Archives For Llangollen International Eisteddfod

I have some truly amazing news to share with you, last week I entered the Pendine International Voice of the Future competition at the Llangollen International Eisteddfod in Wales, UK. If you remember I last entered the competition back in 2014  when I came third. This year I was thrilled to reach the final, which was held on Wednesday 4th July 2018, during the Classical Collection concert on the main Pavillion stage.  My fellow finalists were Rachael Marsh from Wrexham and Mark Christian Bautista of Calamba in the Philippines, who along with myself were selected from the live preliminary round held the previous day.

It was such a thrill to walk out on to the grand stage and perform in front of the large assembled audience, adjudicators, patrons and sponsors. I can’t easily express the emotion that ran through my body as Nico de Villiers the pianist who accompanied me started to play. I sang through my programme and left the stage in what seemed like the blink of an eye, I then re-joined my fellow competitors as we waited for the results to be announced, the atmosphere at the Eisteddfod was lovely.

The results were announced after the concert starring Vicky Yannoula and Peter Jablonski followed by beautiful choral singing from the Cantorion Sirenian Singers and I am thrilled to let you know that I was awarded the first prize of £6,000.00 and new silver Pendine Trophy, awarded by Mr. Mario Kreft MBE of the Pendine Park care organisation.

Mr Kreft MBE awarding me the Pendine trophy

Mr Kreft MBE said:

 “I believe we have seen a star born this evening as Charlotte Hoather’s performance was simply breath-taking and spectacularly talented.”

The festival’s music director, Vicky Yannoula said :

“The standard of performance we witnessed from all three finalists was exceptional…singing in a competition such as the Pendine International Voice of the Future competition isn’t just about standing in front of a piano and singing, it’s about a performance.”

This award will be such a great help to me as I start my first year as freelance as it will help cover some of my living costs, additional singing lessons, and coachings that I require to continue vocal development and language skills, I also need to attend auditions both here and abroad.

At the end of the concert, we all joined in to participate with The Big NHS Singalong Live which was shown on ITV to help celebrate 70 years of the NHS.

It is hard to believe that this wonderful journey started with my introduction to the wonders of classical singing by my first singing teacher, Jayne Wilson when at Knutsford High school.  She encouraged me to enter festivals and competitions to perform new repertoire and introduce me to other singers and their teachers, and I can’t wait to see her again when I’m next at home.  If you’ve followed my blog you’ve read the journey and adventures along the way I couldn’t do this without the help of many wonderful teachers, coaches and advisors, thank you all too for your continual encouragement and support.

Accompanist: Nico De Villiers

Adjudicators:  Leah Marian Jones , Dr. Anastasia Belina

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Franz Schubert, born in January 1797, was an Austrian composer who died at the young age of 31 years. His work bridged classical and romantic. He had an early gift for music playing the piano, violin and organ and was also an excellent singer although when his voice broke in 1812 it forced him to leave college, Stadtkonvikt (Imperial Seminary) after earning a choir scholarship there in 1808. His father was a school teacher, and he taught the young Schubert rudimentary violin whilst his elder brother taught him piano. His mother was a home maker and played the cello. He was their 12th child, he had 14 siblings, nine died in infancy.

Franz-Schubert

Franz Schubert

Between 1813 and 1815 Schubert was a prolific songwriter, at the age of 17 he wrote two of his first German Lieds ‘Gretchen am Spinnrade’ and ‘Der Erlkönig’. He worked with texts from poetry giants like Wolfgang von Goethe, interpreting their poetry using his musical creativeness. These pieces are very dramatic, the depiction of the spinning wheel and treadle in the piano in ‘Gretchen’ are a tricky pictorial keyboard figuration.

Therese_Grob

Therese Grob

He had to teach to make ends meet but he hated it. In 1814 he met a soprano called Therese Grob and wrote several works for her, he wanted to marry her but was thwarted by harsh marriage laws where he had to show he had the means to support a family. He lived in the early 1820’s with a close-knit group of artists and students, he and four of his friends were arrested by the Austrian police who were on their guard against revolutionary activities. One of his friends was banished from Austria and Schubert was ‘severely reprimanded’. Schubert was not quite five feet tall and his friends nicknamed him “Schwämmerl” ‘Little Mushroom’.

Franz-Liszt

Franz Liszt

When he died in November 1828, he’d been ill with headaches, fever, swollen joints and vomiting, impoverished and neglected except by a circle of his friends who were in awe of his genius. The composer Franz Liszt said of him after his death that ‘he was the most poetic musician who ever lived’. His output in his short life was prolific consisting of over six hundred secular vocal works (mainly Lieder), seven completed symphonies, sacred music, operas, incidental music and a large body of chamber and piano music.

Today Schubert is placed amongst the greatest composers of the early Romantic era and as such is one of the most frequently performed composers of the early nineteenth century.

This was the video of performance of this fabulous composition at the Llangollen International Eisteddfod in 2014 courtesy of Llangollen.

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An Early Depiction Of Gretchen am Spinnrade

English Translation

My peace is gone,
My heart is heavy,
I will find it never
and never more.

Where I do not have him,
That is the grave,
The whole world
Is bitter to me.

My poor head
Is crazy to me,
My poor mind
Is torn apart.

For him only, I look
Out the window
Only for him do I go
Out of the house.

His tall walk,
His noble figure,
His mouth’s smile,
His eyes’ power,

And his mouth’s
Magic flow,
His handclasp,
and ah! his kiss!

My peace is gone,
My heart is heavy,
I will find it never
and never more.

My bosom urges itself
toward him.
Ah, might I grasp
And hold him!

And kiss him,
As I would wish,
At his kisses
I should die!

I have been researching “Der Ring des Nibelungen” the cycle of four operas by German composer Richard Wagner and have been enthralled by them.

Richard Wagner

Richard Wagner

I have always enjoyed studying German song especially Lieder, German art songs from the 19th century romantic period.  I find the interplay between the pianist and the singer captivating as each depends on the other in a way that can be quite unique to this genre of music.

One of my favourite composers of Lied, the German word for song, is Richard Strauss and I find myself getting emotionally drawn in to his songs.  Richard Strauss was born in Munich, Germany on the 11th June 1864.  Having a father that was a principal horn player at the Munich Court Opera ensured a passionate music education which resulted in Strauss completing his first composition at the age of 6.

Richard Strauss Aged 22

Richard Strauss Aged 22

In 1874 at the age of 10 he was introduced to the operas of Wagner and though the works were frowned upon at the time by his father they would go on to have a profound influence on Strauss’s work.

Following a brief period at the Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich where he studied Philosophy and Art History he left to take up his first conducting position.  He was taken under the wing of the renowned German conductor Hans von Bulow at the Meiningen orchestra.  At the age of just 21 Strauss went on to become the principal conductor of the Meiningen orchestra when Hans von Bulow resigned in 1885.

Pauline de Anna Strauss

Pauline de Anna Strauss

Richard Strauss married Pauline de Anna in September 1894 who was acclaimed to be the inspiration of many of his works.  I think that it is these emotions in his pieces that help me to connect with them.  “Zueignung” meaning  ‘Dedication’ is a beautiful song composed by Strauss, it is taken from a poem by Hermann von Gilm zu Rosenegg which Strauss lovingly set to music.

Ja, du weißt es, teure Seele,
Daß ich fern von dir mich quäle,
Liebe macht die Herzen krank,
Habe Dank.

[Hielt ich nicht]1, der Freiheit Zecher,
Hoch den Amethysten-Becher,
Und du segnetest den Trank,
Habe Dank.

Und beschworst darin die Bösen,
Bis ich, was ich nie gewesen,
[Heilig an das Herz]2 dir sank,
Habe Dank.

The translation provided by Lawrence Snyder :

Yes, you know it, dearest soul,
How I suffer far from you,
Love makes the heart sick,
Have thanks.

Once I, drinker of freedom,
Held high the amethyst beaker,
And you blessed the drink,
Have thanks.

And you exorcised the evils in it,
Until I, as I had never been before,
Blessed, blessed sank upon your heart,
Have thanks.

This is a video of my performance of this beautiful song from the “Voice of The Future” competition at the Llangollen International Eisteddfod in the summer of 2014. I also managed to record this to go on my album “Canzoni D’Amore”. The header photo of George Todica and me was taken by my Nana the day before the grand finale in Llangollen.

Richard Strauss  Time Magazine 1938

Richard Strauss Time Magazine 1938

Strauss was a prolific composer and wrote many works including solo instrument and orchestra, fabulous Lieder and several Operas until his death in September 1949. I cannot wait to explore more of his repertoire in the years to come including some of his most famous opera roles like that of Salome.

Richard_Strauss-Woche,_festival_poster,_1910_by_Ludwig_Hohlwein

Richard Strauss – Salome Poster – 1910

If you are familiar with any of his works I would love to read what you think and if you have any suggestions regarding songs of his that I could explore then I would appreciate to hear from you :).

I am on holiday this week and my Mum has told me to put my iPad and phone away and enjoy a break! So in preparation before I left I sent my Dad some pictures taken in Llangollen, North Wales last Wednesday and Thursday for my blog post tonight along with the text which he promised he would upload for me.

My programme included:
Endless Pleasure, Endless Love by Handel
Gretchen am Spinnrade
by Schubert
Zueignung by Strauss
And finally my parents favourite
Song to the Moo
n by Dvorak

Here are the pictures

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Outside the venue for the first round of the “Over 18’s Vocal Solo” competition.

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The view across the river from my hotel room.

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There is a lovely steam railway that runs along the valley from Llangollen.

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My Nana and Grandad who came to watch and cheer us on.

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George Todica at the piano for me in the final of the “Voice Of The Future”.

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Enjoying the moment

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I know that I do not usually publish a post on a Thursday but I have some news that I just wanted to share with you all 🙂

After missing out on a place in the over 18’s vocal solo yesterday I got up this morning full of anticipation for today’s competition.

Today’s category was the “Voice Of The Future” and looking over the entrants I knew that that I would face some fabulous singers in the preliminary round.

I was on second in my round and after composing myself I started my programme, I thought it went well but you never quite know in a competition.  George wasn’t able to have a run through on the piano so we both had to jump in at the deep end.

I was thrilled when they announced that I had been selected as one of the four finalists.  I was so excited to get the opportunity to perform on the pavilion main stage and best of all it was to be filmed which means I could share my performance with all my friends here on my blog.

Stage01

George Todica accompanied me on the pavilion stage

The link below will take you to the main website for the TV company that filmed the event and you should be able to watch my programme which I do hope that you enjoy 🙂

http://llangollen.tv/en/clip/c1-2/

Quando M’en Vo

July 9, 2014 — 42 Comments

Today was the first of the two competitions that I participated in at this year’s International Eisteddfod in Llangollen.  The music festival has taken place every summer since 1947 and gathers entrants from all over the world to take part in a variety of traditional dance, choral and solo voice competitions.

This morning was the vocal solo over 18’s category and I was on first thing. I took to the stage about 9;15 am and the competition ran until about 12:00 noon.

The two songs that I performed were “Scotsong” by James MacMillan which is a beautiful contemporary song and “Quando M’en Vo” which is Musetta’s aria from the opera La Bohème by Giacomo Puccini. I think this is a cheeky little number which she directs at Marcello, in front of her bohemian friends, in order to make him feel jealous.

Unfortunately I did not get through to the final where they film the contestants so instead I thought I would share the recording of “Quando M’en Vo” from my recent recital in Rochdale accompanied by Russell Lomas.

Here is the recording of my performance of the “Scotsong” from the Kathleen Ferrier Society competition last year.

Tomorrow  I will be performing in the category “The Voice Of The Future” with another early start 🙂