23rd-27th July 2018
The Wallace Collection
Held in the stunning Great Gallery, the 2018 residency saw performances from the Eblana String Trio, harpist Gwenllian Llyr, cellist Abner Jairo Ortiz García, pianist Rokas Valuntonis, and mezzo-soprano Lotte Betts-Dean. Despite the variety of the programming, all five recitals featured music linked to the museum’s founder, who celebrated a significant anniversary during the week.
26th July 2018 marked the 200th birthday of Sir Richard Wallace (1818-1890), the namesake of this stunning public art collection. Born the illegitimate son of Richard Seymour-Conway, 4th Marquess of Hertford, Wallace was a prolific philanthropist who supported both the arts and humanitarian causes throughout his life. He also served as MP for Lisburn, Northern Ireland (1873-1885). On his death in 1890, Wallace bequeathed this collection (both the art and its stunning home, Hertford House) to his wife, who in turn left it to the nation in 1897.
Wallace had inherited his father’s unentailed estates and extensive collection of European art in 1870. It was his father who had determined the essential character and breadth of the collection – he was one of the greatest collectors of the nineteenth century – but it was Wallace who laid the ground for the national museum we enjoy today. After spending most of his life in Paris, Wallace took up residence in London in 1872, bringing with him much of the art he had inherited. He added important collections of Medieval and Renaissance objects as well as European arms and armour, and also made significant alterations to Hertford House to accommodate it all. During the building work (1872-75), much of the collection was exhibited at the Bethnal Green Museum in the East End of London where it was a popular sensation.
In honour of Wallace’s bicentenary, each concert in the residency featured music either written during his lifetime or which has some connection to his philanthropic work, much of it linked to Paris. During the Siege of Paris (1870-71) at the hands of Prussia, Wallace funded medical care for the wounded and needy (both French and British) and he later built drinking fountains around the city (known as Wallace Fountains). Wallace was awarded the Legion d’Honneur in recognition of his generosity and there’s even a Boulevard Richard Wallace. So accordingly, many of the recitals included pieces by French composers born in the 19th century: some famous, like Claude Debussy and Charles Gounod, some less well-known, like Ambroise Thomas and André Caplet. A number of these composers were growing up as Paris and the nation returned to health after a period of war and political unrest; they would go on to define the French musical identity, not least thanks to Wallace’s work. The one featured composer with a personal link to Wallace is Charles Gounod – we know that Wallace gave him a tour of Hertford House (Gounod helpfully signed the visitors’ book!). Aside from the numerous French connections, there’s a significant British one too: Wallace was a founder member of the Royal College of Music in London. The Eblana String Trio presented music by one of its successful early pupils, Ernest Moeran, and cellist Abner Jairo Ortiz García played a suite by perhaps its most famous alumnus, Benjamin Britten.
MONDAY 23rd JULY
Eblana String Trio
Ludwig van Beethoven – String Trio in C minor, Op. 9 No. 3
Ernest Moeran – String Trio in G major
TUESDAY 24th JULY
Gwenllian Llyr (harp)
Gabriel Pierné – Impromptu Caprice, Op. 9
Alexander Scriabin – Prelude and Nocturne for the left hand, Op. 9
Claude Debussy – Rêverie
André Caplet – Divertissements
Henriette Renié – Danse des Lutins
Franz Liszt – Un Sospiro
Elias Parish Alvars – Introduction, Cadenza and Rondo
WEDNESDAY 25th JULY
Abner Jairo Ortiz García (cello)
Maksim Štšura (piano)
Joaquín Gutiérrez Heras – Canción en el puerto
Franz Schubert – Arpeggione Sonata for Cello and Piano, D. 821: I. Allegro moderato
Frank Bridge – Four pieces for Cello and Piano (Nos. 1 & 2)
Benjamin Britten – Cello Suite No. 1, Op. 72 (excerpts)
Eugenio Toussaint – Tango
Arturo Márquez – Danzon No. 5
THURSDAY 26th JULY
Rokas Valuntonis (piano)
Frédéric Chopin – Mazurkas Op. 7 and Ballades (Nos. 1 & 2)
Claude Debussy – Images Book 1
Charles Gounod-Franz Liszt – Waltz from the opera “Faust”
FRIDAY 27th JULY
Lotte Betts-Dean (mezzo-soprano)
Joseph Havlat (piano)
Songs and arias by Charles Gounod, Jules Massenet, Maurice Ravel, Gabriel Fauré, Claude Debussy, Henri Duparc, and Ambroise Thomas.
Erick Lárraga (Cultural Affairs Manager, Mexican Embassy)
Beautiful afternoon at @WallaceMuseum with talented Mexican cellist @JairoCello as part of the @CityMusicF 's 2018 Summer Residency. #orgullomexicano