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Archived An Italian Songbook
Chamber Music

An Italian Songbook

Roderick Williams baritone
Rowan Pierce soprano
Kathryn Rudge mezzo-soprano
James Way tenor
Robert Murray tenor
Christopher Glynn piano
Jeremy Sams and Louise Shephard directors 

For his final masterpiece, Hugo Wolf looked south – to Italy – and produced a collection of tiny jewel-like songs that paint a kaleidoscopic portrait of village life. The men and women of his Italian Songbook fall in and out of love, with squabbles and petty jealousies heard alongside serenades and love songs of great beauty. Darker undercurrents also occasionally emerge in a songbook that Wolf filled with humour and charm, sarcasm and tenderness, delight and despair.

Like Mozart, Wolf creates characters that are astonishingly precise, vivid and detailed, but also somehow universal. And his tiny scenes of village life paint a bigger picture too: a whole world of human frailty, passion and pain. 

Roderick Williams heads his hand-picked cast in this magical new dramatization – taking the songs as a starting point to tell that story and create a whole little world. An evening of passion, friendship and heartbreak brought vividly to life by the music that Wolf called “the most perfect of all my works”. 

Concert will last approximately 70 minutes with no interval. Please note these songs will be sung in English.

programme notes


8% administrative fee applies to most telephone/online orders (excluding Schools Concerts). Postage is included in this fee. More information about booking fees.