City Music Foundation returns to The Wallace Collection for our third annual Summer Residency (23rd - 27th July): five free lunchtime concerts performed by five CMF Artists. Held in the stunning
City Music Foundation returns to The Wallace Collection for our third annual Summer Residency (23rd – 27th July): five free lunchtime concerts performed by five CMF Artists.
Held in the stunning Great Gallery, this year’s residency sees performances from the Eblana String Trio, harpist Gwenllian Llyr, cellist Abner Jairo Ortiz García, pianist Rokas Valuntonis, and mezzo-soprano Lotte Betts-Dean. All concerts begin at 1pm and will feature music linked to the museum’s founder, who this year celebrates a significant anniversary.
2018 marks 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 this residency features 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 there are many pieces by French composers: 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 present music by one of its successful early pupils, Ernest Moeran, and cellist Abner Jairo Ortiz García plays a suite by perhaps its most famous alumnus, Benjamin Britten.
All concerts are free and seats are on a first-come, first-served basis.
Pianist Rokas Valuntonis gives the fourth of five lunchtime concerts.
Frédéric Chopin – Mazurkas Op. 7 and Ballades (Nos. 1 & 2)
Claude Debussy – Images Book 1
Charles Gounod-Franz Liszt – Waltz from the opera “Faust”
(Thursday) 1:00 pm
The Wallace Collection
Hertford House, Manchester Square, London W1U 3BN
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