Ian Bostridge, Tenor
Brad Mehldau, Piano
Ian Bostridge, Tenor
Brad Mehldau, Piano
BRAD MEHLDAU The Folly of Desire (NY Premiere, co-commissioned by Carnegie Hall)
COWARD "Twentieth Century Blues" from Cavalcade
STRACHEY "These Foolish Things (Remind Me of You)"
PORTER "Ev'ry Time We Say Goodbye"
Event DurationThe printed program will last approximately 90 minutes, including one 20-minute intermission.
Support for the 125 Commissions Project is provided by members of Carnegie Hall's Composer Club.
In honor of the centenary of his birth, Carnegie Hall’s 2019–2020 season is dedicated to the memory of Isaac Stern in recognition of his extraordinary contributions to Carnegie Hall, arts advocacy, and the field of music.
At a Glance
After seeing each other perform in Germany’s Schloss Elmau in 2015, American pianist-composer Brad Mehldau and British tenor Ian Bostridge met and quickly professed their admiration for each other’s body of work. That chance run-in resulted in a friendly correspondence where the two musicians discussed everything from their shared love of lieder to Bach and jazz. This led to a creative spark that resulted in a few pieces Mr. Mehldau wrote specifically with Mr. Bostridge in mind. Soon after, the two musicians began to discuss building out this original repertoire as a song cycle that revolved around texts and themes they both wanted to explore. At the onset of their discussions, Mr. Mehldau brought up his interest in investigating the themes of the modern sinuous nature of human desire as it exists in love and adoration. After the two agreed on this central theme, Mr. Mehldau began composing a set of music with lyrics drawn from the poetry of Blake, Yeats, Shakespeare, Goethe, and others. In early 2019, Mr. Bostridge and Mr. Mehldau premiered this new song cycle, The Folly of Desire, fittingly paired with Robert Schumann’s Dichterliebe (A Poet’s Love).
Ian Bostridge’s international recital career has taken him to the Edinburgh, Munich, Vienna, Aldeburgh, Salzburg, and Schubertiade festivals, and to the main stages of Carnegie Hall and Milan’s Teatro alla Scala. He has held artistic residencies at the Vienna Konzerthaus, Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw, Philharmonie Luxembourg, London’s Barbican Centre and Wigmore Hall, and Hamburg’s Laeiszhalle. In 2018, Mr. Bostridge began an auspicious artistic residency with the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra—the first of its kind for the ensemble.
Mr. Bostridge’s award-winning recordings include Schubert’s Die schöne Müllerin with Graham Johnson (Gramophone Award, 1996); Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress with Sir John Eliot Gardiner (Grammy Award, 1999); works by Schumann with Julius Drake (Gramophone Award, 1998); Britten’s The Turn of the Screw (Gramophone Award, 2003) and Billy Budd (Gramophone Award, 2010) with Daniel Harding; and Thomas Adès’s The Tempest (Gramophone Award, 2010). Recent recordings include works by Schubert with Mr. Drake, as well as works by Britten and the album Shakespeare Songs—both with Sir Antonio Pappano (Gramophone Award, 2017). In further collaboration with Mr. Pappano, Mr. Bostridge released an album to commemorate the centenary of the World War I.
Mr. Bostridge has worked with the Berliner Philharmoniker, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, and New York Philharmonic under conductors who include Sir Simon Rattle, Sir Colin Davis, Sir Andrew Davis, Seiji Ozawa, Riccardo Muti, Mstislav Rostropovich, Daniel Barenboim, and Donald Runnicles. He also sang the world premiere of Henze’s Opfergang with the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome under Mr. Pappano.
In opera, Mr. Bostridge has performed the roles of Lysander (A Midsummer Night’s Dream) with Opera Australia at the Edinburgh International Festival; Tamino (Die Zauberflöte) and Jupiter (Semele) with English National Opera; Peter Quint (The Turn of the Screw), Don Ottavio (Don Giovanni), and Caliban (The Tempest) at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden; Nerone (L’incoronazione di Poppea), Tom Rakewell (The Rake’s Progress), and Male Chorus (The Rape of Lucretia) with the Bayerische Staatsoper; and Don Ottavio with the Vienna State Opera. He has also sung Aschenbach (Death in Venice) with English National Opera, as well as in Brussels and Luxembourg.
Mr. Bostridge’s 2019–2020 season includes performances of a new commission by Olli Mustonen at the Concertgebouw and Wigmore Hall, and Debussy’s Livre de Baudelaire orchestrated and conducted by John Adams with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Death in Venice at Deutsche Oper Berlin, and Curlew River on tour with the Britten Sinfonia.
One of the most lyrical and intimate voices of contemporary jazz piano, Brad Mehldau has forged a unique path that embodies the essence of jazz exploration, classical romanticism, and pop allure. From critical acclaim as a bandleader to major international exposure in collaborations with Pat Metheny, Renée Fleming, and Joshua Redman, Mr. Mehldau continues to garner numerous awards and admiration from both jazz purists and music enthusiasts alike. His forays into melding musical idioms in both trio (with bassist Larry Grenadier and drummer Jeff Ballard) and solo settings has seen brilliant re-workings of songs by contemporary songwriters like The Beatles, Cole Porter, Radiohead, Paul Simon, George Gershwin, and Nick Drake, alongside the ever-evolving breadth of his own significant catalog of original compositions.
Mr. Mehldau’s musical personality forms a dichotomy. He is first and foremost an improviser, and greatly cherishes the surprise and wonder that can occur from a spontaneous musical idea that is expressed directly, in real time. But he also has a deep fascination with the formal architecture of music, and it informs everything he plays. The two sides of his personality—the improviser and the formalist—play off each other, and the effect is often something like controlled chaos.
Mr. Mehldau’s most consistent output has been in the trio format. In 2012, Nonesuch Records released Ode, an album of original songs by the Brad Mehldau Trio that earned a Grammy nomination. In 2013, he produced and performed on Walking Shadows, the acclaimed Nonesuch release by Joshua Redman. That year also included a number of collaborative tours, including a duo tour with mandolin virtuoso Chris Thile, piano duets with Kevin Hays, and a new electric project with prodigious drummer Mark Guiliana. Mr. Mehldau’s monumental and ambitious 10 Years Solo Live eight-album box set was released to critical acclaim in 2015. The following year, Nonesuch released the Brad Mehldau Trio’s Blues and Ballads (the ensemble’s first new release since 2012’s Where Do You Start) and his celebrated duo album with Mr. Redman, Nearness—both earning Grammy nominations.
Earlier this year, Finding Gabriel was released, Mr. Mehldau’s acclaimed concept recording of harmonically rich vocal layers paired with strings, synthesizers, rock drums, and improvisation with guest artists Ambrose Akinmusire, Sara Caswell, Kurt Elling, Joel Frahm, Mark Guiliana, Gabriel Kahane, and Becca Stevens, among others.
Mr. Mehldau is frequently commissioned by Carnegie Hall to compose new works, including The Blue Estuaries and The Book of Hours: Love Poems to God, both premiered in 2005 with Renée Fleming and recorded for the Love Sublime album. In 2010–2011, Mr. Mehldau became the first jazz artist to be named holder of the Richard and Barbara Debs Composer’s Chair at Carnegie Hall. That season included a performance of another work commissioned by the Hall, Love Songs, with mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter. In 2013, Mr. Mehldau premiered his Variations on a Melancholy Theme with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra. Two years later, he premiered Three Pieces After Bach (co-commissioned by Carnegie Hall), inspired by selections from the master’s seminal work, The Well-Tempered Clavier.