For those Sheffield culture vultures among you there’ll be a recital by the fabulously gorgeous tenor Stewart Campbell next Friday 28 June. See below for details.
Friday 28 June
Stewart Campbell (tenor) Jonathan Gooing (piano) – The Diary of One Who Disappeared
13:00, Upper Chapel, Norfolk Street, S1 2JD
Duration: 1 hour
Tickets: Admission is free and tickets are not required
Britten: Canticle IV, Op. 86
Janácek: The Diary of one who Disappeared
“Some time ago, in an east moravian highland village, JD, a law-abiding and industrious youth, the sole object of hope for his parents, disappeared from home in a mysterious way. at first an accident or even a crime was suspected and the imagination of the villagers was kindled. Some days later, however, a diary was found in his room which disclosed the secret. It contained several short poems which eventually provided the key to the mystery.”
Lidové noviny (‘People’s Paper’) Brno, Czechoslovakia, 14 May 1916
Janácek’s epic song cycle was completed over two years and first performed in his hometown of Brno in 1921. Janácek composed the work shortly after a series of anonymous poems appeared in the local newspaper about a young farm boy who fell in love with a Gypsy girl and left his family for them. That same year Janácek met Kamila Stösslová a married woman whom he became completely infatuated with. Their platonic relationship (she never reciprocated his feelings) is detailed in an extraordinary correspondence of more than 700 surviving letters between the pair.
The theme of relinquishing one’s life and embarking on new paths can also be seen in Britten’s canticle IV. T.S.Eliot’s poem describes the journey of the three kings to Bethlehem, but focuses on the day-to-day difficulties of journey, the cold, the lack of shelter and unfriendly town folk, accompanied by Britten’s brilliantly graphic piano accompaniment where we can hear every footstep of the journey.