The most immediate news is the release of Roy’s CD of Fauré songs with the magnificent American bass Jared Schwartz, on Toccata Classics, whose website is now accepting pre-publications orders. Jared’s singing has to be heard to be believed, and this selection importantly carries a large body of Fauré’s songs into the low voice range, where they have been long neglected (nearly all the tracks are first recordings by bass voice; many of them are also single unedited takes).
The songs come from Roy Howat’s and Emily Kilpatrick’s new critical Peters edition in progress of Fauré’s complete songs, of which volume 1 received a ‘Best Edition 2015’ award at the Frankfurt Musikmesse in April 2015. Volume 1 comprises Fauré’s first 34 songs, covering his most formative years, 1861–1883, a few of them published for the first time in Fauré’s original manuscript keys. Volume 3, containing all Fauré’s 17 settings of Verlaine, appears in August 2015, in time for a celebratory launch concert at London’s King’s Place Recital Hall on 21 September (with Roy and Emily playing for star singers Anna Sideris and Bradley Smith). Volumes 2 and 4 will complete the collection, all four volumes printed in high- and medium-voice editions. The series also comprises the first publication of Fauré’s complete Vocalises with piano, a new and superb vocal primer based on Fauré’s lifetime of working with singers, and his radical overhaul of vocal training at the Paris Conservatoire between 1905 and 1920.
As something of companion recording, early in 2016 Edition Peters Sounds will release a CD of tenor Tony Boutté’s masterly performances of the complete contents of the new Peters Volume 3 of Fauré songs (the complete Verlaine settings), with Emily and Roy at the piano. All these performances blend their interpretative distinction with a multitude of discoveries and corrections from the new complete Peters edition, and it makes Emily and Roy (along with Tony and Jared) especially delighted to put the new editions thus into immediate practice – just as Roy has done over the years with his recordings of Debussy, Chabrier and Fauré piano and chamber music.
In other respects the last few years have been extremely busy, with several tours to the Antipodes and North America. French repertoire looming large as always, Schubert’s last sonatas have also had a high profile (the C minor Sonata at St Andrews in 2014 and at a Schola Cantorum recital in Paris in July 2015, and the B-flat Sonata at York’s Jack Lyons Hall in January 2o15). A good few of Roy’s performances, lecture-recitals or interviews can be heard and viewed on YouTube, including Debussy’s En blanc et noir (from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in 2013, with Aaron Shorr), Bartók’s Sonata for 2 pianos and percussion (from Brisbane, also in 2013), and also Roy’s Ravelian version of Happy Birthday to Ravel, live on BBC Radio 3 as part of the 2014 Ravel birthday celebrations.
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