The 21st Oxford Lieder Festival, Friendship in Song: An Intimate Art, invites you to explore song as an art form that grew up among friends, often at special and sociable gatherings, and inspired many composers’ most personal and profound works. We explore friendships between composers, poets and performers, recreate the intimate atmosphere of the salon, and generally enjoy a festive spirit of conviviality and shared experience. World-renowned artists mingle with the best of the new generation, and the great works of the song repertoire are complemented by new music and new discoveries.
Philosopher and historian of ideas, Sir Isaiah Berlin – born in Riga in 1909 – became a central figure of the British political and cultural establishment, not least as the founding President of Wolfson College, Oxford. Berlin was also passionate about music and literature. Philip Ross Bullock tells the story of how he used his influence and connections to support Russian artists, lobbying for Boris Pasternak’s nomination for the Nobel Prize in 1958, publishing the poetry of the great emigre humanist Vyacheslav Ivanov, and even bringing Anna Akhmatova and Dmitry Shostakovich to Oxford in the 1960s. Two of Oxford Lieder’s outstanding Young Artists illuminate this talk with settings of Akhmatova and songs by Shostakovich and his close friend Benjamin Britten.
Following this event, audience members are warmly encouraged to book for the private visit to the Pasternak Collection in North Oxford.