“This joyous collection from soprano Claire Booth and pianist Christopher Glynn explores Grainger’s stunning folk song output with great verve and passion, revealing English folk music as an incredibly alluring, multifaceted genre. One of the most comprehensive surveys available on the market today, it’s a perfect album for seasoned Grainger enthusiasts and curious newcomers alike." Eva Mackevic, Reader’s Digest (Apr 2017)
The inspiration for Edvard Grieg: Lyric Music came directly from the researching, recording, marketing and performing of Claire and Christopher's previous CD collaboration, Percy Grainger: Folk Music - an exploration of the precocious pianist, colourful composer and world traveller Percy Grainger for Avie Records. Edvard Grieg was a huge influence on Grainger's life, his own work on the folk song foreshadowing Grainger's fascination with this genre. In performing Grainger's music, Claire and Christopher have found Grieg's own songs a perfect foil - his sincerity and simplicity of composition a mirror image of Grainger's often tumultuous romanticism. Grieg's much beloved, if rarely performed cycle 'Haugtussa' - The Mountain Maid - which sets the poetry of Arne Garborg, has become a recital favourite of these two, with many delighted listeners asking as to a possible recording.
(Taken post-concert at the West Cork Music Festival, Bantry, 2017)
The program for Folk Music followed non-standard recording lines, in that it was an amalgamation of songs, piano solos and even a piano duet with Claire making a cameo appearance at the keyboard! This is the format Claire and Chris will bring to Edvard Grieg: Lyric Music. Although perhaps most known for his piano concerto (of which Grainger was a fabulous performer) and epic music-drama Peer Gynt, Edvard Grieg was a prolific and dedicated writer of songs. His wife, herself a singer, was his constant muse and for Grieg was "the only true interpreter of my songs". Haugtussa is a sort of Nordic version of Schumann's Frauenliebe und Leben, Garborg's poetry charting a vibrancy and variety of female emotions from first flourishings to empty despair.
However, rather than have the cycle simply bookended with other music, Christopher and Claire have used their approach in Folk Music to expand the life of the cycle both emotionally and physically: they plan to intersperse Haugtussa's 8 songs with various examples of his immensely beautiful Lyric Pieces for piano together with other carefully chosen Grieg songs. By presenting Grieg's songs alongside his piano music, we have the opportunity to understand not only Haugtussa, but all this music afresh, and the CD title now becomes doubly clear - not only are Grieg's Lyric Pieces a tremendously important aspect of the recording, but it invites listeners to appreciate Grieg's vocal output not merely as folk-inspired songs, but as the beautiful and lyrical jewels they undoubtedly are. Your donation will help to create this fascinating and unique insight into Grieg's music.
"La Voix Humaine is one of the hardest tests for a soprano and in this new production Claire Booth makes it wholly unforgettable… With Booth’s expressiveness so intense, the colours of the voice so beautiful, this doesn’t feel virtual but all too real." Rian Evans, The Guardian
"But the star turn is Claire Booth, very much a soprano Rosina, supremely happy and precise in Rossini’s high-lying alternatim coloratura[…] always personable, easy on the eye, and above all clever at suggesting a certain vulnerability behind her quick-witted, minxish exterior." The Arts Desk "Claire Booth heads up a fabulous cast with a knockout performance in the title role. Her voice is well suited to choppy writing, but her command of the role’s irrepressible passion exceeds even high expectations, and the scene in which she reflects on having found a true mate is almost unbearably moving.” Guy Dammann, The Guardian
“An epoch-making performance…Her voice blazes with energy and subsides in exhausted despair. It’s a real tour de force. She has done nothing finer.” *****Tim Ashley, The Guardian
The internationally acclaimed soprano Claire Booth encompasses a wide repertoire, from baroque to contemporary music both in the opera house and on the concert platform and is renowned for the vitality and musicianship she brings to her work. She enjoys relationships with many major UK opera houses and has sung world premieres by George Benjamin, Pierre Boulez, Oliver Knussen, Harrison Birtwistle, Unsuk Chin and Elliot Carter amongst others. She sings regularly with all the BBC and UK orchestras, together with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Tokyo Philharmonic, Ensemble Kanesawa, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra. Her many festival appearances include the BBC Proms, Edinburgh, Cheltenham, Holland, Lucerne, Aldeburgh, Lammermuir, West Cork and Ryedale. She has an extensive discography of which Percy Grainger: Folk Music was named as BBC Radio 3 Record Review's disc of 2017.
(The front cover of their previous collaboration Percy Grainger: Folk Music)
Christopher Glynn is a Grammy award-winning pianist and accompanist, working with leading singers, instrumentalists and ensembles in concerts, broadcasts and recordings throughout the world. He is also Artistic Director of the Ryedale Festival, programming around 60 events each year in the many beautiful and historic venues of Ryedale, North Yorkshire. Described by The Times as having ‘beauties and insights aplenty’ and praised in Gramophone for his 'breathtaking sensitivity’, Christopher was born in Leicester and read music as organ scholar at New College, Oxford, before studying piano with John Streets in France and Malcolm Martineau at the Royal Academy of Music. His many awards include the accompaniment prize in the 2001 Kathleen Ferrier competition, the 2003 Gerald Moore award and the 2002 Geoffrey Parsons award. Since making his debut at Wigmore Hall in 2001, Chris has performed in major concert venues and festivals throughout Europe, North America and Asia, and made over 20 CD recordings, as well as many studio recordings and live broadcasts for BBC Radio 3. He is a Professor at the Royal College of Music, an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music and a course leader for the Samling Foundation.
Claire and Christopher met while students at Oxford, and have been making music together for over two decades.