St Christopher

British music for piano and voice
Event 13
Sunday October 15th, 3.00pm 
Little Missenden Church

Mark Bebbington and April Fredrick
Ivor Gurney
Lake Isle of Innisfree, Adlestrop, For the Lands
John Ireland
Piano Sonata, Amberley Wild Brooks, Island Spell
Frank Bridge
Three Sketches for piano: April, Rosemary, Valse Capricieuse, Two Tagore Songs: Speak to Me My Love, Dweller in My Deathless Dreams
Judith Weir
King Harald's Saga
Richard Causton
Non mi comporto male
Charlotte Bray
Midnight Closes

This is an archived event from the 2012 programme.

Mark Bebbington piano;  April Fredrick soprano

John Ireland wrote best for his own instrument, the piano. We mark the 50th anniversary of his death with three fine pieces: the magnificent sonata (a rich and powerful bravura work with a searching and uncertain central Lento); and two of his most beautiful piano miniatures – the rapturously tranquil Island Spell contrasts with the impetuous, spring-like Amberley Wild Brooks

Britten’s teacher Frank Bridge was also a fine miniaturist.  We’ll hear his enchanting and impressionistic Three sketches for piano; and his rapturously soaring song settings of the great Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore.

Judith Weir’s mesmerising King Harald's Saga (a ‘Grand opera in three acts for unaccompanied solo soprano singing eight roles’) lasts 10 minutes – the world’s shortest opera?  It’s a fiendishly difficult sing – someone called it a “vocal commando course”.

We also have:

  • pieces by two composers we’ve commissioned in the past: Charlotte Bray (evocative settings of Thomas Hardy); and Richard Causton (a delightful piano work)
  • three lovely works by the great songsmith Ivor Gurney.

Mark Bebbington is a notable champion of British music.  His “revivals of British piano music are second to none” (International Piano).

Recordings of composers like Ireland and Bridge have earned 5 star ratings in BBC Music Magazine, which praised his “impressive and near-flawless expertise”.  His Frank Bridge CDs were acclaimed for “deft, elegant and probing exploration” of this “remarkable music”, and for “rapt attentiveness and beauty of tone”.

The Birmingham Post praised his “utterly compelling performance of John Ireland’s substantial piano sonata”, “richly chorded and crisply articulated”, with a “concentrated grip over the music’s far-reaching emotional span”.

April Fredrick is an extremely accomplished soprano with a special interest in song. A literary background fired a passion for text and nuanced delivery that takes her to the heart of a song.  She was a 2009 semifinalist in the Kathleen Ferrier Awards and the Wigmore Hall International Song Competition, and got a Special Mention in the Gerald Moore prize.

Mark and April have just recorded John Ireland’s songs.

For more information on Mark Bebbington, click here. For April Frederick's website, click here.

Concert sponsored by Alan Hedges