Holzmair & Cooper and Wolf Lieder masterclasses
A fortnight ago we began a rather glorious week with 12 singers and 6 pianists who were here as part of our annual masterclass series – this time studying Wolf Lieder with Wolfgang Holzmair and Imogen Cooper, who as a duo have performed and recorded this repertoire so often that they really are masters. Holzmair and Cooper were joined by Richard Stokes, a good friend of the Britten–Pears Young Artist Programme and Professor of Lieder at the Royal Academy of Music, who gave invaluable coaching on the meaning of the poems that Wolf had set his wonderful music to.
As with all our masterclass courses, the week consisted of private coachings each morning with our three tutors and public masterclasses in the afternoons. It is always so interesting for the public to be able to watch a singer progress from the beginning of the week to the end, and to see the culmination of all that work in the final recital. A bonus in the middle of the week was the opportunity to watch our esteemed teaching duo perform their penultimate concert together, which proved to be a very emotional moment.
An added element to the course was the completed songs that had been composed during our Aldeburgh English Song Course in March. Seven singers were selected, based on their voice types, to work on, record and perform these new songs, throwing many of them way out of their comfort zones. It was an interesting challenge for all involved, but the singers worked really hard to achieve what the composers intended, aided by the composers actually being in residence at the end of the week. Following a week in sunny Aldeburgh, the whole team went to Club Inégales in London Euston to showcase the new songs and perform some Wolf, joined by the talented poets and librettists from the Aldeburgh English Song course. The gig was an amazing mix of music and poetry in an intimate environment, and where everyone could celebrate the week and say their goodbyes over a beer.