A woman’s life and love? For Milton Court Artist-in-Residence Roderick Williams, Schumann’s great song cycle opens up some remarkably modern perspectives on identity and the human heart.
‘The joy is the love, the love is the joy’ declares the (supposedly) female narrator of Frauenliebe und-leben. ‘I have said it, and won’t take it back!’ And since human emotion acknowledges no gender, Williams has assembled an entire recital that explores the limitlessly fluid ways in which two souls can merge.
It’s an inspired idea for a song recital: since every song is itself an encounter of words and music, singer and pianist – each enriched by the other. Brahms is a natural complement to Schumann, but songs by Sally Beamish, Herbert Howells and a new cycle by Ryan Wigglesworth all offer an utterly distinctive perspective. For Roderick Williams, though, it’s simply about communication: ‘I’d love audiences to think, “What an amazing juxtaposition of music and poetry this is”.’