For our new competition, we have teamed up with our friends at Wigmore Hall Live to celebrate the twenty-fifth release on the venue's exciting in-house label.
We're offering one lucky reader the chance to win a copy of the next two CDs in the series: a historic recording from the late Lorraine Hunt Lieberson and a recent recital of songs by one of the world's most beloved baritones, Gerald Finley.
The first disc is part of Wigmore Hall Live's Archive series. This very special live recital by the great American born mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt-Lieberson, who tragically died in 2006, was recorded in 1999 and adds to the universally acclaimed 1998 recital also released by Wigmore Hall Live (WHLive0013).
Noted for her interpretations of Handel and Bach, this recital of lieder by Schumann and Brahms demonstrates the breadth of Lieberson's repertoire and her meticulous artistry. After her death, she won the 2007 Grammy Award for Best Classical Vocal Performance for her Rilke Songs and again in 2008 for her performance of her husband's Neruda Songs.
Accompanied by Julius Drake, Lieberson sings Brahms' 8 Lieder und Gesänge, Op. 57, and Schumann's 4 Lieder from Goethe's Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre, Op. 98a, plus the Frauenliebe und –leben, Op. 42. The previous disc was granted a Gramophone Award nomination and got down to the final shortlist of three discs, as well as being Album of the Week in The Independent and Vocal Choice of the Month in the BBC Music Magazine, so the chances of the new release being rewarding is high.
Julius Drake is also the accompanist for the twenty-fifth disc in Wigmore Hall Live's label, which finds Gerald Finley singing Ned Rorem's War Scenes, songs by Tchaikovsky and Mussorgsky's Songs and Dances of Death.
Gerald Finley writes: 'It is with great sense of pride that this disc becomes the 25th release of the Wigmore Live series, in a musical partnership I have enjoyed for many years with Julius Drake. Performing at the Wigmore is always a highlight of any career. The others in the series are distinguished performers I have admired for years and the performances are wonderful. The audiences at the Wigmore are always welcoming and knowledgeable, and this atmosphere is captured perfectly. Already a fine catalogue, I hope the Wigmore Live series continues its honour roll.'
Critically praised for his performances both on stage and in concert, this recital of American and Russian song by Gerald Finley offers listeners the rare opportunity to hear one of today's most in-demand baritones within the beautiful, intimate setting of the Wigmore Hall.
After a recital at Carnegie Hall in March 2007, Finley was praised by New York Times critic Bernard Holland as having a 'bass-baritone of easy luxury' and that his 'sensibilities begin with the pre-eminence of words.' His recording of Stanford's Songs of the Sea and Songs of the Fleet with Richard Hickox and the BBC NOW for Chandos received the Editor's Choice Award at the 2006 Classic FM Gramophone Awards. The reviews for this Wigmore Hall recital were uniformly positive: 'No other baritone can touch him for declamatory expressiveness' said The Independent, while The Guardian said that 'Finley and Drake paced them all tactfully, precisely mediating between relaxed storytelling and rapt introspection. Here was very fine singing of truly great songs.'
For your chance to win the twenty-fourth and twenty-fifth releases on Wigmore Hall Live, answer this simple question:
When did the hall become known as the 'Wigmore Hall'?
Send an email entitled WIGMORE with your answer, name and address to firstname.lastname@example.org by 7 November 2008. We will not pass your details to any third party, but please indicate if you do not wish to receive further correspondence.
Rules, terms and conditions: 1. This competition is organised by MusicalCriticism.com and Wigmore Hall Live. 2. MusicalCriticism.com reserves the right to cancel or amend the competition at any time without prior notice. Any changes will be posted within the competition notice. 3. In the event of a dispute regarding the terms and conditions, conduct, results and all other matters relating to this competition, the decision of the Editor or Deputy Editor shall be final and no correspondence or discussion shall be entered into. 4. The competition is open to residents of the UK only. 5. Contributors and employees, their associates and members of their families and households are not eligible to enter. 6. Only one entry per person is permitted for this competition. 7. Entries received after the closing date of 7 November 2008 will be automatically disqualified. No purchase required. 8. The winners will be chosen at random after the closing date, from all correct entries received by 11.59pm on 7 November 2008. 9. Prizes are non-transferable. No cash alternatives will be offered. The winner will be notified by email and the prize delivered by post.