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Zweisamkeit - a recital for soprano and piano

8 June


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Helen Hancock, photo by Billy Cahill

Helen Hancock, photo by Billy Cahill

Helen Hancock (soprano, Ireland) and Paul Cibis (piano, Germany) present an evening recital on the theme of togetherness/partnership. This programme explores the theme of various life events – evitable and inevitable – ranging from young love, partnership, marriage, parenthood, ageing, separation and loss from Irish and German perspectives.

At the heart of the programme are Robert Schumann and Carl Loewe settings of Frauenliebe und -leben (A Woman’s Life and Love). Also featured will be classics of the Lieder repertoire by Richard Strauss and Franz Schubert, with later contributions from composers from Ireland including Ina Boyle, Herbert Hughes and Charles Villiers Stanford.

The living Lieder tradition in Ireland will also be represented. Receiving its German premiere will be Anne-Marie O’Farrell’s setting of Rastlose Liebe. A number of works by Criostóir Ó Loingsigh will also be heard for the first time, varyingly in Germany or globally, with selections from song cycles in German and Irish including a world première in Old Irish written especially for the event, based on text from the mid-eighth century Würzburg Glosses, one of the earliest large bodies of text written in Old Irish and now preserved in the National Library of Würzburg.

The venue, the Mutterhauskirche of the Kongregation der Schwestern des Erlösers (Sisters of the Redeemer) in Würzburg was completely redesigned and renovated in 2022 as a beautiful concert venue.

A freelance soprano based in Ireland, Helen Hancock focuses on baroque and sacred music and is a frequent recitalist. As a lover of chamber music, her 2023 highlights include performances of Schubert’s Der Hirt auf dem Felsen and Arnold Cooke’s Songs of Innocence, both for voice, clarinet and piano with Berginald Rash and Christopher Moriarty, clarinet and Annalisa Monticelli, piano. A world premiere of a new piece, Ruminations, for soprano, clarinet and piano by composer/clarinettist Christopher Moriarty was recorded in September 2023. Schubert’s Auf dem Strom for voice, horn/cello and piano and arrangements by Amy Beach, Berlioz and Strauss featured in a recital with Yue Tang, cello and David Leigh, piano. Other highlights include a recital at the Castleknock Music Festival 2023 with festival director Anna Kiselyova (piano) and a programme of early music at the closing concert of Galway Early Music Festival 2023 with Mark Keane (harpsichord) and Vox Orbis.

Helen performed at the Ulysses Centenary for the Embassy of Ireland, Berlin in June 2022, and performed with composer and pianist Criostóir Ó Loingsigh at the Dingle Summer Music Festival 2022,  premiering several of this songs.  She performed with internationally renowned pedal harpist and composer Anne-Marie O’Farrell in 2021.

Educated in Hanover, Berlin and London, pianist Paul Cibis has performed on five continents, establishing an international career. He has played solo and duo recitals at festivals in his native Germany, France, the UK, the US, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. Paul has also appeared on electronic media around the world, including the BBC, WDR, 3Sat, ORB, HR, RTHK and CCTV.

Following his interest in presenting classical music in unique and innovative ways, he created the PIANO BATTLE concert brand which he co-developed with fellow pianist Andreas Kern. Their acclaimed shows have been performed in major venues and festivals in Germany, Italy, Bulgaria, China, Taiwan, South Korea, Canada, the US and Australia, including Beethovenfest Bonn, Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival, Klavierfestival Ruhr, Rheingau Musik Festival, Prinzregententheater Munich, Berlin Philharmonie, Melbourne Recital Hall, Seoul Arts Center and the National Concert Hall Taipei.

Paul has also been involved in various film projects. He penned the music scores for several short films, and was the initiator as well as music supervisor of the international award-winning documentary Pianomania. His CD recordings include an album of French mélodies and piano works by Berlioz, Fauré and Debussy, with German mezzo-soprano Barbara Senator, and a solo album featuring the Taiwanese composer Kai-nan Huang.

Paul conducted solo piano and Lied workshops at music academies in Hong Kong, Taiwan, China and South Korea. He is the co-director of the annual Philomel Music Academy summer course, and a founding member and current chairman of the international Peter Feuchtwanger Society.


Mutterhauskirche der Kongregation der Schwestern des Erlösers
Domerschulstraße 1
97070 Würzburg

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