Skip to main content

Past Events > 2020

35. Settings of Thomas Hardy: Roderick Williams & Christopher Glynn

16 October 2020, 19:30 - 21:30

Described as ‘our greatest living baritone’ (Daily Telegraph) with a ‘noble warmth’ (The Independent), Roderick Williams has given many memorable recitals at the Festival, not least his trilogy of Schubert cycles last year, also with renowned pianist Christopher Glynn.

For this concert, they present a wide range of settings of Thomas Hardy. Although known to many primarily as a novelist, Hardy viewed himself a poet first and foremost and inspired many composers, including Britten, Holst, Ireland, Bax, Venables, and Vaughan Williams. His poetry is constantly concerned with the passing of time and infused with the sights and sounds of nature, and thus sits perfectly both in our overall Festival theme and alongside today’s ‘Solace in Nature’ event.

Hardy is arguably most closely associated in song with Gerald Finzi, and this evening’s programme includes a complete performance of Finzi’s great cycle Before and After Summer, the manuscript of which resides near the Holywell Music Room in the Bodleian Library.

The exceptional young soprano Rowan Pierce, who sang some glorious Purcell for us last year in the Ashmolean Museum, will begin this evening’s concert with a short set of Schubert songs. Every evening recital this year will begin with Schubert songs performed by singers who have arguably been hardest hit by the current crisis: artists who are already forging careers but not yet at a stage where they can view current circumstances as a temporary setback.

This concert will be streamed completely live from the Holywell Music Room. Shortly afterwards, it will also be available to watch again (using the same ticket and link) until 1 November 2020. Click here for further information on how tickets will work this year.

After a short break at the end of the concert, there will be a Q&A with the artists. Please email any questions you have during the interval or at the end of the concert ([email protected]) or post them on social media (#OLF2020), and the artists will answer as many as time allows.


Artist Portrait

Roderick Williams

Roderick Williams


Roderick Williams is one of the most sought after baritones of his generation and performs a wide repertoire from baroque to contemporary music in the opera house, on the concert platform and in recital. He enjoys relationships with all the major UK opera houses and has sung world premieres of operas by, among others, David Sawer, Sally Beamish, Michael van der Aa, Robert Saxton and Alexander Knaifel. Roderick Williams has performed with all the BBC orchestras, and many other ensembles including the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, ... Read Full Biography
Artist Portrait

Christopher Glynn

Christopher Glynn


Christopher Glynn is a Grammy award-winning pianist and accompanist, working with leading singers, instrumentalists and ensembles in concerts, broadcasts and recordings throughout the world. He is also Artistic Director of the Ryedale Festival, programming around 60 events each year in the many beautiful and historic venues of Ryedale, North Yorkshire. Described by The Times as ‘a superb accompanist’ and praised in Gramophone for his ‘breathtaking sensitivity’, Chris has performed with singers including Sir Thoma... Read Full Biography
Artist Portrait

Rowan Pierce

Rowan Pierce


Yorkshire born soprano Rowan Pierce was awarded the President's Award by HRH Prince of Wales at the Royal College of Music in 2017. She won both the Song Prize and First Prize at the inaugural Grange Festival International Singing Competition in 2017, the first Schubert Society Singer Prize in 2014 and the Van Someren Godfery Prize at the RCM. She was a Britten Pears young artist, a Rising Star of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment and a Harewood Artist at English National Opera. Rowan has appeared in concert throughou... Read Full Biography

Have you also considered...

Festival Passes

This event is part of a series:

Connections Across Time - A Brief History of Song

Over a packed eight days, world-class artists including Benjamin Appl, Ian Bostridge, Sarah Connolly and Roderick Williams will present some 40 concerts and events, from venues across Oxford and completely live. From the comfort of your own home, you will be able to enjoy these concerts live-streamed in the highest quality. We’ll be exploring every possible advantage of this temporary ...

Mailing List