Schubertreise - Conor Biggs baritone & Michel Stas piano

Schubertreise - Conor Biggs baritone & Michel Stas piano

Sunday, 10 March 2024, 4.00pm

Sunday 10th March 2024
4 pm Thomastown Concert Hall, Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny
Conor Biggs - baritone
Michel Stas - piano

Schubertreise XXIX: Songs of Franz Schubert (1797-1828)
Der Strom, D 565 (anon)
Abschied, D 578 (Poem by Schubert)
Der Knabe in der Wiege, D 579 (Anton Ottenwalt)
Vollendung, D 579A (Friedrich von Matthisson)
Die Erde, D 579B (Friedrich von Matthisson)
Elysium, D 584 (Friedrich von Schiller)
Atys, D 585 (Johann Mayrhofer)
An den Frühling, D 283 (Erste Bearbeitung) (Friedrich von Schiller)
An den Frühling, D 587 (Zweite Bearbeitung) (Friedrich von Schiller)
Grenzen der Menschheit, D 716 (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)
Der Kampf, D 594 (Friedrich von Schiller)
Auf der Riesenkoppe, D 611 (Theodor Körner)
An den Mond in einer Herbst Nacht, D 614 (Aloys Wilhelm Schreiber)
Grablied für die Mutter, D 616 (Anon.)

If 1815 and 1816 were Schubert’s most productive years when it came to Lied composition (142 and 112 songs respectively), the remaining years of his life see a sharp downturn in quantity, though certainly not in quality. Only in 1823 and 1827, with the composition of the two great song cycles, do we see a return to the momentum of the earlier years. Songwriting for Schubert tended to be concentrated in the spring and autumn months, while the rest of the year was devoted to chamber music, symphonies and opera. Our twenty-ninth recital covers the year 1817, and includes one setting of Schubert’s own text, Abschied as well as the expansive Elysium, a kind of celestial appendage to the horrors of hell, so wonderfully depicted in Gruppe aus dem Tartarus. Other songs of note are the turbulent Der Strom and Schiller’s description of moral dilemma in Der Kampf which we hear in an impressive setting for bass voice. Another fine setting for bass voice is the meditative Grenzen der Menschheit, a song of Wagnerian proportions. The heart-rending Atys, a story of madness and the Greek cult of emasculation, and the beautiful An den Mond in einer Herbst Nacht, in which the song cycles are clearly adumbrated, also feature. Temptation, emasculation, madness… what more could the Sunday afternoon listener want?

Dubliner Conor Biggs has spent most of his professional career interpreting art song. In 2013, together with Belgian pianist Michel Stas he launched his complete songs of Schubert, or Schubertreise, in the National Concert Hall, Dublin, the most ambitious classical music project seen in Ireland. Based in Belgium, Conor Biggs studied organ with Prof Gerard Gillen and Prof Ludwig Doerr (Freiburg) as well as piano with Mabel Swainson. He studied singing with Anne Marie O’Sullivan and Evelyn Dowling (Dublin) and John Cameron (RNCM, Manchester). His CD Tchaikovsky Songs is available on Spotify. He is the writer of My Little Book of Stamps, in which he examines the role of the postage stamp in propping up colonialism.
Michel Stas is active as soloist and as pianist in many chamber and vocal ensembles in his native Belgium. He studied piano with Jacques De Tiège (Antwerp) and is a graduate of the Tilburg Conservatoire of Music. He is currently Head of Overijse Music Academy (Belgium) and accompanies the violin class of the Royal Conservatoire of Liège. He has collaborated with Conor Biggs on numerous occasions, notably as accompanist for all twenty nine recitals to date of the Dublin series of Schubertreise.

WebsiteAdd a Listing

Published by Music in Kilkenny on 6 February 2024

comments powered by Disqus

Please note that some listings are added by third parties. The Journal of Music does not take responsibility for the content or accuracy of listings published by third parties on this site. The Journal of Music reserves the right to edit or delete listings. Click here to add a listing, login or register.