I suspect Haydn of being Antony Brannick’s favourite composer – most of this concert was by him, and Antony Brannick played all the piano works.
It began with a lively sonata (Hob XVI no 44, for those who know this numbering system for Haydn works) followed by a variation on two themes (Hob XVII no 6). It ended with a type of music less associated with Haydn – an operatic aria, ‘Scena di Berenice’, performed by soprano Stephanie Stanway, an emotional and demanding work in which Berenice fears for the man she loves. (Spoiler alert – the singer admitted to me that the opera ends sadly.)
Two songs by Haydn, including a sensitive setting of ‘She never told her love’ from ‘Twelfth Night’, began the second half, followed by a sparkling sonata (Hob XVI no 40). The final set of six Elizabethan songs was by a living composer, Dominick Argento, and Stephanie Stanway here showed her ability to handle variety, as the songs expressed different moods, ending with a hymn to the moon.
Sadly, this will be the last Antony and Friends concert for some time, but look out for one in September. Contact email: firstname.lastname@example.org.