SATURDAY 4TH NOVEMBER 2023, 4PM (ends approx 6.15pm)
WEST ROAD CONCERT HALL, WEST ROAD, CAMBRIDGE
Tragedies, triumph and of course the beautiful Adagietto of Mahler’s Fifth Symphony
Canteloube Chants d’Auvergne
Mahler Symphony no.5
Conductor: Harry Sever
Soloist: Rowan Pierce
Early in the 20th century there was a great revival of folk music across Europe. Chants d’Auvergne is a collection of French folk songs arranged for soprano and orchestra by Joseph Canteloube, in the local language of auvergnat.
They’re a great way to explore the folk roots of Gustav Mahler’s music, although those roots may feel far removed in the context of the huge scale of his Fifth Symphony. More classical and conventional in its structure than his previous symphonies, it is still full of tragedy, triumph and love – as indeed his life had been in the months leading up to its composition. From the opening funeral march, through the well-known Adagietto for harp and strings written as a love letter to his wife Alma, to the closing contrapuntal tour de force, this is Mahler exploring the full spectrum of emotions.
And what else connects the two works in this concert? They both found their way into great films of the 20th century: the Adagietto appearing in Death in Venice and William Walton incorporating the Baïlèro from Chants d’Auvergne into his soundtrack for Laurence Olivier’s Henry V.
Soprano Rowan Pierce joins the orchestra for Canteloube’s Chants d’Auvergne. Already well-established as a recipient of the President’s Award whilst at the Royal College of Music and having been a Britten Pears young artist, a Rising Star of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and a Harewood Artist at English National Opera, Rowan has appeared in concert throughout Europe, North and South America. She performs regularly with world-class ensembles and recently lent her voice to the character of opera singer Siena Rosso in the Netflix series, Bridgerton.
Tickets from £15 (concessions and free carers tickets available), pre-bookable programme £2
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About Guest Soprano Rowan Pierce
Saltburn-by-the-sea soprano Rowan Pierce was awarded the President’s Award by HRH Prince of Wales at the Royal College of Music in 2017. She won both the Song Prize and First Prize at the inaugural Grange Festival International Singing Competition in 2017, the first Schubert Society Singer Prize in 2014 and the Van Someren Godfery Prize at the RCM. She was a Britten Pears young artist, a Rising Star of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and a Harewood Artist at English National Opera.
Rowan has appeared in concert throughout Europe and North and South America. She performs regularly with ensembles including the OAE, Academy of Ancient Music, Dunedin Consort, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Northern Sinfonia.
Rowan made her BBC Proms debut at the Royal Albert Hall in 2017 with the OAE and returned in 2019 for Handel Jephtha with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. She made her Wigmore Hall debut with the London Handel Players and has subsequently appeared with many other chamber ensembles in repertoire including Bach and Wolf.
Other recent highlights include performances with Les Arts Florissants, the Rotterdam Philharmonic, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Freiburg Baroque, La Nuova Musica, Polyphony, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Early Opera Company and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. Visits to the US in 2019 included appearances with the OAE at the Lincoln Center in New York, with the Academy of Ancient Music in San Francisco and at the Disney Hall in Los Angeles. She also gave a recital at the Kennedy Center, Washington with Richard Egarr and William Carter in January 2020 and gave a tour in New York with Philharmonia Baroque in the summer of 2021. Recent engagements also include Mahler 4 with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales and Martyn Brabbins.
Rowan has performed Drusilla in Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea as a Britten Pears Young Artist, and roles as a Samling Artist included Susanna in Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro, Miss Wordsworth in Britten’s Albert Herring and Princess in Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges.
Nominated for The Time Sky Arts Award for opera in 2020 her future and recent operatic roles include Galatea / Acis & Galatea, Iris / Semele, Dorinda / Orlando, Belinda / Dido and Aeneas, Elsie / Yeoman of the Guard. As a Harewood Artist she has performed Tiny / Paul Bunyan, Papagena / The Magic Flute and Barbarina / The Marriage of Figaro. In 2019 Rowan made her debut at the Buxton Festival in the role of Papiria / Lucio Papirio Dittatore by Caldara with La Serenissima and performed the roles of Quivera and Orazia / The Indian Queen with Opéra de Lille under Emmanuelle Haïm, Other recent / future engagements include various roles in performances of both Purcell’s King Arthur and the Fairy Queen with the Gabrieli Consort and also with Ensemble Alia Mens in France, more performances of the Indian Queen with Opéra de Luxembourg, Opéra de Caen and Antwerp Opera as well as a recital with Philharmonia Baroque in Ryedale Festival. In 2020 she should have made her Covent Garden debut performing Barbarina but this was cancelled due to Covid. Instead she will make her debut there in 2023 singing Papagena in Mozart’s Magic Flute. In 2022 she made her Glyndebourne Festival debut singing Oberto / Alcina.