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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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