West Wicklow Chamber Music Festival: Elizabeth Llewellyn & Simon Lepper
West Wicklow Chamber Music Festival Winter Weekend
Globally-acclaimed soprano Elizabeth Llewellyn and pianist Simon Lepper bring our Winter Weekend to a close with a beautiful and sensuous programme that is sure to leave the heart strings thoroughly tugged.
Winning hearts with her magnetic stage presence and minds with the beautiful depth of her vocal expression, Elizabeth Llewellyn has established herself internationally as a dramatic and vocal artist of distinction. Elizabeth will be joined for her Irish debut performance by pianist Simon Lepper, whose “prowess as a pianist is fused with a real sensitivity to words and to the voice” (The Times, UK)
The duo’s gorgeous programme begins with Finzi’s Till Earth Outwears, a collection of songs set to texts by Thomas Hardy. Two mélodies by Ernest Chausson follow, including “Les Papillons,” whose tricky piano accompaniment imitates a butterfly traveling from flower to tree on a windy day.
“Le rossignol des lilas” (The nightingale among the lilac) is one of the Venezuelan-born French composer Reynaldo Hahn’s loveliest creations and is every bit as evocative as its title suggests, while Verdi’s songs condense all the drama and suspense of his grand operas into a chamber setting.
The second half begins with a selection of songs by Samuel Coleridge-Taylor from Llewellyn and Lepper’s award-winning album Heart & Hereafter. A British composer of African heritage, Coleridge-Taylor was a composer ahead of his time who is at last starting to receive the recognition he deserves. Bittersweet, painfully-beautiful, heart-breaking and sensuous, Strauss’s Four Last Songs are his farewell to life, to art, to a vanished world. Strauss saved his best for the very end.