LSM Newswire

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Lost Generation

The Lost Generation

Evocations of a world that vanished in the devastation of the First World War

Featuring Colin Ainsworth, tenor and Jesse Clark, baritone

Tuesday, November 11, 2008 and Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Trinity St. Pauls Centre

For Immediate Release, October 7, 2008: In the week of Remembrance Day, Torontos innovative Talisker Players return to Trinity St. Pauls Centre with a program that evokes of a world that vanished in the devastation of the First World War. The Lost Generation is based on settings from A.E. Housman's A Shropshire Lad. Tenor Colin Ainsworth and baritone Jesse Clark join the Talisker Players for two evenings of chamber music: Tuesday, November 11 and Wednesday, November 12, at 8PM.

A.E. Housman's A Shropshire Lad, a large collection of 32 poems, appeared in 1896, and was in part a response to the tragedy of the Boer War. But the longing for lost innocence and for the simple pleasures of English rural life, which Housman captured so eloquently in these lyrical poems, became even more poignant in the context of World War I, and resonated strongly with a later generation of composers and audiences.

As 2008 marks the 50th anniversary of Ralph Vaughan Williams' death, The Lost Generation features one of his loveliest works, On Wenlock Edge. This setting of six of the poems, for tenor with string quartet and piano, is certainly the most famous and most popular song-cycle from A Shropshire Lad. Talisker Players complements this work by the little-known but equally beautifully Along the Field (also by Vaughan Williams), a simple setting of eight of the poems for tenor and violin.

The evening also includes music by two British composers of the generation hardest hit by WWI. The Western Playland is a setting of five of the Housman poems, for baritone with string quartet and piano, by Ivor Gurney, a gifted poet and composer whose physical and mental health were permanently impaired by his battlefield experiences. Songs from A Shropshire Lad is a cycle for baritone and piano by C.W. Orr, whose settings of Housman are some of the most beautiful ever, but who has been unjustly neglected both in his own lifetime and since.

To complete the programme, Talisker Players have commissioned a new work from Juliet Hess, a young Toronto composer who has begun to attract a lot of attention. The Poplars is a setting of four of the poems for baritone with string trio and piano.

Talisker Players concerts always include words as well as music. Readings for The Lost Generation will be from letters by Vera Brittain to the four young men her brother, her fianc and two of their close friends whose experiences in World War I inspired her famous autobiography, Testament of Youth. Her letters powerfully evoke the experience of the war, with courage and humour. All four of the young men were killed in the war. Vera Brittain eventually returned to Oxford, studied international relations, and devoted her life to promoting peace and international cooperation.

Talisker Players is thrilled to welcome back tenor Colin Ainsworth, who has built an international reputation based on his lyric sound, impeccable diction and a diverse range of repertoire requiring emotional commitment and stylistic sophistication. Fresh from his debut with Lake George Opera in New York as Rinuccio in Gianni Schicchi and Frederic in The Pirates of Penzance, Ainsworth continues to garner praise on the recital stage as well as in the opera world. This seasons highlights include performances in the title role of Pygmalion with Philharmonic Baroque of San Francisco (Nicolas McGegan conducting); in Die Zauberflte with Opera Hamilton and Pacific Opera Victoria; and in Les Pcheurs de perles and La Fille du Rgiment with Edmonton Opera.

Toronto baritone Jesse Clark is one of the rising stars of his generation, praised as "vocally gripping" and "supremely inspired". As a participant in the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme in Aldeburgh, he appeared as Harlekin in an acclaimed production of Ariadne auf Naxos directed by Colin Graham. He later made his professional UK debut at the Aldeburgh Festival, as Henry Cuffe in Britten's Gloriana, conducted by Richard Hickox and recorded for the BBC. He is equally in demand in oratorio and as a recitalist. Jesse Clark graduated from the University of Toronto Faculty of Music's Opera Division. He also holds an Honours degree in English literature from Queen's University. This marks his debut with Talisker Players.


Evocations of a world that vanished in the devastation of the First World War

Featuring Colin Ainsworth, tenor and Jesse Clark, baritone

Tuesday, November 11, 2008 at 8PM and Wednesday, November 12, 2008 at 8PM

Trinity St. Pauls Centre: 427 Bloor Street West


Individual tickets: $30 / $20 (seniors) / $10 (students)

Box office: 416-504-7529


Information: 416-466-1800

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