Strauss, Patterson and Handel at the RNCM

My first year at the RNCM is drawing to a close – but the last month of term has definitely been the busiest and most varied yet! At the beginning of June, I was delighted to take part in the RNCM’s Joyce and Michael Kennedy Award for Singing of Strauss. My programme consisted of four Strauss songs, accompanied by Jonathan Fisher: “Ich wollt ein Sträußlein binden” and “Säusle, liebe Myrte” from his Brentano lieder, “Wiegenlied” and finally “Wie sollten wir geheim sie halten”. It was a great experience to perform such beautiful music alongside friends from the College and also to hear some of Strauss’ less familiar repertoire. The evening also marked my first proper performance in the Concert Hall – which was very exciting! This year, the prize was split between two very worthy winners, Daniella Sicari (soprano) and Matthew Nuttall (baritone). Congratulations to them both – and many thanks to Jonathan for his fantastic accompaniment!

Photo credit: Kimberley Raw

The following evening, I returned to the Concert Hall for a performance of Paul Patterson’s song cycle The Sorriest Cow of Capricorn with pianist Olivia Dance. The cycle, which employed poems by Mervyn Peake from his A Book of Nonsense, was both hilarious and sinister and great fun to prepare. Olivia and I received coaching from Paul in the run-up to the concert, which was very insightful – and we even added an extra word to the final song in the cycle, “How fly the birds of heaven”. It was an amazing feeling to work on music with the composer present! The concert took place as part of a two-day festival exploring Patterson’s works, so we were also able to hear some of his other compositions performed live, including the spectacular “Lizards”, “Spirals” and “Scorpions” for solo and duo harp. We are very grateful to the RNCM for involving us in the project!

With Paul Patterson, post-concert! Photo credit: Caroline Taylor

June was also the month of College assessments. I took my Lecture Recital assessment in February, so that just left Small Ensemble Performance; I performed Strauss songs accompanied by Anna Chiu and Handel’s cantata La Lucrezia, again with Anna and Mario Castelló Córdoba. As Anna, Mario and I won the RNCM’s Brodsky Cross-School Prize with the same cantata last month, we are now on the external engagements list. We can’t wait to start planning repertoire for next year!

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