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Celebrity Recital

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We are sorry to announce that due to unforeseen circumstances we have had to postpone the Toby Spence/Joseph Middleton recital.  All tickets will be reimbursed in full and a new date will be announced in due course.  We apologise for the inconvenience caused and look forward to welcoming you to the Festival in April.


£22, £20 registered unwaged/disabled, £5 students/under 30
Booking: Online (no surcharges) at concerts.leeds.ac.uk or on 0113 343 2584

Toby Spence tenor
Joseph Middleton piano 


Benjamin Britten 1913-76
On this Island
Let the florid music praise!
Now the leaves are falling fast
As it is, plenty

Francis Poulenc 1899-1963
Tel jour, telle nuit
Bonne journée
Une ruine coquille vide
Le front come un drapeau perdu
Une roulette couverte en tuiles
À toutes brides
Une herbe pauvre
Je n’ai envie que de t’aimer
Figure de force brûlante et farouche
Nous avons fait la nuit

Benjamin Britten
O Waly, Waly
Sally in our Alley

Gerald Finzi 1901-56
Till Earth Outwears
Let me enjoy the earth
In years defaced
The Market-Girl
I look into my glass
It never looks like summer here
At a lunar eclipse
Life laughs onward

Benjamin Britten
Seven Sonnets of Michelangelo
XVI Si come nella penne e nell’ inchiostro
XXXI A che più debb’io mai l’intensa voglia
XXX Veggio co’bei vostri occhi un dolce lume
LV Tu sa, ch’io so, signor miei, che tu sai
XXXVIII Rendete agli occhi miei, o fonte o fiume
XXXII  S’un casto amor, s’una pietà superna
XXIV Spirto ben nato, in cui si specchia e vede

Toby Spence’s cleverly constructed recital explores the musical kinship between three of the finest twentieth century song composers. Poulenc, Britten and Finzi all cut their teeth writing miniature forms before turning to larger scale works later in life, and all explored thoroughly individual musical languages while painting the finest words with abundantly colourful accompaniments. Poulenc’s greatest vocal work, a cycle in the line of Winterreise or Dichterliebe, stands alongside one of Britten’s most personal works, one which culminates in a song extolling the perfection and immortality of love. Spence comes to Leeds Lieder fresh from triumphant recent appearances at New York’s Metropolitan Opera, the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and recitals at Wigmore Hall and the Edinburgh Festival.

Presented in partnership with Leeds University International Concert Series

Image © Mitch Jenkins