Visions of Childhood with Soprano April Frederick, the English Symphony Orchestra and conductor Kenneth Woods

Gabriella Ross

To be released on the 5th of February 2021.

Visions of Childhood presents music centred on Childhood as depicted by Mahler, Wagner, Humperdinck & Schubert in chamber arrangements by Erwin Stein, James Ledger and the ESO’s principal conductor Kenneth Woods. It includes Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll, a birthday present for his wife, Cosima, just after the birth of their son, Siegfried - a tender evocation of those fragile, precious and fraught first days and weeks of life. It also includes Woods’ arrangement of Act II, Scene 2 from Humperdinck’s children’s opera, Hänsel und Gretel, a quasi-Wagnerian setting of the classic Brothers Grimm fairy tale, telling the story of two children in peril. Other arrangements by Wood include Mahler’s song “Das himmlische Leben” (“The Heavenly Life,”), and The Earthly Life” (“Das irdische Leben”).

 Strauss’s final masterwork, the Four Last Songs, also on this recording, has been a speciality of the ESO’s Affiliate Artist April Fredrick for several years, and it was the last piece she performed before the Covid-19 lockdown in 2020.

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