Performance Thursday, April 10, 2014 | 7:30 PM

Iestyn Davies
Thomas Dunford

Weill Recital Hall
When British countertenor Iestyn Davies made his New York recital debut at Carnegie Hall in 2011, he was hailed as “one of the most memorable presences on the scene right now.” He sang with “a passionate sensuality fully contained within the rigorous constraints of Baroque form” and has “the potential to be one of the truly special artists of his generation” (The New York Times). Hear the inspired development of this emerging artist and early-music expert when he returns to the Carnegie Hall recital stage.

This concert is part of Salon Encores.


  • Iestyn Davies, Countertenor
  • Thomas Dunford, Lute


  • JOHNSON "Have you seen the bright lily grow?"
  • JOHNSON "Care–charming sleep"
  • JOHNSON "From the Famous Peak of Derby"
  • DOWLAND "Semper Dowland semper dolens"
  • DANYEL "Mrs. M. E. Her funeral tears for the death of her husband"
  • DANYEL "Why canst thou not, as others do?"
  • DANYEL "Can doleful notes?"
  • DOWLAND "Mrs Winter's Jump"
  • CAMPION "Never weather - Beaten sail"
  • NICO MUHLY Old Bones (NY Premiere)
  • DOWLAND "Lachrimae"
  • DOWLAND "Come again, sweet love doth now invite"
  • DOWLAND "In darkness let me dwell"
  • DOWLAND "The King of Denmark's Galliard"
  • DOWLAND "Can she excuse my wrongs"
  • DOWLAND "Flow, my tears, fall from your springs"
  • DOWLAND "Now, O now, I needs must part" (including "The Frog Galliard")

  • Encores:
  • CAMPION "I care not for these ladies"
  • ERIC CLAPTON "Tears in Heaven"
  • MORLEY "Will You Buy a Fine Dog”

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately two hours, including one 20-minute intermission.


  • Iestyn Davies

    After graduating with a degree in archaeology and anthropology from St. John's College, Cambridge, Iestyn Davies studied at the Royal Academy of Music, London.

    Mr. Davies's operatic engagements have included Ottone in Monteverdi's L'incoronazione di Poppea for Zurich Opera and Glyndebourne Festival Opera; Arsace in Handel's Partenope for New York City Opera; Oberon in Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream for Houston Grand Opera, English National Opera, and the Metropolitan Opera, where he has also appeared as Trinculo in The Tempest; Apollo in Britten's Death in Venice for English National Opera and his debut at La Scala, Milan; Hamor in Handel's Jephtha for Welsh National Opera and Opéra National de Bordeaux; Steffani's Niobe at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; Unulfo in Handel's Rodelinda for his debut at the Metropolitan Opera; Rinaldo at Lyric Opera of Chicago; Bertarido in Rodelinda for English National Opera; and George Benjamin's Written on Skin for his debuts at the Opéra Comique and the Munich and Vienna festivals.

    Concert engagements have included performances at Teatro alla Scala with Gustavo Dudamel; the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and the Tonhalle in Zurich with Ton Koopman; and the Barbican, Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Lincoln Center, and the BBC Proms in Royal Albert Hall with orchestras that include the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Britten Sinfonia, Concerto Köln, Concerto Copenhagen, Ensemble Matheus, the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, Academy of Ancient Music, and Scottish Chamber Orchestra. He also curated his own residency at Wigmore Hall during the 2012-2013 season.

    Future engagements include the title role in Rinaldo at the Glyndebourne Festival, concerts with the New York Philharmonic and The Cleveland Orchestra, and a return to the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.

    Mr. Davies's discography includes Handel's Messiah, Chandos Anthems, and Flavio; Bach's Easter Oratorio with Retrospect Ensemble; his debut solo recording, Wigmore Hall Live, with his own Ensemble Guadagni; a disc of Porpora cantatas with Jonathan Cohen and Arcangelo; an award-winning disc of works by Guadagni for Hyperion; and a recording of arias written for Guadagni, also for Hyperion. DVD recordings include Ottone in L'incoronazione di Poppea for Glyndebourne Festival Opera under Emmanuelle Haïm on Decca; the Spirit in Purcell's Dido and Aeneas for the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, with Christopher Hogwood; and Unulfo in Rodelinda for the Metropolitan Opera under Harry Bicket. His new CD of Dowland songs, The Art of Melancholy, will be released this month by Hyperion. In addition, he appeared in the DVD of Thomas Adès's The Tempest, which won the Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording in 2013.

    Mr. Davies is the recipient of the 2010 Royal Philharmonic Society Young Artist Award, the 2012 Gramophone Recital Award, and the 2013 Critics' Circle Award for Exceptional Young Talent.

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  • Thomas Dunford

    Born in Paris in 1988, Thomas Dunford began to play the lute at age nine, and studied at the Paris Conservatoire and Schola Cantorum in Basel. He has performed in recital at Carnegie Hall and London's Wigmore Hall, and has appeared at European festivals that include Ambronay, Arques-la-Bataille, Bozar, La Chaise-Dieu, Nantes, Saintes, and Utrecht. In addition, he has performed throughout England, Scotland, Ireland, Spain, Germany, Austria, Norway, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Poland, Hungary, Romania, the US, Israel, China, Japan, and India.

    Mr. Dunford's first solo CD, Lachrimae, was released  by the French label Alpha in 2012. His discography also includes John Dowland's music with Jeni Melia and Christopher Goodwin; CDs with La Cappella Mediterranea of music by Barbara Strozzi, Falvetti's Il diluvio universale and Nabucco, and works by Zamponi; works by Farina and Romero with Ensemble Clematis; violin sonatas with Monica Huggett; Forqueray and Dowland works with Julien Léonard; recordings of Vivaldi with La Serenissima; Bacilly and Ferrabosco works with A 2 Violes Esgales; Praetorius with Capriccio Stravagante; works by Zelenka and Fasch, and bassoon arias with Ensemble Marsyas; Guadagni arias with Iestyn Davies; Handel arias with Chris Purves; Couperin's Leçons de ténèbres with  Arcangelo; Bach's Mass in B Minor with Pygmalion; early Baroque songs with soprano Jody Pou; Dowland songs with countertenor Jean-Michel Fumas; works by early French composer Attaignant with Pierre Gallon; an English manuscript with La Sainte Folie Fantastique; a duet CD of Dowland works with Iestyn Davies; and Italian 17th-century repertoire for cornetto with La Fenice.

    Mr. Dunford performs regularly with ensembles that include Les Arts Florissants, Akadêmia, Amarillis, Les Ambassadeurs, Arcangelo, La Cappella Mediterranea, Capriccio Stravagante, Le Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles, La Chapelle Rhénane, Clematis, Le Concert Spirituel, Le Concert d'Astrée, A 2 Violes Esgales, The English Concert, Baroque de Limoges, Les Folies Françaises, Irish Baroque Orchestra, Marsyas, Les Musiciens du Paradis, Les Musiciens de Saint-Julien, Les Ombres, Pierre Robert, Pygmalion, La Sainte Folie Fantastique, Scherzi Musicali, La Serenissima, Les Siècles, and Scottish Chamber Orchestra.

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At a Glance

At the turn of the 16th century into the 17th, English music achieved a moment of great florescence in one intimate genre: the lute song or ayre. In Iestyn Davies's words, "The seeds of the art song were essentially sown in the Elizabethan era, and John Dowland was the greatest exponent of this lute-song genre. Heartbreaking sentiments-as painfully familiar today as in the composer's own time-pervade the songs."

Davies and lutenist Thomas Dunford share six of Dowland's remarkable songs, including his radical masterpiece "In darkness let me dwell." But we will also hear music by three of Dowland's lesser-known colleagues: Robert Johnson, Thomas Campion, and John Danyel. Though unfortunately little of his music has survived, Danyel in particular reached the tragic power of Dowland's darkest songs in his "Grief, keep within." A colleague of Shakespeare and Ben Jonson, Johnson was a pioneer in creating music for the rich theatrical life of Elizabethan and Jacobean London.

Contrasting with this 400-year-old music is Nico Muhly's 2013 lute song, Old Bones, which nevertheless harkens back to English history in its meditation on the life and death of King Richard III, slain on Bosworth Field in 1485. Muhly's extended song takes an unusually compassionate stance toward this Shakespearean villain cursed with a hunchback.

In keeping with the intimacy of this song literature, Mr. Davies has chosen to sit while performing, just as Elizabethan performers would have done.
Program Notes
This performance is part of Early Music in Weill Recital Hall.

Part of