Described in The Telegraph as ‘the crème de la crème of young British-based musical talent’, and praised in BBC Music Magazine for their ‘irresistible combination of arresting programming and vocal flair assembled around pianist Joseph Middleton’ the Myrthen Ensemble was founded by rising stars Sophie Bevan, Clara Mouriz, Allan Clayton, Marcus Farnsworth and Joseph Middleton. Mary Bevan has now competantly stepped up to take over from sister Sophie. Over the past seasons they have also had the great pleasure of working with other outstanding artists, including Katherine Broderick, Robert Murray and Benjamin Hulett.
The group takes its name from the composition Robert Schumann wrote as a wedding present for his wife Clara in 1840. Myrtles have for centuries been seen as the German symbol of marriage and their modest form seems an apt image of the relationship between words and music, singer and pianist, imagination and sound and performer and audience. Delving into the treasure chest that makes up the canon of the song repertoire, The Myrthen Ensemble explores all areas of art-song through illuminating and thoughtful programming.
In their first season together, the Myrthen Ensemble enjoyed performances at Snape Maltings as part of an Aldeburgh residency, broadcasts by BBC Radio 3, and a triumphant launch concert in London: “For sheer joy – for youthful panache and heartfelt commitment – nothing I have experienced musically this year comes near to matching this lovely soirée… there was no mistaking its exceptional musicality – every phrase was coloured and shaped, everything emotionally felt” (Rupert Christianesen, The Telegraph)
The Myrthen Ensemble have released their debut on Signum, 'Songs To The Moon', including works by Brahms, Faure, Saint-Saens and Schumann. Joseph Middleton writes to introduce the recording: “The moon has, since antiquity, inspired artists, musicians and wordsmiths. The programme on this disc looks to its many characteristics for inspiration. The songs are at turns consoling, sometimes seductive in serenades and occasionally paint the moon as a threatening force through its extinguishing of the suns rays. The moon’s silver beams cast their magic in music by Brahms and Schumann in the first of these CDs and in the second, inspire the exquisite treatment of Clair de lune by a selection of the finest French song composers. Short English nocturnal overtures begin each disc.”