On Monday night in Carnegie Hall’s Stern auditorium, audience members seemed to scan the empty stage for signs of life as they anxiously awaited tonight’s performers, British tenor Ian Bostridge and pianist Thomas Adès. It was already ten minutes past 8:00 p.m. and we had yet to see as much as a tuxedo coattail wave from behind the stage door. The lights dimmed briefly before springing back to full strength in what was either an attempt to settle the fidgeting audience, or the accidental slip of a techie’s elbow. We couldn’t be sure.
Eventually, the lanky Mr. Bostridge drifted across the stage, briefly smiling at the audience before taking his place in the crook of the piano. Standing well over six-feet and graced with a boyish features, Mr. Bostridge appears as a teen in the midst of an awkward growth-spurt. He cued Mr. Adès with a smile, who began the first selection, John Dowland’s Elizabethan “In Darkness Let Me Dwell,” a dirge-like piece with a celebrity following – Sting has covered it – that set a a somber tone for the remainder of the recital, which featured an abundance of melancholic Heinrich Heine poetry. Centering around themes of depression, alienation from society, and unrequited love, the composers featured in the evening’s performance ranged from the lesser-known György Kurtág, to leaders in Lieder Schumann, Schubert and Liszt. Read More