2013.03.09 Recital, Wigmore Hall, London: Malcolm Martineau

Wigmore Hall, London,

9 March 2013

Simon Keenlyside, baritone
Malcolm Martineau, piano



  • Harfenspieler I
  • Wie sollt ich heiter bleiben
  • Blumengruss
  • Bei einer Trauung
  • Der Rattenfänger
  • Jägerlied
  • Denk’ es, o Seele!
  • Prometheus
  • Der König bei der Krönung


  • Un grand sommeil noir
  • Kaddisch
  • From Don Quichotte à Dulcinée
    • Chanson romanesque
    • Chanson épique
    • Chanson à boire


  • Paganini
  • Montparnasse
  • Un poème


  • Madrigal de Shylock
  • Aubade Op. 6 No. 1


Jacques Villon from Le travail du peintre

Histoires naturelles
– ‘Le paon’
– ‘Le grillon’.

 Sound bites

Emily Owen, Bachtrack.com, 12.3.2013

4 of 5 stars

” … Simon Keenlyside paced around the stage as the solitary wanderer and utilised a great variety of tone to portray the tormented text, including some interesting use of a very straight, almost tortured tone rarely heard in song recitals. …  The second half began with the uneasy ostinato bass line of Ravel’s “Un grand sommeil noir”. Keenlyside was introverted, almost intoning most of the song looking to the floor, while dramatic staccato chords broke the tension, which was broken with the “Kaddisch”, an Eastern-inspired song, with abstract chords in the piano part. The dramatic declamation of the Aramaic text was extremely striking and a complete contrast to the surrounding programme. … The two Ravel songs that Martineau and Keenlyside performed as a double encore were also intriguing pieces, again revealing the amazing clarity of touch of Martineau and the courageous use of vocal colour of Keenlyside.”

Silvia, operaaragon.blogspot.com.es, 14.3.2013

Pero si alguna canción de la primera parte merece ser destacada es Prometheus. Una gran canción, exigente vocalmente como pocas en el repertorio, larga y compleja (y aquí insisto de nuevo en la dificultad del acompañamiento de piano), que Keenlyside y Martineau interpretaron con maestría; la furia de Prometeo (¡qué diferentes las versiones de Wolf y Schubert!) … Tras una desoladora Un grand sommeil noir llegaba el turno de Kaddish, la primera de las Deux mélodies hébraïques de Ravel. Es difícil describir la impresión que causó la oración fúnebre, la profunda emoción que transmitió Keenlyside; quizá pueda dar una idea el hecho de que, tras unos instantes de silencio, los aplausos interrumpieran el bloque de canciones, algo tan inusual como ovacionar un movimiento de una sinfonía antes de que esta acabe. Increíble interpretación. … El recital acabó con sentido del humor y dos propinas relajadas, Le paon y Le grillon de las Histoires naturelles de Ravel, una muy buena manera de acabar un recital que mantuvo un gran nivel y la conexión con el público de principio a fin, de altísima intensidad; en una palabra, soberbio”

Previous concert 2013.05.12 Philharmonie, Berlin: Lisa Milne, Roger Norrington >>>
Next concert 2013.07.24 Recital, Verbier: Emanuel Ax >>>


{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Sue March 18, 2013 at 11:56 am

Hard to understand why there are only two reviews of this wonderful recital. All the more reason to thank Paul and Diana for their own thoughts, so perfectly put. It certainly was a privilege to be present.

diana jones March 10, 2013 at 9:23 pm

Thank you Paul, for putting into words everything I felt about last night’s recital. It was quite simply stunning, and when he sang “Kaddish” I don’t think there could have been a dry eye in the house. Unfortunately I don’t think we’ll have the pleasure of hearing him sing that one very often, if ever again, as he told me afterwards that he’d sung it for his father, and it’s not something he would sing regularly. It did explain though, why it was so moving when he sang it, as it was such a personal thing, and I’m not surprised that he left the stage for a moment when he finished it.
As you said, he has never sounded in better voice, and Malcolm Martineau was the perfect accompanist. A truly mesmerising evening!


Marilyn March 10, 2013 at 3:54 pm

Thank you so much, Paul, for being there “for us,” and then for being so kind to report back to us!

Sigh . . . I had hoped there might be a recording of this recital . . .

Oh well . . . Even more reason to thank you for your review!

Best wishes from across the pond!


Paul March 10, 2013 at 3:20 am

This was, quite simply, an astonishing recital. A vocal and emotional tour de force. I have never heard Simon Keenlyside in better voice, from beginning to end consistently focussed, intense, the voice easy throughout, whether in the opening, introspective Wolf songs, or in the furious railings of ‘Prometheus’. Then that amazing, lighter Gallic sound he finds, another world, for the second half of Ravel, Faure and Poulenc. Such quiet desolation in ‘Un grand sommeil noir’, a song I’d never heard before, but followed by the heartfelt outpouring of ‘Kaddisch’, sung with searing intensity. Incredible contrasts throughout, and none of it for mere show – all performed with that absolute honesty, sincerity and truthfulness to the music that is this singer’s trademark. There were only two encores, both from his signature ‘Histoires naturelles’ – ‘Le paon’ and ‘Le grillon’. He seems to inhabit these songs now so completely, realising every nuance of text and gesture. Malcolm Martineau equalled the singer, as always, in the beauty and subtlety of his playing. I don’t know another accompanist who gives the listener such a feeling of inevitability, of rightness of phrasing and timing. He produced unfailingly lovely sound, placing notes in the closing rallentando of a song with exquisitely weighted, graded precision. Wonderful rhythm, perfect clarity. An evening of transcendant performances from both musicians. Keenlyside clearly appreciates Martineau’s playing. There was real warmth in their shared acknowledgement of the audience’s applause. There were no microphones on view, so for those fortunate to have been there, very special. Thank you both.

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