Composer Iain Bell to World Premiere Two Song Cycles in One Week

By Logan Martell
(Credit: Frances Marshall)

Composer Iain Bell is set to world premiere two new song cycles within the span of one week, at Salzburg and in London.

“I was delighted to receive a commission from the London Song Festival to compose a song-cycle for their 2020 series,” Bell stated in a press release, noting his desire to embrace more LGBTQ+ stories after the premiere of his 2019 opera “Stonewall.”

The first cycle, titled “We Two,” is a setting of Walt Whitman’s “The Leaves of Grass,” and is written for bass-baritone and piano. The songs will explore nature as well as sensuality, and will be performed by Douglas Williams and pianist Levi Hammer at the Mozarteum in Salzburg.

Performance Date: November 27, 2020

The second cycle, “The Man with Night Sweats,” is an adaptation of Thom Gunn’s self-titled collection of poems which focuses on the death of friends and loved ones due to AIDS. Commissioned by Nigel Foster and the London Song Festival, the performance will feature baritone Jarrett Ott, who will be accompanied by Foster. The concert will also be filmed and broadcast digitally via the festival’s YouTube page.

Performance Date:  December 4, 2020