St Bride's: Music - Mimi Doulton – soprano, Dominic Degavino – piano

St Bride's: Music - Lunchtime Recitals

Mimi Doulton – soprano, Dominic Degavino – piano

Friday, 12 July at 1:15pm - FREE ADMITTANCE - Retiring Collection

Mimi Doulton – soprano, Dominic Degavino – pianoMimi Doulton – soprano, Dominic Degavino – piano

C Debussy

Estampes

1. Pagodes

2. La Soirée dans Grenade

3. Jardins sous la pluie

O Messiaen

Chants de terre et de ciel

1. Bail avec Mi (for my wife)

2. Antienne du silence (for the day of the Guardian Angels)

3. Danse du bébé-pilule (for my little Pascal)

4. Arc-en-ciel d'innocence (for my little Pascal)

5. Minuit pile et face (for death)

6. Résurrection (for Easter Day)

Programme Notes

Claude Debussy (1862 - 1918) - Estampes

1. Pagodes

2. La Soirée dans Grenade

3. Jardins sous la pluie

Estampes is a set of three piano pieces written in 1903. The word Estampes translates as print, or engraving, and each piece evokes a particular image at a particular place; the first two are set in exotic surroundings, the third at home watching the rainfall outside.

'Pagodes' draws heavily from the music of the Javanese gamelan - famously heard at the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1889 (According to friends, Debussy also spent a long time playing with the Gamelan instruments at the Paris Conservatoire while a student there). It seems to remain both still and moving at the same time. 'La Soirée dans Grenade' is a dark, yet dreamy tour of Spain, making use of the Habañera rhythm, while the third piece, 'Jardins sous la pluie', is something of a toccata in style. Debussy cleverly interweaves the depiction of rain with two French nursery rhymes, perhaps suggesting a child who wants to go out and play, but cannot.

programme note by Dominic Degavino

Olivier Messiaen (1908 - 1992) - Chants de terre et de ciel

1. Bail avec Mi (for my wife)

2. Antienne du silence (for the day of the Guardian Angels)

3. Danse du bébé-pilule (for my little Pascal)

4. Arc-en-ciel d'innocence (for my little Pascal)

5. Minuit pile et face (for death)

6. Résurrection (for Easter Day)

Messiaen wrote the music and text for the Chants de terre et de ciel in 1938, in dedication to his first wife Claire Delbos (nicknamed Mi) and their newborn son Pascal. This was an occasion of particular joy for the family, as Delbos had suffered a number of miscarriages early in their marriage. The first two texts refer reverently to Mi and her heavenly qualities; the second two revel in the innocence of the baby Pascal; in the fifth poem Messiaen explores his own earth-bound sin and degradation, in comparison to Mi and Pascal; before the cycle finally arrives at resurrection and Messiaen's own supposed absolution.

At first listen the harmonic and rhythmic language of Messiaen's music can sound dense and without a clear sense of pulse. However, behind this there are clearly defined musical and mathematical rules. For example, A# is the note and tonality of love - particularly divine love - and the whole cycle builds towards the final triumphant A# in the closing song. The opening song has a section in A# major, as Messiaen writes about his beloved Mi. For an example of his rhythmic precision, look no further than the fourth song, which is structured around the number seven: there are seven sections and forty-nine bars (7x7), inferring both the seven colours of the rainbow in the title and the sanctity of the number seven.

Messiaen has written an entire treatise on the theory and meaning of his use of harmony, dynamics and rhythm, which is impossible to distil into a few paragraphs. I hope these short notes will offer some guidance as we navigate the Chants de terre et de ciel together.

programme note by Mimi Doulton

Mimi Doulton is a soprano of British-Pakistani origin, with a particular interest in contemporary opera and song. She is a Park Lane Group Young Artist, an Opera Prelude Artist and a 2018/19 Leeds Lieder Young Artist. In 2017 she was the Fondation Royaumont Voix Nouvelles vocal scholar. Mimi has created roles in Wake with Birmingham Opera Company (directed by Graham Vick CBE); Blue Electric and Schutzwall at Tête a Tête. She has also developed new operas with the Royal Opera, Mahogany Opera Group and Snape Maltings. Other operatic work has included title roles in Bastien und Bastienne and Gluck's Orfeo ed Eurydice; and Mabel in the Pirates of Penzance.

As a recitalist, she has premiered works at venues including Wigmore Hall, Club Inégales and Fondation Royaumont. She was part of the London Symphony Orchestra's 'This is Rattle' Festival in 2017/18, and performed Copland's 12 poems of Emily Dickinson in the Barbican Hall as part of the orchestra's Bernstein Centenary celebrations. Forthcoming engagements include understudying the role of Jerusha Cramer in Gerald Barry's The Intelligence Park for Music Theatre Wales and the Royal Opera in autumn 2019.

Mimi graduated from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama with distinction in 2018. Previously, she was the Helen Hudson choral scholar at King's College London, graduating with first-class honours in Music and Languages in 2015.

Pianist Dominic Degavino has performed concerts in venues across the United Kingdom and beyond, including solo performances at the Wigmore Hall and Southbank Centre, London as a Park Lane Group artist, at the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester and the Lichfield and Edinburgh festivals, among others. Concerto appearances include performances with the Manchester Camerata and RNCM Symphony Orchestra.

In recent years, Dominic has achieved considerable competition success, including winning the RNCM Gold Medal Competition, 3rd Prize at the Concours International de Piano d'Epinal in France, and keyboard section prizes of both the Tunbridge Wells International Young Concert Artists Competition and the 2017 Royal Over-Seas League Arts Competition. He has taken part in masterclasses with eminent pianists such as Lang Lang, Richard Goode, Imogen Cooper, Peter Frankl and John O'Conor. Alongside work as a soloist, he is a passionate chamber musician, accompanist, and jazz player, performing extensively and winning prizes with a wide array of ensembles, most recently the Royal Over-Seas League String Ensemble prize in 2019.

Having received the majority of his musical education in Manchester at Chetham's School of Music and the RNCM under the tutelage of Helen Krizos, Dominic is now continuing his studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London with tutors Charles Owen and Noriko Ogawa. He is generously supported by the Countess of Munster Musical Trust, Help Musicians UK and the South Square Trust.

Mimi Doulton is a Park Lane Group Young Artist, an Opera Prelude Artist and a Leeds Lieder Young Artist. She has recently premiered pieces for Birmingham Opera Company and Wigmore Hall, as well as developing new operas with the Royal Opera, Snape Maltings and Mahogany Opera Group. She is a graduate of the Guildhall School and King's College London.

Pianist Dominic Degavino has achieved considerable competition success, including winning the RNCM Gold Medal Competition, 3rd Prize at the Concours International de Piano d'Epinal in France, and keyboard section prizes of both the Tunbridge Wells International Young Concert Artists Competition and the 2017 Royal Over-Seas League Arts Competition. He has studied at the Guildhall School, RNCM and Chetham's School of Music.