By Nancy Plum
In a three-concert series entitled “Icons of Song,” Princeton University Concerts is examining both the concept of love and ways to expand the boundaries of chamber music. Composers through the centuries have explored the ups and downs of love through the solo song genre, and in the first of the “Icons of Song” series, Princeton University Concerts presented a program of two song cycles celebrating these very ideas. Accompanied by pianist Brad Mehldau, British tenor Ian Bostridge performed a contemporary song cycle by Mehldau, as well as Robert Schumann’s lyrically Romantic Dichterliebe. Throughout the more than 25 songs which made up the two cycles, the audience at Richardson Auditorium last Tuesday night listened in rapt attention as these two esteemed performers conveyed some of the most formidable yet tender poetry in literature.
A native of London, Bostridge received his musical education in England’s finest institutions, including as a choral scholar at Westminster School and a student at St. John’s College in Oxford and Cambridge. His recordings of both opera and lieder have won major international prizes and have been nominated for 15 Grammy awards. Bostridge and Mehldau have been collaborating since 2015, with Mehldau composing several works specifically for the tenor. Mehldau’s 11-song cycle, The Folly of Desire, premiered just this past January and toured by Mehldau and Bostridge this year, set the poetry of Blake, Yeats, Shakespeare, and Goethe, among others. more