Wigmore Hall Song Competition by ProQuest

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									                                                                              Marcus
                                                                          Farnsworth



Wigmore Hall Song Competition                                 41 countries. By the                                                  Another British bari-
                                                              semi-final on Septem-                                                 tone, Benedict Nelson,
    he biennial international song compet-                    ber 8, the singers had                                                carried off the £5,000
T   ition held at the Wigmore Hall with the
financial support of the Kohn Foundation
                                                              been thinned down to
                                                              12, each of whom was
                                                                                                                                    second prize; it was
                                                                                                                                    the first time British
embraces every aspect of the song rep-                        allotted 20 minutes                                                   singers had been so
ertoire with piano accompaniment. Since                       and was required to                                                   highly placed in this
it was launched in 1997, the range of                         perform two Schubert                                                  competition. I have
prizes had been expanded and the num-                         lieder and two songs in                                               admired Nelson’s per-
ber of entrants has steadily risen. In 2009                   languages other than                                                  formance on the
there were 150 singers and pianists from                      German. It was a long                                                 opera stage, where
                                                              session requiring inten-                                              his ability to comm-
                                         Benedict             se concentration from                                                 unicate with the aud-
                                          Nelson              the judging panel,                                                    ience is outstanding; it
                                                              which included such                                                   was notable here in
                                                              distinguished singers as                                              songs by Quilter and
                                                              Anne Evans, Margaret                                                  Britten, his melliflu-
                                                              Price, Ann Murray, Thomas Allen, Wolfgang       ous baritone flowing freely from the
                                                              Holzmair and the pianists Iain Burnside         opening bars. He got to the heart of chan-
                                                              and Graham Johnson.                             sons by Fauré, Debussy and Duparc,
                                                                  At this stage, I thought there was no       savouring the French words and the depth
                                                              obvious winner and the four selected final-     of their meaning, and responded to lieder
                                                              ists, who each presented a 30-minute prog-      by
								
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