Immortal Beloved

Letters to the Immortal Beloved / Briefe an die unsterbliche Geliebte (Da Capo Music, Manchester, 2012)Letters to the Immortal Beloved (cover)4-page-001 (2)
for Mezzo-soprano (or Baritone) and piano trio (or piano) accompaniment. Settings of excerpts from Beethoven’s letters to the “Immortal Beloved”
Youtube video-recording, captioned with text (baritone David John Pike, pianist David Briggs, violinist José Pereira, cellist Miguel Fernandes, recorded live at Ingreja da Lapa, Oporto, Portugal): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6emxQD-j2iQ
Dedication: For Julie Nesrallah and the Gryphon Trio, and for all of our Immortals Beloved
Premiere performance: July 27, 2012, Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival (mezzo-soprano Julie Nesrallah, and the Gryphon Trio – Annalee Patipatanakoon, Roman Borys, Jamie Parker).
Other noteworthy performances: Briefe an die unsterbliche Geliebte has been performed on four continents, including performancs by Julie Nesrallah and the New World Trio, Escola de Música e Artes Cênicas, Goiania, Brazil (November 1, 2013); Julie Nesrallah and the Gryphon Trio, Koerner Hall, University of Toronto (September 29th, 2014); Zhao Shuguang (baritone) and Wang Tianyang (piano), Central Conservatory of Music, Beijing, China (July 6, 2016); Baritone David John Pike (Luxembourg, www.davidjohnpike.com), pianist Maxim Bernard, NACO violinist, cellist Tim McCoy, “Immortal Beloved” (Ottawa Choral Society Series), March 24, 2017.  Baritone David John Pike, pianist David Briggs, violinist José Pereira, cellist Miguel Fernandes, recorded live at Igreja da Lapa, Porto/Oporto, Portugal (July 15, 2017), posted on Youtube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6emxQD-j2iQBriana Elyse Hunter (mezzo-soprano, (http://www.brianaelysehunter.com/),  7:00 pm, Sunday, November 12, 2017, Grosse Pointe Unitarian Church, Detroit, Michigan.
Recordings: Featured on Naxos 2015 CD release - “Elements Eternal” (Naxos 8.573533) - by Julie Nesrallah and the Gryphon Trio (recorded at the CBC Glenn Gould Studio, Toronto): http://www.naxos.com/feature/Elements_Eternal.asp
I. “Wo ich bin, bist du mit mir” (“Wherever I am, you are there with me”)
II. “Mein Engel” (“My Angel”)
III. “Meine unsterbliche Geliebte” (“My Immortal Beloved”)
Composer’s Essay (“Beethoven’s Letters to the Immortal Beloved”):
Beethovens Letters to the Immortal Beloved – J Wright (Wolfgangs Tonic)
Published Interview:
  Wright-Nesrallah Immortal Beloved – Fassinate 2013 (pp 8-9)
Ottawa Citizen article: AA- Ottawa Citizen Article (27 July 2012) – Wright LVB Immortal Beloved- from G3PressKit
Broadcast Interview (James Wright with Giacomo Panico: CBC Radio One “All in a Day” (28 July 2012):


Reviews (Briefe an die unsterbliche Geliebte / Letters to the Immortal Beloved):

  • ” … [James Wright’s] Letters to the Immortal Beloved is a three movement song cycle that draws inspiration from Beethoven’s famous letters of 1812, found after the composer’s death without an addressee (though musicologists are generally in agreement that it is Josephine Von Brunswick).  Noteworthy in the piece are the bravura performances by mezzo soprano Julie Nesrallah and a fascinating instrumental development that play between the function of remembrance and an unambiguous tenderness.” (Ettore Garzia, Percorsi Musicale, July 2015).  TRANSLATION FROM THE ITALIAN ORIGINAL: “… Letters to the Immortal Beloved è una triade di song cycle che trae ispirazione dalle famose lettere di Beethoven nel 1812 ritrovate dopo la morte del compositore senza una destinataria (la musicologia è quasi concorde nell’attribuirle a Josephine Von Brunswick); si distinguono nel pezzo la bravura del mezzo soprano Julie Nesrallah ed un fascinoso sviluppo strumentale giocato tra la funzione del ricordo e una dolcezza senza mezzi termini” (Ettore Garzia, Percorsi Musicale, July 2015)
  • “For their first Naxos Canadian Classics CD, the Toronto-based Gryphon Trio play four immediately attractive commissions composed in 2011 or 2012 … The most personal music on the CD is James K Wright’s song cycle Letters to the Immortal Beloved, using Beethoven’s letters as his texts, and sung by mezzosoprano Julie Nesrallah (a CBC radio host who is also the chief of Carmen on Tap, a ‘rogue opera comany’ that performs Carmen as dinner-theatre) with engaging warmth, most affectingly when quoting the composer’s Andante favori.” (Laurence Vittes, Gramophone Magazine, October 2015: https://www.academia.edu/18248221/Gramophone_Magazine_-_July_2015)
  • “… Wright uses the trio to provide a soft and subtle backdrop. An affectionate look at yesteryear, with Julie Nesrallah, as the soloist. Throughout the Gryphon Trio are persuasive advocates in a close-up recording.” (© 2015 David’s Review Corner: http://www.naxos.com/reviews/reviewslist.asp?catalogueid=8.573533&languageid=EN#165411).
  • “In his song cycle Letters to the Immortal Beloved (2012) James K. Wright uses as its text Beethoven’s famous love letters written 200 years ago. Wright’s deeply moving composition, exquisitely sung by mezzo-soprano Julie Nesrallah, seamlessly weaves Beethoven’s own Andante favori into the third movement in further tribute to the composer.”  (Réa Beaumont, WholeNote magazine: http://www.thewholenote.com/index.php/booksrecords2/25562-elements-eternal-julie-nesrallah-gryphon-trio)
  • “[Wright's] work is a three song cycle inspired by the mysterious  letters written by Beethoven and found in his bedside table after he died.  They are quite lovely songs performed with warmth by mezzo-soprano Julie Nesrallah and the trio …” (D. Moore, American Record Guide, March-April 2916)
  • ” … Also intriguing is James K. Wright‘s Letters to the Immortal Beloved, for voice (here, mezzo-soprano Julie Nesrallah) and piano trio, setting the letters Beethoven wrote to the titular Immortal Beloved. Her exact identity remains a matter of debate, but it’s a bit surprising that nobody has hit on this bit of Beethoveniana before as a topic for a composition: it offers, and Wright deftly exploits, many opportunities for quotation of and allusion to Beethoven‘s own music.” (All Music: http://www.allmusic.com/album/elements-eternal-mw0002852321)

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