The Song Duo with the Swiss soprano Franziska Andrea Heinzen and British-Polish-German pianist Benjamin Malcolm Mead was founded in Düsseldorf in 2014. The Duo is constantly seeking for ways to vitalise the classical Lied repertoire by combining unknown Lied treasures in specially curated recital programmes. During the past five years, they have been giving successful recitals in Switzerland (Rhonefestival/Schubertiade de Sion), the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Spain (Schubert Cycle of the Schubertiada Vilabertran), and Germany (Schumannfest/Düsseldorf Festival).

DEBUTS & PROGRAMMING
In march of 2018 they gave their debut recital at the new song series dedicated to Schubert in Barcelona initiated by the Schubertíada de Vilabertran. Their recital dedicated to the poet Rainer Maria Rilke was recorded and broadcast by Swiss radio station SRF2 Kultur in 2018 and rebroadcast by BBC Radio 3 in 2019. Sharing their passion for showcasing less well-known compositions the Swiss radio station SRF2 also recorded 2019’s recital at the Rhonefestival dedicated to women composers from the romantic to the contemporary period. Their Debut-CD featuring the french group „Les Six“ with two premiere recordings will be released in early 2021 with the label SoloMusica.

PRIZES

The two young musicians took second prize at the chamber music competition „Sieghardt-Rometsch“ and first prize at the 2. International Song-Competition „Rhein-Ruhr“ in 2017, are laureates of the international competition „Les saisons de la voix“ and received a special award from „Juventudes de musica españa“ in giving a series of song recitals in Spain in 2018. Together they received the music endowment award of the state capital of Düsseldorf in 2017.

MASTERCLASSES

Franziska and Benjamin have had the honour of working with Julius Drake, Richard Stokes and Christoph Prégardien at the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme in Aldeburgh, with Malcolm Martineau, Roberta Alexander, and Olaf Bär during the Udo Reinemann International Masterclasses in Brussels, as well as with Graham Johnson and Elly Ameling during the 42. Masterclass for Lied organized by the Internationale Hugo Wolf Akademie in Stuttgart. Further masterclasses with Dame Felicity Lott, Boguslaw Strobel, Hans Eijsackers, Jeff Cohen complement their passion for the art of Lied as well as Ulrich Eisenlohr, Hartmut Höll, and Wolfram Rieger.

RECITAL PROGRAMMES

BELLE EPOQUE (2021)

This song recital tells about musical utopias around the penultimate turn of the century: Dreams and hopes of an exotic elsewhere, fantasies and longings about (soul)landscapes, eternal love and the”promised land“ emerges and dissolves in inner or outer exile.

Daydreams from Claude DEBUSSY, Maurice RAVEL to Arnold SCHÖNBERG, Cole PORTER and others.

HOMAGE TO BAUDELAIRE (2021)

“La musique souvent me prend comme une mer!” 

Charles BAUDELAIRE (1821–1867) recital for his 200th anniversary, with songs by DEBUSSY, CHARPENTIER, DUPARC, VIERNE, FERRE, COWIE and others.

SHAKESPEARES GRAVE (2021)

Already at the end of the 16th century, William SHAKESPEARE offers a fascinating insight into the soul worlds that have been twisted and torn apart by life and love.

A staged search for traces by Henry PURCELL, Erich KORNGOLD, Richard STRAUSS to WOLFGANG RIHM and many more.

ROCK FACE. SWISS MUSIC FROM THE ALPS (2019-2021)
With music from Eugen MEIER, Werner BÄRTSCHI and Anny ROTH-DALBERT.
LES SIX (2020 – CD-Release in 2021)

In 1920 an album of piano pieces was published by a group of composers called Les Six. The composers HONEGGER, AURIC, DUREY, MILHAUD, POULENC, and TAILLEFERRE each contributed one short work.

The peculiarity of these works is to be rediscovered, as the inter-war years – les années folles – inspired artists to fusion the genres, create avant-garde treasures as well as to conduct dadaistic experiments. 100 years later, our recital brings this piano cycle back to life whilst being complemented by songs composed by the members of Les Six.

BETWEEN DREAMS & REALITY (2020)
Spring evokes love and pure joy, while the moonlight emphasizes endless longing. Springing from one of the Duos first Lied programs, the title will be revived with new song constellations in 2020 and will host composers such as Claude DEBUSSY, Alban BERG, Edvard GRIEG.
WOMEN COMPOSERS (2019)
The 200th birthday of the exceptional pianist and composer Clara SCHUMANN offers the perfect chance to highlight women composers: Up until today, women composers often stand in the shadow of their husbands, their brothers or male colleagues – even though they composed treasures on an equal level. This programme is neither about feminism nor the current gender trend, but the (re)discovery of women masters. It reflects in wonderful and even avant-garde sounds by not less than 20 female composers that these compositions are historically, literarily and musically in no way inferior to their male colleagues. With song by Fenny HENSEL-MENDELSSOHN, Clara SCHUMANN, Johanna KINKEL to the contemporary women composers Juliana HALL, Isabel MUNDRY or Katharina ROSENBERGER among others.
DREAM CROWNED. HOMAGE TO RAINER MARIA RILKE (2018)

A world of its own, dream-crowned: Rainer Maria RILKE’S formulation of the concept of death, life and its transcendantality inspired a whole century of composers lasting into contemporary music to highly emotional, congenial musical works of art.

The audience is abducted into a world full of poetry and love, as well as soul abysses with works by A. MAHLER, BERNSTEIN, DUREY, BARBER, PEJACEVIC, HINDEMITH and REIMANN. 

ABOUT KINGS AND PRINCESSES (2019)

Stories are not only fascinating for children, adults do dream too! They are perhaps dreaming of of (good) old times, past love and fantastic figures beyond the daily life.

This recital leads you into a musical journey of another world, where kings drink from golden cups and ride unceasingly through the night (Franz SCHUBERT), where exotic princesses seductively sing from a promised land (Maurice RAVEL), where knights sit for many hundreds of years observing the unlucky luck (Robert SCHUMANN).

OLD TALES REDISCOVERED. HOMMAGE TO SWISS POET GOTTFRIED KELLER (2019)

Swiss and international composers as Othmar SCHOECK or Hugo WOLF were both highly inspired by the Swiss Poet Gottfried KELLER, who is celebrating his 200th anniversary in 2019.

First set in music by Johannes BRAHMS, the poem cycle “Alte Weisen” (“Old tales”) about different women characters found its musical continuation in settings by Hugo WOLF, Felix WEINGARTNER, Hans SOMMER, and Hans PFITZNER.

ANCIENT FEMALE CHARACTERS IN CONTEMPORARY SONG (2019)

This recital is dedicated to the modern and contemporary art of Lied. Even the composers of our time like getting involved with archetypes, searching for personal expression as well as (unusual) musical and vocal settings, revealing to us enlightening and refreshing answers to timeless questions.

The program talks about mystical female worlds that have inspired male composers such as Moritz EGGERT, Wilhelm KILLMAYER, Wolfgang RIHM, and Alexander MUNO.

CELEBRATING WITH FRIENDS: DEBUSSY, BERNSTEIN & CO (2018)
Let us celebrate the centenary of two of the most opposing composers of our time. On the one hand, we have DEBUSSY’S 100th death year reminding us of his pioneering break with musical tradition, encompassing exotic scales describing the inner (soul)landscape. And then we have BERNSTEIN, who would have celebrated his 100th birthday this year: pianist, composer, conductor and pedagog. We celebrate the two geniuses alongside with their friends and colleagues Eric SATIE, André CAPLET and Igor STRAVINSKY as well Samuel BARBER.
SCHUBERT: GOETHE AND THE POETS OF SENSIBILITY (2018)
The concert programme leads us from the serene lightness of spring across the secret glimpse of a loving and burning heart to the contemplation of beauty and (nocturnal) nature. The juxtaposition of two poetic currents, namely the poets of the sensibility and the oeuvre of J. W. GOETHE in the music of the song master Franz SCHUBERT let us immerse fully in their poetic worlds.
LOVE’S MAGIC ON THE RHINE (2017)
Seemingly eternal stories and scary fairy tales of mermaids have coexisted alongside the great river that is called the Rhine. The focus of the song recital is on one of the most prominent couples in musical history: Clara and Robert SCHUMANN – both outstanding composers inspiring each other in their own work. The audience is taken on a journey from love-bliss to love-loss and back again – you might even catch a glimpse of a mermaid jumping out of the water.

BETWEEN EAST AND WEST, SPACE AND TIME (2017)

This is a recital spanning from works by the Liedermeister Franz Schubert to exotic and contemporary sounds: The “elsewhere” as opposed to the “here” in lyric poetry and music serves as an antipode to the poetic shaping of spatial and emotional distances. Thus, in this recital, the easterly wind is the ambassador of love, space and time, whilst simultaneously symbolising the secret love between Wolfgang von GOETHE and Marianne von WILLEMER.