian songs, in Germany in 1860. Much influenced by David Hockney’s ‘versions’ of Claude Lorraine’s The Sermon on the Mount, I have made several versions of this Beethoven setting, and dwelling on the Beethovenian rather than the folkloristic aspects of it. Michael Finnissy

** Pearl (III) – Piano solo
The title Pearl is taken from a medieval poem concerning the death of a young girl and her father’s journey through his grief. This miniature (my third response to the text) combines material of a mourning and innocent character, with Brahms’ famous ‘Sleep softly my child’. Robert Peate

*** Huw's Accra Hop a short piano piece for Huw Watkins.
I have spent a lot of time during the last years in West Africa among seperawa and xylophone players, master drummers and dancers. And while I was there I thought about the piece for Huw. The 'Hop' is a fast dance played by musicians of the local tribes in the Volta region dedicated to the joy of hunting and drinking. Martijn Padding (2014)

**** Breathless
While I was looking at the beautiful details of subtle colour changes within the paintings of artist Armando Alemdar, I thought of what music might accompany this experience. When I was then asked to write a short piano piece that would form part of a vocal recital, I imagined an interlude that allowed the breath of the singer to gently dissipate. When Armando suggested the title of 'Breathless" my thoughts regarding this composition were complete. Breathless is dedicated to Armando Alemdar. Andrew Toovey (2014)

Huw Watkins

Huw Watkins, piano  

Huw Watkins is the UK’s foremost composer-pianist in great demand with orchestras and festivals including the London Sinfonietta, Britten Sinfonia, the BBC orchestras, and Aldeburgh and Cheltenham Festivals. Strongly committed to the performance of new music, Huw has given countless premieres of works by composers such as Alexander Goehr, Peter Maxwell Davies, and Mark-Anthony Turnage. He is perfectly placed for projects such as his recent presentation of a programme of Hans Werner Henze’s piano works at the BBC’s Total Immersion day at the Barbican. Huw has also established strong connections with Paul Watkins, Mark Padmore, Alina Ibragimova, James Gilchrist, and Carolyn Sampson. Highlights of the 2013/14 season include appearances at the Library of Congress in Washington, and with the Emerson Quartet at Stony Brook and the Smithsonian Institute.

Andrew Watts

Andrew Watts, counter-tenor

Andrew Watts was born in Middlesex and studied at the Royal Academy of Music with Geoffrey Mitchell, and currently with Russell Smythe.

Andrew Watts’ operatic engagements include appearances with the Royal Opera Covent Garden, English National Opera, Glyndebourne Festival and Touring Operas, the Aldeburgh and Almeida Festivals and BBC Proms. Foreign engagements include Staatsoper Berlin, Komische Oper Berlin, Hamburgische Staatsoper, Bayerische Staatsoper, Nationaltheater Mannheim, Theater an der Wien, Teatro La Fenice, Opéra National du Rhin, Teatro Real Madrid, Teatro Sao Carlos Lisbon, Grand Theatre de Genève, De Vlaamse Opera, Graz Opera, Stadttheater Klagenfurt, RIAS Kammerchor Berlin, Bielefeld, Australia, Canada and Mexico and the Vienna, Dresden, Bregenz, Batignano and Montepulciano Festivals. His repertoire includes Gluck’s ORPHÉE ET EURYDICE, Arsamenes XERXES, title role ORLANDO, Athamas SEMELE, Andronico TAMERLANO, title role in Leonardo Vinci’s ARTASERSE Sorceress and Second Witch DIDO AND AENEAS, Grace VENUS AND ADONIS, Ottone AGRIPPINA, Nero and Nutrice L’INCORONAZIONE DI POPPEA, Oberon A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM, Orlofsky DIE FLEDERMAUS, Edgar LEAR, Adschibin Henze’s L’UPUPA, Omar DEATH OF KLINGHOFFER, Bishop Baldwin GAWAIN AND THE GREEN KNIGHT, Prince Go-GoLE GRAND MACABRE, Vyasemskaya/ Pleasant Voice/ Proletarian A DOG’S HEART and Pleasure in Gerald Barry’s TRIUMPH OF BEAUTY. He has taken part in many world premieres including Olga Neuwirth’s BÄHLAMMS FEST and LOST HIGHWAY, James in Birtwistle’s THE LAST SUPPER and Snake Priestess THE MINOTAUR, White Rabbit and March Hare in Unsuk Chin’s ALICE IN WONDERLAND, Nuñez’ MÄRCHEN, Liza Lim’s THE NAVIGATOR, Ian McQueen’s LINE OF TERROR, Guarnieri’s MEDEA, LOST OBJECTS for Bang on a Can, Dimitri Smirnov’s THE LAMENTATIONS OF THEL, Raymond Yiu’s THE ORIGINAL CHINESE CONJUROR, Camillein Michael Finnissey’s THÉRÈSE RAQUIN, Judith Weir’s MISS FORTUNE and THE OUTCAST and Ferdinand in Torsten Rasch’s THE DUCHESS OF MALFI.

Andrew Watts’ concert engagements include appearances with BBC Symphony Orchestra, London Sinfonietta, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Ulster Orchestra, Los Angeles and Cleveland Philharmonic Orchestras, Niew Ensemble, Klangforum, at the Salzburg, Lucerne, Lausanne, Cernier and Edinburgh Festivals, Vienna, New York, Budapest, Seville, Paris, Cologne, Brussels, France, Australia and Italy. Repertoire includes JUDAS MACCABEUS, JEPHTHA, SOLOMON, MESSIAH, ST. JOHN PASSION, Bach MAGNIFICAT, THE INDIAN QUEEN, Charpentier TE DEUM the world premieres of Unsuk Chin’s CANTATRIX SOPRANICA, Birtwistle’s ORPHEUS ELEGIES and THE SHADOW OF NIGHT, Oscar Strasnoy’s L’INSTANT, works by Guarnieri and Manzoni and Olga Neuwirth’s, HOMMAGE A  KLAUS NOMI, LA VIE…ULCERANT and FIVE DAILY MINIATURES. He features on recordings for ASV of Boyce’s ODE FOR ST CECILIA’S DAY and DAVID’S LAMENTATION with the Hanover Band and was heard in Sally Potter’s film ORLANDO. He broadcasts regularly and television appearances include a cameo as Kathleen Ferrier in WILLIAM AND MARY.

Engagements in 2013 include THE MINOTAUR for the Royal Opera, Covent Garden, A DOG’S HEART at La Scala, Milan, LE GRAND MACABRE for the Komische Oper, Berlin, Birtwistle’s GAWAIN at the Salzburg Festival and DER MEISTER UND MARGARITA in Hamburg. Subsequently he will sing A DOG’S HEART for Opera de Lyon, return to Hamburg for LEAR, the Komische Oper for HANSEL UND GRETEL and to English National Opera.