Ian Bostridge and Julius Drake enjoy a fruitful musical partnership in this new concert, and their collaboration provides for moments of sheer brilliance. The world-renowned tenor and distinguished pianist, respectively, perform a series of songs in both German and English from the works of Mahler, Weill and Britten in a surprisingly uplifting concert given the sorrowful contents.
The recurrent theme pertains to a loss of innocence; be it through heartbreak or warfare. Mahler’s Wunderhorn trio are especially poignant examples of this, exploring the psychological casualties that war incurs and lamenting the inevitable death-toll it causes. There are more rousing segments, though, with Weill’s “Oh Captain! My Captain!”, taken from Walt Whitman’s poetic homage to Abraham Lincoln, providing a fitting tribute.
Drake’s playing is faultless, and his use of dynamics brings the music to life, although he is occasionally overwhelmed by Bostridge’s soaring German lyricism. Essential listening for fans of the romantic and post-romantic eras.
Words: Matthew Sharpe
Ian Bostridge & Julius Drake, The Queen’s Hall, Aug 12, 11:00