Slender, clear, flexible – Mark Padmore has a tenor voice that is ideal for the Evangelist roles in Johann Sebastian Bach’s Passions. Berliner Philharmoniker audiences have had several opportunities over the last few years to be convinced of this fact – just think of the acclaimed performances of the St John and St Matthew Passions in the stagings by Peter Sellars in 2010, 2013 and 2014. As one review in the Berliner Morgenpost wrote, “Mark Padmore is a charismatic Evangelist”. The singer has also appeared in Berliner Philharmoniker Foundation concerts as a soloist in Joseph Haydn’s Harmony Mass, Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis and George Frideric Handel’s Messiah, plus in lieder recitals. He has always impressed his audiences by his intelligent, sophisticated yet emotional singing.
As this season’s artist in residence, he reveals further facets of his musical abilities. In the first concert of his residency, he performs works by composers from his native England with members of the Berliner Philharmoniker. Peter Warlock’s song cycle The Curlew for voice, flute, cor anglais and string quartet is about the pain and disappointment of unrequited love. The cycle begins with a plaintive gesture from the cor anglais and draws the listener into a poetic and melancholy emotional world. Richard Rodney Bennett became world famous as the creator of the music for the classic film Murder on the Orient Express. Composing film music guaranteed him financial independence and allowed him to write the music that was important to him, such as the Tom O’Bedlam’s Song for voice and cello. The concert closes with an early and a late work by Ralph Vaughan Williams: the cycle On Wenlock Edge for tenor, piano and string quartet, composed under the influence of his studies with Maurice Ravel, evokes atmospheric sound images of rural England, while the Blake Songs were written shortly before the composer’s death for the film The Vision of William Blake.