Home listening - Bostridge and Pappano, Anne Lovett and Our Classical Century

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The Guardian

Ian Bostridge and Antonio Pappano join forces on a moving set to mark Armistice, the BBC celebrates 100 years of British music, and Anne Lovett channels the here and now

• Putting together a song recital to mark today’s Armistice centenary is no easy task – few art songs came directly from the horrors of the trenches – but the work of two composers killed in the conflict, one English, one German, finds its way on to a moving new release from tenor Ian Bostridge, with the Royal Opera’s Antonio Pappano at the piano. George Butterworth’s settings of AE Housman’s A Shropshire Lad are well known and welcome here, but not so familiar is Rudi Stephan’s startlingly sensuous Ich will dir singen ein Hohelied, a cycle of erotic love songs far more radical than Butterworth’s nostalgic pastoralism. Requiem: the Pity of War (Warner Classics) also takes Mahler’s original piano and voice version of three songs from Des Knaben Wunderhorn and Kurt Weill’s strident settings of Walt Whitman’s American civil war poetry to drive home the message that, whatever the conflict, the tragedy of war never retreats.

• Marking another sort of centenary, the BBC begins Our Classical Century on Thursday, billed as a year-long celebration of 100 years of music-making in Britain and aimed at a wide audience. Seasoned home listeners may find some of the series a tad obvious but the intention to open new ears to the BBC’s extraordinary archive and to dissect music in televised “discovery concerts” is a great idea. Watch out for special programmes on BBC Four, BBC Two and, of course, Radio 3.

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Sun Nov 11 09:00:11 CET 2018