Lecture Series - Hogarth, Auden and Stravinsky: The making of The Rake's Progress
January 11, 2023
If you are unable to attend the live session, do not worry - all those who register will automatically be sent copies of the lecture to view in your own time (from around four hours after they take place).
In 1947 Igor Stravinsky, who by now had made his home in Los Angeles, had the idea of composing an opera in English for the first time in his career, to be based on the famous series of prints by noted satirist, William Hogarth. He invited the then expatriate poet, W.H. Auden to write the libretto. Auden responded with enthusiasm: 'I need hardly say that the chance of working with you is the greatest honour of my life'. Illustrating his talk from the piano with excerpts from libretto and music, eminent musicologist and lecturer Prof Peter Hill will explore the way Auden humanised Hogarth's story of a young man's descent into degradation, turning it instead into a moral fable that ultimately engages our sympathy. The combination of Auden's exquisite verses with the diamond-sharp characterization of Stravinsky's music would create one of the most perfect and powerful operas of the twentieth century.
Our annual tour to the Glyndebourne Festival will take place later this year from August 14 – 18. As has been our tradition for some years all the included operas will be introduced by Prof Peter Hill, when each morning he takes us through the relevant score for that evening’s opera via excerpts played on the piano. For one of this year’s included operas, Stravinsky’s The Rake’s Progress, Peter has decided to give us a more detailed introduction uniting both visual and musical sources when he presents this webinar by way of exploration and anticipation. This year’s Glyndebourne production will be a revival of John Cox’s much loved 1975 production, with the iconic sets designed by David Hockney.
Peter Hill is a pianist, writer and broadcaster (peterhillpianist.co.uk) who gives recitals, masterclasses and lectures around the world. His recorded cycles of Messiaen and of Berg, Schoenberg and Webern have gained superlative acclaim, with the Messiaen described as "one of the most impressive solo recording projects of recent years" (New York Times) and receiving the composer’s endorsement: "Beautiful technique, a true poet: I am a passionate admirer of Peter Hill's playing." Peter has recently embarked on a series of Bach recordings (for Delphian) with Book 2 of the Well-Tempered Clavier chosen as CD of the Week on BBC Radio 3. Writings include books on Stravinsky and Messiaen, among them a biography (Messiaen, Yale) based on unprecedented access to the composer’s archive. Peter is a Professor Emeritus at Sheffield University and in 2008 was awarded the annual prize for musical scholarship by the Académie des Beaux-Arts in Paris.
Format for Lecture
Peter will give an hour long illustrated lecture for £12.50 on Wednesday 15 February 2023. He will also illustrate his talk with live piano.
You will not need to download any software and the lecture will work in any browser. For the best experience use a desktop or laptop - but it will also work on an iPad or similar tablet.