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Michael White’s music news: Matthias Goerner at Wigmore Hall

20 June, 2019 — By Michael White

Bariton Matthias Goerner (photo: Caroline de Bon); and Sir Antonio Pappano (photo: MusaccHio and Ianniello/EMI Classics)

MATTHIAS Goerner is a German baritone who looks, as I always think when he walks onstage, like a long-distance lorry driver (tough, thick-set, not to be messed with) but sings with a sensitivity and depth of feeling that can stop you in your tracks.

It’s a combination that has made him a memorable interpreter of things like the troubled, title role in Alban Berg’s opera Wozzeck. But above all he’s a song recitalist. And this weekend he’s at the Wigmore Hall, sharing the platform with no less an accom­panist than Antonio Pappano (better known as music director at the Royal Opera House) in a programme of Mahler and Shostakovich that promises to be out of the ordinary.

He’s also back next Wednesday, with a different pianist, for another recital: this time Schubert. What he does with Schubert tends to be disturbing, dark, uneasy; but it’s also utterly compelling, and will haunt your dreams. Should German Lieder feature in them.

Sunday June 23 and Wednesday June 26, 7.30pm, £18+, Wigmore Hall, 36 Wigmore Street, W1U 2BP, 020 7935 2141,


Other highlights this week

Sarah Dowling, at the Oxford Tavern on Thursday


New London Singers perform the Brahms Requiem and Vaughan Williams’ Five Mystical Songs. 7.30pm, £15+, St James Piccadilly, W1J 9LL, 0800 411 8881,

Stroud Green Festival continues with the Bloomsbury Quartet playing 20th-century English chamber music that traces a line of descent from Vaughan Williams to his pupil Elizabeth Maconchy and her daughter Nicola Lefanu. Meaningful programming (hurrah) and prefaced by an ‘interactive presentation’ about Maconchy. 7.45pm, £10/concs £7, St Saviour Hanley Road, N4 3DQ,

Hoxton Jazz Verse Jukebox, a mixture of music and poetry curated by Jumoke Fashola, plays 7.30pm, £8+, Hoxton Hall, 130 Hoxton Street, N1 6SH, 020 7684 0060,

• Cabaret artist Mary Carewe sings Britten & others at St Mary le Bow Church (7.30pm) as part of the Summer Music in City Churches festival that runs to 28 Jun. High­lights: Sam West narrating Walton’s Facade on June 27 at St Lawrence Jewry, and London Mozart Players in Walton’s Henry V Suite on 28th at St Giles Cripplegate. Details:


Tallis’s mighty Spem in Alium – the 40-part motet that either sounds sublime or like a sea of mud, dep­ending on how well it’s done – performed here by the Firth Singers. 6pm, £15/concs £12.50, St Mary­lebone Parish Church, NW1 5LT.

Hampstead Chorus sing music from the Bernstein musicals: West Side Story and the two that everyone confuses, On the Town and Wonderful Town. 6.30pm, £10, under 24s £5, University College School, Frognal, NW3 6XH,

The Camden Choir is hosting a special feast of music of the Spanish and Italian Renaissance, featuring Victoria’s Requiem and Palestrina’s Missa Descendit Angelus Domini. 7pm, £25 which includes Fiesta! – a buffet meal and wine after the concert, St Mary the Virgin, Primrose Hill, King Henry’s Road, NW3 3DJ, tickets on door or at

• Barrie Kosky’s unorthodox Royal Opera production of Carmen – stripped of sunny Spanish decorative detail and with the lady making her first entrance in a gorilla suit for no obvious reason – proved divisive when it first aired. But if you’ve seen this piece a thousand times, the determination to do something different is refreshing, however perverse. This revival runs to July 20. 7pm, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, WC2E 9DD, 020 7304 4000,

Crouch End Festival Chorus sing Vaughan Williams, Tavener and Britten. 7.30pm, £8+, St Andrew’s, Holborn, 5 St Andrew St, EC4A 3AB, 0844 736 5220,


• Vivaldi and his Italian contem­poraries, played by Belsize Baroque. 6.30pm, £12, St Peter’s Church, Belsize Square, NW3 4 HY,


• Inspired by the American song­book, jazz vocalist Sarah Dowling took an uncommon route to her current eminence: born in Oman to Jordanian/Irish parents and start­ing out as a professional cellist. She now plays the best venues: 8.30pm at the Oxford Tavern, 256 Kentish Town Road, NW5 2AA, 020 7485 3521


• A concert for the 70th birthday of the celebrated pianist Emanuel Ax – featuring the man himself and one or two friends, including baritone Simon Keenlyside. 7.30pm, £18+, Wigmore Hall, 020 7935 2141,


• Jazz Ensemble of the Year in last years Parliamentary Jazz Awards, the Alison Rayner Quintet play songs without words on vibrantly communicative terms. Here they play Hampstead Jazz Club, 8pm, £15, Duke of Hamilton, New End, NW3 1JD, 07916 0595,

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