Daniel Harding conducts Wagner, Benjamin, and Brahms — With Bejun Mehta

Orchestre de Paris

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Bejun Mehta — Countertenor

SWR Vokalensemble Stuttgart

Denis Comtet — Chorus Master

Orchestre de Paris

Daniel Harding — Conductor

Program notes

For the past 50 years, the countertenor range—the highest in the male register, practiced as early as the 18th century—has played an important hand reviving Baroque repertoire originally for castrati in operas by Handel or Vivaldi. More recently, countertenors have sought to expand their horizons in other kinds of repertoire, like the German Lied, the French chanson, and new music written specially for them—Benjamin Britten, for example, wrote the leading part of A Midsummer Night’s Dream for a countertenor!

In 2015, English composer George Benjamin—whose acclaimed opera Written on Skin is also available on with Barbara Hannigan!—dedicated his song cycle Dream of the Song to Bejun Mehta, one of the 10 greatest countertenors of all time (Sinfini Music). Singing texts by two medieval Jewish-Andalusian poets (Solomon Ibn Gabirol and Samuel HaNagid) and the iconic Spanish poet and dramatist Federico García Lorca, Mehta’s mesmerizing voice beautifully complements the women’s chorus of the SWR Vokalensemble Stuttgart, as well as the Orchestre de Paris under Daniel Harding. The intense expressiveness of this work is elegantly framed by Wagner’s mystical Prelude to Parsifal and Brahms’s monumental Symphony No. 1, sometimes called “Beethoven’s Tenth”…

A closer look: featured composers

Further listening: featured works

More info