After a soprano-filled April, Trove Thursday shifts gears for an eclectic collection of tenor-centric concert pieces from the 17th to the 20th centuries—including some in which the tenor part is quite minor—featuring a motley crew of Piotr Beczala, Ian Bostridge, Anders J. Dahlin, Emiliano Gonzalez Toro, Ernst Häfliger, Jonas Kaufmann, Mark Padmore, Peter Pears, Julian Prégardien, Andreas Schager and Jon Vickers.

Trove Thursday’s goal remains to post rare and interesting items, but I’m unsure if either adjective would describe Bostridge’s Berlioz. The English tenor is regularly derided, yet his career has been going strong for more than twenty years. In fact, he just released Tormento d’Amore, a new solo CD of 17th century music on Erato. However, I suspect his rendition of Les nuits d’été from five years ago will strike many as distinctly odd—it did me!

Speaking of the 17th century, I couldn’t resist including some of Monteverdi’s works for two tenors. Gonzalez Toro, who was born in Switzerland to Chilean parents, has long been one of the finest exponents of this music and recently began his own group I Gemelli, Their most recent recording is A Room of Mirrors, a delicious collection of two-tenor duos by Monteverdi’s successors featuring Gonzalez Toro and Zachary Wilder.

The bits sung by Beczala in the Brahms Rinaldo and Schager in the Liszt Faust are rather brief, but these rarely-performed choral pieces are worth hearing as is the Verdi Hymn to the Nations, a most unusual Vickers venture.

Like Les nuits d’été, Mahler’s Wayfarer songs are usually performed by either a mezzo or a baritone, but the younger Prégardien’s tenor reading may prove an interesting alternative. Padmore has delved often into the Britten repertoire, so I’ve included his version of the Serenade with horn as well as a virtually unknown song cycle by Wilfried Zillig sung by Pears, the Britten work’s creator.

Kaufmann’s first solo recording was a collection of songs by Richard Strauss accompanied by piano, but today’s clip includes a splendid six (a program of five, plus the inevitable show-stopping “Zueignung“ encore) with orchestra. I’m far from a Bach expert but I don’t believe there are many solo-tenor cantatas, so it’s helpful to have a version of #55 with chorus featuring Häfliger under Erich Leinsdorf.

J.S. Bach: Cantata No. 55 “Ich armer Mensch, ich Sündenknecht“

Tanglewood Festival
17 July 1966

Ernst Häfliger

Tanglewood Festival Chorus
Boston Symphony Orchestra

Erich Leinsdorf

Berlioz: Les nuits d’été

Benaroya Hall, Seattle
2 November 2017

Ian Bostridge

Seattle Symphony Orchestra

Conductor: Ludovic Morlot

Brahms: Rinaldo

Salzburg Festival
28 May 2012

Piotr Beczala

Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks

Conductor: Sir John Eliot Gardiner

Britten: Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings

Grieghallen, Bergen
23 October 2015

Mark Padmore
Martin Owen (horn)

Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra

Conductor: Edward Gardner

Liszt: Faust-Symphonie

Paris Opéra
2 July 2021

Andreas Schager

Chœur & Orchestre de l’Opéra national de Paris

Conductor: Philippe Jordan

Mahler: Lieder eines Fahrenden Gesellen

Koncerthuset, Copenhagen
1 October 2020

Julian Prégardien

Danish National Symphony Orchestra

Conducter: Alondra de la Parra

Monteverdi: Sacred & Profane Duets for two tenors

Theatre du Chatelet
5 March 2006

Anders J. Dahlin & Emiliano Gonzalez Toro

Les Talens Lyriques

Conductor: Christophe Rousset

Strauss: Six Songs

18 March 2012

Jonas Kaufmann

City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra

Conductor: Andris Nelsons

Verdi: Inno delle Nazioni

Tanglewood Festival
4 July 1980

Jon Vickers

Tanglewood Festival Chorus
Boston Symphony Orchestra

Conductor: Seiji Ozawa

Zillig: Vergessene Weisen


Peter Pears

Sinfonieorchester des Hessischen Rundfunks

Conductor: Wilfried Zillig

Each tenor selection can be downloaded by clicking on the icon of a cloud with an arrow pointing downward on the audio player above and the resulting mp3 file will appear in your download directory.

In addition, well over 500 other podcast tracks are always available from Apple Podcasts for free, or via any RSS reader. The archive which lists all Trove Thursday offerings in alphabetical order by composer will soon be updated.