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Brad Mehldau & Ian Bostridge Present 'The Folly Of Desire'


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Brad Mehldau presents The Folly of Desire, a song cycle inquiring the limits of sexual freedom in a post-#MeToo political age...

Brad Mehldau presents The Folly of Desire, a song cycle inquiring the limits of sexual freedom in a post-#MeToo political age, together with tenor Ian Bostridge, one of the greatest song interpreters of our times. Setting poetry by Blake, Yeats, Shakespeare, Brecht, Goethe, Auden and Cummings, Mehldau’s music shifts seamlessly between a jazz idiom and Classical art song, and the work explores a theme as timeless as it is topical. The stylistic diversity of this project is underlined by adding a selection of jazz standards, as well as a Schubert lied.

GRAMMY-Award winning jazz pianist Brad Mehldau has recorded and performed extensively since the early 1990s, and makes his Pentatone debut with The Folly of Desire. His performances and compositions convey a wide range of expression. Ian Bostridge is one of the most celebrated tenors and lied interpreters of his generation. His Pentatone recording of Schubert’s Winterreise (2019) was crowned with the ICMA Vocal Music Award 2020. Bostridge has also released Die schöne Müllerin (2020), Schwanengesang (2022) and Respighi Songs (2021) with the label.

Quote from Brad Mehldau: “I’m very excited about the opportunity to present this song cycle on Pentatone. It’s a dream come true for me to be able to share this project with the world. Ian and I have worked very hard over several years, fine-tuning our performances, and I believe the recording reflects that. It’s an important project artistically as well as personally for me, and I’m glad that an audience will have the opportunity to hear it. The physical package Pentatone has made for the CD release is beautiful.”

Quote from Ian Bostridge: “This has been a dream project for me—recording the amazing cycle by Brad which we’ve performed so many times, and recording with one of the greats some of the standards that have been close to me since childhood.”

Track Listing

  • The Sick Rose
  • Leda and the Swan
  • Sonnet 147
  • Sonnet 75
  • Über die Verführung von Engeln
  • Ganymede I
  • Ganymede II
  • the boys i mean are not refined
  • Sailing to Byzantium
  • Night II
  • Lullaby
  • These Foolish Things
  • In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning
  • Every Time We Say Goodbye
  • Nacht und Träume
  • Night and Day
DIGITAL STRATEGY: Standard pre-order with the following instant gratifications set to go live 3 weeks before the release date on 12 May (available on Apple Music, Amazon, YouTube Music, Qobuz):
  • Track 3: The Folly of Desire: Sonnet 147 (also as Spotify single)
  • Track 10: The Folly of Desire: Night II
Physical Release: JUNE 2023
Digital Release Date: 2 JUNE 2023

Released as 1 CD and in digital formats for streaming and high-resolution downloads
Audio Resolution for Digital Files: 192/24 PCM Stereo & 44.1/16 PCM Stereo

About Brad Mehldau

GRAMMY-Award winning pianist Brad Mehldau has recorded and performed extensively around the world at a steady pace since the mid-1990s. His performances convey a wide range of expression. There is often an intellectual rigor to the continuous process of abstraction that may take place on a given tune, and a certain density of information. That could be followed by a stripped-down, emotionally direct ballad. Mehldau favors juxtaposing extremes. He has attracted a sizeable following over the years, one that has grown to expect a singular, intense experience in his performance.

In addition to his solo and trio projects, Mehldau has worked with a number of great jazz musicians, including recordings and concerts with saxophonist Joshua Redman, Pat Metheny, Charlie Haden and Lee Konitz, and recording as a sideman with the likes of Michael Brecker, Wayne Shorter, John Scofield, and Charles Lloyd. He has collaborated with several musicians and peers whom he respects greatly, including the guitarists Peter Bernstein and Kurt Rosenwinkel and tenor saxophonist Mark Turner. Mehldau also has played on a number of recordings outside of the jazz idiom, like Willie Nelson’s Teatro and singer-songwriter Joe Henry’s Scar. His music has appeared in several movies, including Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut and Wim Wender’s Million Dollar Hotel. He also composed an original soundtrack for the French film, Ma Femme Est Une Actrice.

Mehldau also has a long history of collaborations within the classical realm. Both featuring Mehldau compositions commissioned by Carnegie Hall, his albums Love Sublime and Love Songs paired Mehldau with acclaimed soprano Renee Fleming and Swedish mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter respectively. In 2013, Mehldau premiered Variations on a Melancholy Theme, performed with both Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and Britten Sinfonia. A recording of the work was recently released on Nonesuch.

Commissioned by Carnegie Hall, The Royal Conservatory of Music, The National Concert Hall, and Wigmore Hall with the support of Andre Hoffmann (president of the Fondation Hoffmann) in 2015, Mehldau’s Three Pieces After Bach were inspired by selections from Johann Sebastian Bach’s seminal work, The Well-Tempered Clavier. In 2018, Mehldau premiered his Piano Concerto at the Philharmonie de Paris with L’Orchestre national d’Île-de-France, later performing the work with other esteemed orchestras.

Mehldau’s musical personality forms a dichotomy. He is first and foremost an improviser, and greatly cherishes the surprise and wonder that can occur from a spontaneous musical idea that is expressed directly, in real time. But he also has a deep fascination for the formal architecture of music, and it informs everything he plays. In his most inspired playing, the actual structure of his musical thought serves as an expressive device. As he plays, he listens to how ideas unwind, and the order in which they reveal themselves. Each tune has a strongly felt narrative arch, whether it expresses itself in a beginning, an end, or something left intentionally open-ended. The two sides of Mehldau’s personality—the improviser and the formalist—play off each other, and the effect is often something like controlled chaos.

About Ian Bostridge

Ian Bostridge’s international recital career has taken him to the foremost concert halls of Europe, Southeast Asia, and North America as well as to the Salzburg, Edinburgh, Munich, Vienna, St Petersburg, Aldeburgh and Schwarzenberg Schubertiade Festivals. He has held artistic residencies at the Vienna Konzerthaus and Schwarzenberg Schubertiade (2003/04), the Barbican, London (2008), the Luxembourg Philharmonie (2010/11), the Wigmore Hall (2011/12) and Hamburg Laeiszhalle (2012/13). Ian has also participated in a Carte-Blanche series with Thomas Quasthoff at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw (2004/05) and a Perspectives series at Carnegie Hall (2005/06). In the 18/19 season Ian undertook an auspicious Artistic Residency with the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra: the first of its kind for the ensemble.

He has worked with the Berliner Philharmoniker, Wiener Philharmoniker, Chicago, Boston, London and BBC Symphony orchestras, the London, New York, Los Angeles Philharmonic orchestras and the Rotterdams Philharmonisch Orkest and Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Amsterdam under Sir Simon Rattle, Sir Colin Davis, Sir Andrew Davis, Seiji Ozawa, Sir Antonio Pappano, Riccardo Muti, Mstislav Rostropovich, Daniel Barenboim, Daniel Harding and Donald Runnicles.

His operatic appearances have included Aschenbach/Death in Venice for the Deutsche Oper, Peter Quint/The Turn of the Screw for the Teatro alla Scala, Handel’s Jeptha for Opéra National de Paris, Nerone/L’Incoronazione di Poppea and Tom Rakewell for the Bayerische Staatsoper, Don Ottavio/Don Giovanni for the Wiener Staatsoper, Tamino/Die Zauberflöte and Jupiter/Semele for the English National Opera and Caliban/The Tempest for the Royal Opera House.

His recordings have won all the major international record prizes and been nominated for 15 GRAMMYs. His recording for Pentatone of Schubert’s Winterreise with Thomas Adès won the Vocal Recording of the Year 2020 in the International Classical Music Awards. Other recordings include Schubert’s Die schöne Müllerin with Graham Johnson (Gramophone Award 1996), Tom Rakewell/ The Rake’s Progress with Sir John Eliot Gardiner (GRAMMY Award, 1999), and Belmonte/Die Entführung aus dem Serail with William Christie. Under his exclusive contract with Warner Classics, recordings included Schubert and Schumann Lieder (Gramophone Award 1998), The English Songbook and Henze Lieder with Julius Drake, Britten’s Our Hunting Fathers with Daniel Harding, Mozart’s Idomeneo with Sir Charles Mackerras, Janáček’s The Diary of One who Disappeared with Thomas Adès, Schubert with Leif Ove Andsnes, Mitsuko Uchida and Sir Antonio Pappano, Noel Coward with Jeffrey Tate, Britten Orchestral cycles with the Berliner Philharmoniker and Sir Simon Rattle, Wolf with Pappano, Bach cantatas with Fabio Biondi, Handel arias with Harry Bicket, Britten Canticles and both Britten’s The Turn of the Screw (Gramophone Award, 2003) and Billy Budd (GRAMMY Award, 2010), Adès’s The Tempest (Gramophone Award 2010) and Monteverdi’s Orfeo. Recent recordings include Schwanengesang with Lars Vogt and Respighi Songs and Die schöne Mullerin with Saskia Giorgini for Pentatone, Shakespeare songs (GRAMMY Award, 2017) and Requiem: The Pity of War with Pappano for Warner Classics, as well as Berlioz’s Les Nuits d’Eté, Ravel’s Shéhérazade and Debussy’s Le Livre de Baudelaire arr. John Adams with Ludovic Morlot and the Seattle Symphony Orchestra.

His book Schubert’s Winter Journey: Anatomy of an Obsession was published by Faber and Faber in the UK and Knopf in the USA in 2014,and his most recent book Song and Self will be released in 2023. He was made a CBE in the 2004 New Year’s Honours.

About Pentatone

One of the leading classical music labels in the world, Pentatone presents a diverse range of world-class artists, and is dedicated to premium quality productions captured in exceptional sound. The label works together with today and tomorrow’s leading artists to provide timeless recordings of core, fringe, and lesser-known repertoire, with Pentatone’s uncompromising attention to the best possible quality in artistry, design and recording technology.

The label was founded in the Netherlands in 2001 by three former Philips Classics executives, with the ambition to offer classical music in the highest quality including surround sound. In its first years, Pentatone engaged Mikhail Gorbachev, Bill Clinton and Sophia Loren in a GRAMMY-winning recording of Prokofiev’s Peter & the Wolf (released in Spanish with Antonio Banderas), with Kent Nagano conducting the Russian National Orchestra. Another early success was a recording of the official music performed during the wedding ceremony of the then Dutch crown prince (now king) Willem-Alexander to Máxima Zorreguieta. The Music from the Royal Wedding sold more than 75,000 copies, thereby attaining the unique “triple platinum” status in the Netherlands.

During its first decade, the label released several award-winning recordings with violinist Julia Fischer and several complete cycles: Beethoven’s symphonies conducted by Philippe Herreweghe, Beethoven’s piano sonatas performed by Mari Kodama, and Bruckner’s symphonies under the baton of Marek Janowski. Violinist Arabella Steinbacher left her mark on these years and continues with several acclaimed recordings. Later, Pentatone recorded Wagner’s ten mature operas, the only such label to take on this task in the 21st century.

From 2013, with a new management team, the label focused on embracing the digital era and expanding its repertoire. New artists and ensembles defined the label’s second decade, including conductors Vladimir Jurowski, René Jacobs and Esa-Pekka Salonen, singers Piotr Beczala, Lisette Oropesa, Javier Camarena, Ian Bostridge and Magdalena Kožená, pianists Pierre-Laurent Aimard and Francesco Piemontesi, cellist Alisa Weilerstein, as well as the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, the Gewandhausorchester Leipzig and the Czech Philharmonic.

In recent years, Pentatone has won multiple awards. In 2017, John Corigliano’s The Ghosts of Versailles won Best Opera Recording and Best Engineered Album at the 59th GRAMMY Awards. Two years later, the premiere recording of the Mason Bates opera, The (R)evolution of Steve Jobs, won a GRAMMY for Best Opera Recording. Pentatone was awarded Label of the Year in 2019 by Gramophone Magazine and in 2020 by the International Classical Music Awards. Pentatone’s third decade promises to be even more exciting and innovative as we expand our growing and diverse roster of artists, producing the most thrilling recordings in the world.

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