One of the finest Mahlerians of our time, Dame Sarah Connolly brings her fierce intellect and glorious voice to the music she has spent a life-time studying and performing. In the first release of series curat- ed and performed by Joseph Middleton that will champion the complete piano accompanied Lieder of Mahler, the ‘superlative’ (New York Times) duo of Connolly and Middleton, present the three great song cycles of Mahler: Lieder eines Fahrenden Gesellen, Fünf Rückert Lieder and Kindertotenlieder. This is the first time Sarah has performed all three cycles on one album, which she is justly famous the world over for performing with rare insight and consummate artistry. Her voice is the perfect Mahlerian instrument.
Pianist Joseph Middleton specializes
in the art of song accompaniment and
chamber music and has been highly
acclaimed in this field. Described in
Opera Magazine as ‘the rightful heir to
legendary accompanist Gerald Moore’,
by BBC Music Magazine as ‘one of the
brightest stars in the world of song and
Lieder’, he has also been labeled ‘the
cream of the new generation’
by The Times. He is Director of Leeds
Lieder, Musician in Residence and
a Bye Fellow at Pembroke College,
Cambridge and a Fellow of his alma
mater, the Royal Academy of Music,
where he is also a Professor. He was
the first accompanist to win the
Royal Philharmonic Society’s
Young Artist Award.
Joseph is a frequent guest at major music centres including London’s Wigmore Hall (where he has been a featured artist), Royal Opera House and Royal Festival Hall, New York’s Alice Tully Hall and Park Avenue Armory, Het Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Konzerthaus and Musikverein Vienna, Zürich Tonhalle, Hamburg Elbphilharmonie, Berlin BoulezSaal, Kölner Philharmonie, Strasbourg, Frankfurt, Lille and Gothenburg Opera Houses, Baden- Baden, Philharmonie Luxembourg, Musée d’Orsay Paris, Oji Hall Tokyo and Festivals in Aix-en-Provence, Aldeburgh, Barcelona, Schloss Elmau, Edinburgh, Munich, Ravinia, San Francisco, Schubertiade Hohenems and Schwarzenberg, deSingel, Soeul, Stuttgart, Toronto and Vancouver.
He made his BBC Proms debut in 2016 alongside Iestyn Davies and Carolyn Sampson and returned in 2018 alongside Dame Sarah Connolly where they premiered recently discovered songs by Benjamin Britten.
Joseph enjoys recitals with internationally established singers including Sir Thomas Allen, Louise Alder, Mary Bevan, Ian Bostridge, Allan Clayton, Dame Sarah Connolly, Marianne Crebassa, Iestyn Davies, Fatma Said, Samuel Hasselhorn, Christiane Karg, Katarina Karnéus, Angelika Kirchschlager, Dame Felicity Lott, Christopher Maltman, John Mark Ainsley, Ann Murray DBE, James Newby, Mark Padmore, Mauro Peter, Miah Persson, Sophie Rennert, Ashley Riches, Dorothea Röschmann, Kate Royal, Carolyn Sampson, Nicky Spence and Roderick Williams.
He has a special relationship with BBC Radio 3, frequently curating his own series and performing alongside the BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artists. His critically acclaimed and fast-growing discography has seen him awarded a Diapason D’or, Edison Award and Priz Caecilia as well as receiving numerous nominations for Gramophone, BBC Music Magazines and International Classical Music Awards. His interest in the furthering of the song repertoire has led Gramophone Magazine to describe him as ‘the absolute king of programming’.
During his own time, Gustav Mahler was considered as one of the major conductors of Europe, but nowadays he is considered to a major composer who bridged the Late Romantic period to the modern age.
Few composers are so connected with the symphonic repertory as Gustav Mahler. Composing symphonies was his "core business": in every aspect he developed the symphony towards, and sometimes even over, its absolute limits. Almost all of Mahler's symphonies are lenghty, demand a large orchestra and are particularly great in their expressive qualities. With rustic and mythical atmospheres (the start of the First Symphony), daunting chaos (the end of his Sixth), grand visions (end of his Second), cheerful melodies (opening Fourth), romantic melancholy (the famous adagio of his Fifth), evocations of nature (his Third), megalomanic eruptions in the orchestra (his Eighth), and the clamant atonality of his unfinished Tenth, Mahler's musical palette seemed inexhaustible.
His symphonies are captivating, but some could find it a bit 'over the top' at times. For those, his orchestral songs could undoubtedly show there is an incredibly subtle and refined side to his compositional style as well.
In the Netherlands, Mahler is particularly popular due to its close bond with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, which was already established during his lifetime!