Nicholas Daniel/Julius Drake – Wigmore Hall lunchtime series review

Wigmore Hall/BBC Radio 3
The oboist and pianist premiered two brand new pieces in this wide-ranging lunchtime recital

No one could accuse the Wigmore Hall’s lunchtime series of playing it too safe. There are plenty of surprises and novelties in the programmes to come, and oboist Nicholas Daniel’s recital with pianist Julius Drake included no less than three pieces being broadcast for the first time.

All three are pervaded by a sense of fragility and loss. Two were only finished during the Covid lockdown – Huw Watkins’s Arietta suspends a swooping soaring melodic line over rippling accompaniments, while Michael Berkeley’s A Dark Waltz emerges haltingly from the penumbrous lower registers of the piano. The third was by Liszt – his Elégie No 1 is best known as a solo piano piece, though it’s sometimes heard in a version for cello and piano. Recently, though, it’s been discovered that it was first composed for cor anglais and, as Daniel showed, the drooping, rather Tristan-esque phrases suit that intrinsically melancholy instrument well.

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Wigmore Hall/BBC Radio 3The oboist and pianist premiered two brand new pieces in this wide-ranging lunchtime recitalNo one could accuse the Wigmore Hall’s lunchtime series of playing it too safe. There are plenty of surprises and novelties in the programmes to come, and oboist Nicholas Daniel’s recital with pianist Julius Drake included no less than three pieces being broadcast for the first time.All three are pervaded by a sense of fragility and loss. Two were only finished during the Covid lockdown – Huw Watkins’s Arietta suspends a swooping soaring melodic line over rippling accompaniments, while Michael Berkeley’s A Dark Waltz emerges haltingly from the penumbrous lower registers of the piano. The third was by Liszt – his Elégie No 1 is best known as a solo piano piece, though it’s sometimes heard in a version for cello and piano. Recently, though, it’s been discovered that it was first composed for cor anglais and, as Daniel showed, the drooping, rather Tristan-esque phrases suit that intrinsically melancholy instrument well. Continue reading…

Classical music, Wigmore Hall, Radio 3, Music, Culture

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