Having first made her mark in the finals of BBC’s Classical Star competition in 2008, Karen’s warm personality and sense of style and musicianship have made her one of the most highly acclaimed and sought after young soloists in the UK. We’re delighted she’ll be performing with us again on Sunday at Central Theatre, Chatham.
We caught up with her to find out what the four most played tracks are on her iPod and why she just can’t stop listening to them…
E lucevan le stelle from Puccini’s Tosca
I fell in love with this aria when I saw Tosca live at the Royal Albert Hall a few years ago. This is probably the best-known aria from the opera, and is sung by Tosca’s lover whilst he awaits his execution. It is a final reminiscing of what used to be – there is a real sense of heartache and desperation. I love the clarinet obligato, which plays a huge role in this aria. This is an absolute must to listen to – it really is heart-wrenching stuff; tissues at the ready!
The Swan of Tuonela – Sibelius
This tone poem by Sibelius is not one of his better-known works but is my absolute favourite piece of classical music. The cor anglais takes the main role in the work, representing the swan, who swims around Tuonela – the island of the dead. The cor anglais is one of the most beautiful instruments in the orchestra – always getting the solos, and for good reason!
Piano Concerto No. 2 – Second Movement – Shostakovich
I first heard this work in a theory and musicianship class when I was around 16, and I remember my teacher absolutely raving about it, and going on about this heart-wrenching chord where the piano enters after a beautiful string introduction- and then we heard it and we all knew why! I could listen to it again and again! Shostakovich is one of my favourite composers. His symphonic writing is great for the bassoon!
The Stolen Child and Non Aurumque from the album Light and Gold – Eric Whitacre
The harmonies and suspensions Eric Whitacre uses are really quite spectacular. This music evokes so many different emotions – I can’t just have it on in the background as I get so carried away every time I listen!