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Jan  1
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Mark Padmore
Jonathan Biss

Friday, March 10, 2017 7:30 PM Zankel Hall
URL Copied
In the final weeks of his life, Schubert composed a large body of music, including the Piano Sonata in A Major, D. 959, and the songs of Schwanengesang. Despite the grim circumstances of his condition, Schubert resisted darkness and wrote some of his most inspired and transcendent music. The Piano Sonata is one of three he wrote in his final weeks, and is bold and lyrical with an Andantino movement that fascinates with its surprising key changes. The Schwanengesang songs don’t tell a particular story, but contain the quintessentially Romantic themes of nature, love, and loss that Schubert sets with soaring lyricism.


Mark Padmore, Tenor
Jonathan Biss, Piano


Piano Sonata in A Major, D. 959
"Im Freien," D. 880
"Die Sterne," D. 939
"Des Fischers Liebesglück," D. 933
"Der Winterabend," D. 938
"Herbst," D. 945
Selections from Schwanengesang, D. 957
·· Kriegers Ahnung
·· Aufenthalt
·· In der Ferne
·· Die Stadt
·· Am Meer
·· Der Doppelgänger
·· Die Taubenpost

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately two hours, including one 20-minute intermission. Please note that there will be no late seating before intermission.

This concert is made possible, in part, by the A. L. and Jennie L. Luria Foundation.

At a Glance

After he was diagnosed with syphilis in late 1822, Schubert had to confront both his mortality and how/what to create in the time remaining. In those days, syphilis was an unpredictable disease, and one’s lease on life in the wake of contracting it was of unknown duration: Hugo Wolf, similarly afflicted, had some 19 years of sanity and creativity, but Schubert had only five. It is one of history’s many tragic ironies that he died exactly 100 years before Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin, which could have cured him. But, knowing that his health was ruined and that he would almost certainly die young, he made heroic use of the time left to him, altering the landscape of music in a few short years. He was perhaps particularly drawn to the poetry of some of his “late songs’” (how tragic to say these words about a man only in his 30th year)—meditations on what constitutes a good life and a good death. 


Mark Padmore

Mark Padmore was born in London and grew up in Canterbury. After beginning his musical studies on the clarinet, he was awarded a choral scholarship to King's College, Cambridge, and graduated with an honors degree in music. He has established an international career, most notably through his appearances in Bach Passions--especially his acclaimed performances as the Evangelist in both the St. Matthew and St. John Passions with the Berliner Philharmoniker and Sir Simon Rattle, staged by Peter Sellars.

In the opera house, Mr. Padmore has worked with directors Peter Brook, Katie Mitchell, Mark Morris, and Deborah Warner. Recent work includes the leading roles in Harrison Birtwistle's The Corridor and The Cure at the Aldeburgh Festival and Linbury Studio Theatre, Covent Garden; Handel's Jephtha for the Welsh and English national operas; Captain Vere in Britten's Billy Budd; and the Evangelist in a staging of the St. Matthew Passion for Glyndebourne Festival Opera.

In concert, Mr. Padmore has performed with the world's leading orchestras, including the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Berliner Philharmoniker, New York Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, and Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.

Mr. Padmore has given recitals worldwide, performing the three Schubert song cycles in London, Liverpool, Paris, Tokyo, Vienna, and New York City, as well as at the Schubertiade in Schwarzenberg. His recital partners have included Jonathan Biss, Imogen Cooper, Julius Drake, Till Fellner, Simon Lepper, Roger Vignoles, and Andrew West. Composers who have written for Mr. Padmore include Sally Beamish, Harrison Birtwistle, Jonathan Dove, Thomas Larcher, Nico Muhly, Alec Roth, Mark-Anthony Turnage, Huw Watkins, Ryan Wigglesworth, and Hans Zender.

Mr. Padmore's extensive discography includes Beethoven's Missa solemnis and Haydn's Die Schöpfung with Bernard Haitink and the Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra on BR-Klassik; and lieder by Beethoven, Haydn, and Mozart with Kristian Bezuidenhout for Harmonia Mundi. Other Harmonia Mundi recordings include As Steals the Morn, a collection of Handel arias with The English Concert (BBC Music Magazine Vocal Award); and Schubert cycles with Paul Lewis (Winterreise, Gramophone Vocal Award).

Mr. Padmore was voted 2016 Vocalist of the Year by Musical America and was awarded an honorary doctorate by University of Kent in 2014. He is artistic director of the St. Endellion Summer Music Festival in Cornwall.

Jonathan Biss

Pianist Jonathan Biss shares his talent, passion, and intellectual curiosity with classical music lovers in the concert hall and beyond. For more than two decades on the concert stage, he has forged relationships with the New York Philharmonic, The Philadelphia Orchestra, The Cleveland Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, Budapest Festival Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, and many others.

This season, Mr. Biss continues his latest Beethoven project, Beethoven/5, for which The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra has co-commissioned five composers to write new piano concertos, each inspired by one of Beethoven's piano concertos. The five-year plan began last season, when Mr. Biss premiered Timo Andres's The Blind Banister, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Music; he will perform the piece with the New York Philharmonic in the spring of 2017.

In the 2016-2017 season, Mr. Biss examines, both in performance and academically, the concept of a composer's "late style," and has put together programs of later works by Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Britten, Elgar, Gesualdo, Kurtág, Mozart, Schubert, and Schumann-both for solo piano and in collaboration with the Brentano String Quartet and tenor Mark Padmore. In addition to Carnegie Hall, he performs these programs at London's Barbican Centre, Amsterdam's Concertgebouw, and in performances in San Francisco and at the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society. He also gives master classes at Carnegie Hall in connection with the "late style" project and publishes a Kindle Single on the topic in January.

Mr. Biss has a notable recording career with recent albums for EMI winning Diapason d'Or de l'année and Edison awards. In 2017, he will release the sixth volume of his nine-year, nine-disk recording cycle of Beethoven's complete piano sonatas.

Mr. Biss studied at Indiana University and the Curtis Institute of Music, where he joined the piano faculty in 2010. He led the first massive open online course (MOOC) ever offered by a classical music conservatory, Exploring Beethoven's Piano Sonatas, reaching more than 150,000 people in 185 countries. His bestselling eBook Beethoven's Shadow, published by Rosetta Books in 2011, was the first Kindle Single written by a classical musician.

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