“Middle Temple Hall, the setting for a first-rate concert series, is one of those London spaces that would make a tourist swoon. With its suits of armour and coats-of-arms it seems the perfect setting for stirring songs of martial derring-do. “
Ivan Hewitt, The Daily Telegraph 2015
Christine Rice, mezzo
Iestyn Davies, counter tenor
Simon Keenlyside, baritone
Ian Bostridge, tenor
Julius Drake, piano
Over the last few years, since the inauguration of Temple Song in 2006, I have performed in the glorious Middle Temple Hall with an array of the best singers in the world, most of them discovering the hall for the first time.
Olaf Bär, Thomas Allen, Felicity Lott, Christoph Pregardien, Ian Bostridge, Simon Keenlyside, Sergei Leiferkus, Gerald Finley, Willard White, Robert Holl, Danielle De Niese, Ann Sofie Von Otter – they all say it is one of the very best acoustics for song they know, a wonderful place to sing.
The four concerts of the 2017 season are given by four of the most celebrated British singers of their generation.
We start on January 23 at 7pm with Christine Rice who will perform for the first time at Middle Temple Hall. Her programme includes Haydn’s great cantata Arriane an Naxos and the delightful Chants Populaires of Ravel. The second half is devoted to a semi staged performance of Poulenc’s one act drama for voice and piano, La Voix Humaine (The Human Voice.) To Jean Cocteau’s text we see and hear a woman’s last telephone conversation with her lover. The pain of betrayal and her ultimate despair is captured heartbreakingly in Poulenc’s music.
On July 10 2017 at 7pm leading counter tenor Iestyn Davies, celebrated alumnus of the Temple Church Choir, performs Schubert’s eternal song cycle, Die Schöne Müllerin. Performing the cycle for the first time and blessed with one of the most beautiful counter tenor voices in the world today, it will be fascinating to see and hear how he portrays the story of the miller boy and his love.
On October 25 at 7pm the charismatic baritone Simon Keenlyside joins me for a recital that includes the fascinating song cycle, Le Travail de Peintre. Each of the poems of Paul Eluard describes the work of one of his favourite painter friends who were living and working in Paris. Picasso, Chagall, Miro, Klee, Gris, Villon and Braque are all then set to the kaleidoscopic and inspired music of Francis Poulenc.
On November 29 2017 at 7pm the uniquely gifted tenor Ian Bostridge returns to Middle Temple Hall for a programme that features Purcell, Haydn and the Holy Sonnets of John Donne by Benjamin Britten. John Donne’s sermons at the Inns of Court were legendary for their wit and erudition and over seventy volumes from his personal library, one of the largest collections in the world, are in the Rare Book and Manuscript Collection of Middle Temple Library. Britten’s Holy Sonnets of John Donne is one of the composer’s greatest song cycles, a masterpiece from his early maturity.
Do join us for one or all of these recitals – a glass of wine is included in the ticket price and you will be given a warm welcome!
Artistic Director Temple Song 2017
We are indebted to the Temple Song Founders, a group of enlightened and generous supporters, without whose sense of adventure, advice and encouragement, the series could not have come to fruition.
Sir Richard Aikens
Michael Brindle QC
Timothy Dutton QC
Graham Eklund QC
Julian Flaux QC
James Flynn QC
Jonathan Gaisman QC
Michael Howard QC
Michel Kallipetis QC
The Hon. Michael McLaren QC
Jeffery Onions QC
David Owen QC
Lionel Persey QC
Nigel Pleming QC
Sir Jeremy Stuart Smith
Rex Tedd QC