Joseph Middleton

Introduction

“Joseph Middleton is a born collaborator...one of the brightest stars in the world of song and Lieder, performing with the likes of baritone Sir Thomas Allen and soprano Dame Felicity Lott” 
BBC Music Magazine, Rising Stars, Great Artists of Tomorrow

Pianist Joseph Middleton specialises in the art of song accompaniment and chamber music and has been highly acclaimed within this field. Described in the BBC Music Magazine as ‘one of the brightest stars in the world of song and Lieder’, he has also be labeled as ‘the cream of the new generation’ by The Times. He performs and records with many of the world’s finest singers in major music centres across Europe and North America.

Joseph enjoys recitals with internationally established singers including Sir Thomas Allen, Ian Bostridge, Sarah Connolly, Lucy Crowe, Iestyn Davies, Wolfgang Holzmair, Christiane Karg, Katarina Karnéus, Jonathan Lemalu, Dame Felicity Lott, Christopher Maltman, John Mark Ainsley, Lisa Milne, Ann Murray, Mark Padmore, Joan Rodgers, Amanda Roocroft, Kate Royal, Matthew Rose, Carolyn Sampson, Toby Spence, Ailish Tynan and Roderick Williams. He regularly collaborates with rising stars from the younger generation and in 2012 he formed the Myrthen Ensemble to further explore the song repertoire with regular duo partners Mary Bevan, Clara Mouriz, Allan Clayton and Marcus Farnsworth. Their debut CD as an ensemble will appear on the Signum Records label. 

Joseph appears at major music centres including, in Europe: London’s Wigmore Hall, Royal Opera House and Royal Festival Hall, the Vienna Konzerthaus, Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Cologne Philharmonie, Zürick Tonhalle, Luxembourg Philharmonie and Dublin National Concert Hall. He made his New York debut at the Alice Tully Hall accompanying Sarah Connolly in a recital described in the New York Times as ‘superlative...everything a song recital should be’. Elsewhere in the Americas he has appeared at Toronto’s Koerner Hall, Vancouver’s Chan Centre, San Francisco’s Nourse Theatre and Chicago’s Ravinia Festival. He is a regular guest at Festivals in Aix-en-Provence, Aldeburgh, Brighton, Cheltenham, City of London, Edinburgh, Munich, Oxford Lieder, Saintes, Stuttgart, Three Choirs and West Cork. Joseph has a special relationship with the BBC through his work with their New Generation Artists Scheme and as such has made numerous live broadcasts of solo, chamber and song repertoire for BBC Radio 3, including twice being invited to curate his own weeklong series of lunchtime concerts. His critically acclaimed discography includes ‘Fleurs’ with Carolyn Sampson (BIS Records, selected as Editor’s Choice in Gramophone Magazine), and numerous recordings for Champs Hill Records, including ‘Elgar in Sussex' with Dame Felicity Lott, ‘Tell me the Truth about Love’ with Amanda Roocroft, the lieder of Ludwig Thuille with Sophie Bevan and Jennifer Johnston and the complete Purcell songs as realized by Britten with Ruby Hughes, Allan Clayton and Matthew Rose.

Born in Gloucestershire, Joseph graduated with an MPhil from the University of Birmingham before studying piano on an EMI Scholarship at the Royal Academy of Music. Upon graduation he held Junior Fellowships at both the RCM and RAM, had the title of Associate conferred upon him by the RAM and took up the post of Musician in Residence at Pembroke College Cambridge, where he now curates an imaginative song recital series as well as directing the University’s Lieder Scheme. Joseph's competitive successes include the Accompaniment Prizes of the Wigmore Hall International Song, Kathleen Ferrier, Richard Tauber, Royal Over-Seas League and Geoffrey Parsons Awards. In Germany he was awarded the ‘Best Lied-Pianist Prize’ at the International Schubert Competition LiedDuo. In 2014, Joseph was appointed Director of Leeds Lieder, ‘one of the most exuberant and far-reaching festivals of art-song in the UK’ (The Times).

For an up-to-date biography, please contact Sophie Dand

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  • STRAUSS
    Das Rosenband

Audio

Schedule

Cadogan Hall, LONDON

PURCELL/BRITTEN
Sound the trumpet (duet)
Lost is my quiet (duet)
Music for a while (ID)
If music be the food of love (3rd version) (CS)
No, resistance is but vain (duet)
Celemene (duet)

MENDELSSOHN
Ich wollt' mein Lieb' ergösse sich (duet)
Schilflied (ID)
Neue Liebe (CS)
3 Duets Op 77:
- Sonntagsmorgen (duet)
- Das Ährenfeld (duet
- Lied as Ruy Blas (duet)

QUILTER
It was a lover and his lass (duet)
Music when soft voices die (ID)
Weep you no more (CS)
My life's delight (CS)
Love calls through the summer night (duet)

COUNTERTENOR: IESTYN DAVIES
Soprano: Carolyn Sampson
PIANO: JOSEPH MIDDLETON (BBC Proms debut)

Naval and Military Club, LONDON

MOZART: ‘Alelluia’ from ‘Exsultate Jubilate’

FAURE: ‘Apres un reve’
FAURE: ‘Mandoline’
STRAUSS: ‘Befreit’

RACHMANINOV: ‘Ne poy krasavitsa’
RACHMANINOV: ‘Zdes Khorosho’
RACHMANINOV: ‘Spring Waters’

-INTERVAL-

CHAPI: ‘D'espagna vengo’
CHAPI: ‘Las Carceleras’

GERSHWIN/HEYWARD (Sarah Vaughn version): ‘Summertime’
KERN/FIELDS: ‘The Way You Look Tonight’
KERN/HAMMERSTEIN: ‘All the Things You Are’
RODGERS/HART: ‘My Funny Valentine’

CYMBALA: He's Been Faithful

SOPRANO: ANGEL BLUE
PIANO: JOSEPH MIDDLETON

All Saints' Church Okehampton, OKEHAMPTON

IRELAND The heart’s desire
The trellis
My true love hath my heart

GOUNOD Viens! Les gazons sont verts.
CHAUSSON Le colibri
FAURÉ En sourdine
Green
DUPARC L’invitation au voyage

GURNEY I will go with my father a ploughing
DELIUS In the garden of the Seraglio
VAUGHAN-WILLIAMS Silent noon
QUILTER Hark, hark the lark

Interval

BUTTERWORTH On the idle hill of summer
The lads in their hundreds
GURNEY In Flanders
BUTTERWORTH Think no more, lad
SOMERVELL Into my heart an air that kills

POULENC Bleuet
FAURÉ L’Absent
POULENC Priez pour paix

BUTTERWORTH With rue my heart is laden
MACMILLAN The children
IRELAND The cost
BRIDGE Journey’s end
FINZI Fear no more the heat o’ the sun

TENOR: JOHN MARK AINSLEY
PIANO: JOSEPH MIDDLETON

Park Avenue Armory, NEW YORK

Robert Schumann Rückert settings:
Aus den östlichen Rosen Op.25 no 25
Volksliedchen Op51.no 2
Der Himmel hat einen Träne geweint Op.37 no 1

Clara Schumann
Geheimes Flüstern hier und dort Op.23 no 3
O Lust, O Lust Op.23 No 6
Ich stand in dunkeln Träumen Op.13 no1
Sie liebten sich beide Op.13 no 2
An einem lichten Morgen Op.23 no 2

Mahler Rückert-Lieder:
Ich atmet’ einen linden Duft
Liebst du um Schönheit
Blicke mir nicht in die Lieder
Um Mitternacht
Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen

INTERVAL

Schumann
Frühlingsfahrt Op.45 No.2
Stir, Lieb und Freud Op.35 No 2

Barber Hermit songs Op.29
At Saint Patrick's Purgatory
Church bell at night
St. Ita's Vision
The Heavenly Banquet
The Crucifixion
Sea Snatch
Promiscuity
The Monk and his Cat
The Praises of God
The Desire for Hermitage

Robert Schumann
Der Einsiedler Op.83 No 3

KATE ROYAL: SOPRANO
JOSEPH MIDDLETON: PIANO

Park Avenue Armory, NEW YORK

Robert Schumann Rückert settings:
Aus den östlichen Rosen Op.25 no 25
Volksliedchen Op51.no 2
Der Himmel hat einen Träne geweint Op.37 no 1

Clara Schumann
Geheimes Flüstern hier und dort Op.23 no 3
O Lust, O Lust Op.23 No 6
Ich stand in dunkeln Träumen Op.13 no1
Sie liebten sich beide Op.13 no 2
An einem lichten Morgen Op.23 no 2

Mahler Rückert-Lieder:
Ich atmet’ einen linden Duft
Liebst du um Schönheit
Blicke mir nicht in die Lieder
Um Mitternacht
Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen

INTERVAL

Schumann
Frühlingsfahrt Op.45 No.2
Stir, Lieb und Freud Op.35 No 2

Barber Hermit songs Op.29
At Saint Patrick's Purgatory
Church bell at night
St. Ita's Vision
The Heavenly Banquet
The Crucifixion
Sea Snatch
Promiscuity
The Monk and his Cat
The Praises of God
The Desire for Hermitage

Robert Schumann
Der Einsiedler Op.83 No 3

KATE ROYAL: SOPRANO
JOSEPH MIDDLETON: PIANO

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BBC Music Magazine & Gramophone Magazine

Press

Songs to the Moon

Myrthen Ensemble Debut CD - Signum Records

4****
An engaging programme, mixing solos by each of the starry young singers with rare ensemble works. Pianist Joseph Middleton excels throughout.


BBC Music Magazine
4****
Joseph Middleton reinforces his reputation as the finest accompanist amongst the younger generations...Excellent sound, authoritative notes from Middleton and Richard Stokes, as well as texts and translations add to this rewarding nocturnal journey. Well worth exploring.

Evan Dickerson, Classical Ear, 21 June 2016

Undoubtedly the star of the evening, though, was the pianist, Joseph Middleton with his sensitivity to the voices and ability to summon up the mood of each piece through deft use of speed, dynamic and colour.


Barry Creasy - MusicOMH - Myrthen Ensemble Wigmore Hall Review

Middleton is outstanding, his reputation as a rising star among accompanists richly deserved.

Tim Ashley, Gramophone Magazine, September 2016

Britten : Purcell CD

Champs Hill Records

The colours they bring to the music are unashamedly Romantic and Middleton, who vivid playing is a catalyst throughout the disc, lets himself go in Britten’s scene painting… Champs Hill’s recording is also first-rate, giving singers and piano alike tremendous presence…For Britten, this counts as a highly persuasive new release.

Richard Fairman, Gramophone Magazine, June 2016

As pianist, Britten developed elaborate accompaniments for them that today seem a little overworked, but it’s fascinating to hear their period style on these two CDs, especially with the unifying and responsive playing of pianist Joseph Middleton.

Nicholas Kenyon, The Guardian, 10 April 2016

5*
Throughout, pianist Joseph Middleton’s playing is exemplary in its unassertive light-touch clarity…

5* Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph, 21 May 2016

The driving force behind this complete survey of Benjamin Britten’s modern realisations of Purcell songs is pianist Joseph Middleton… Middleton’s realisation of them is exquisite and sympathetic to the countless dramatic hues evoked by his team of singers.

4* Ken Walton, The Scotsman, 23 April 2016

…Middleton’s playing is precisely coloured and characterised.


4* Anna Picard, BBC Music Magazine, June 2016

A fine cast of singers...and don’t ignore the contribution of the pianist behind the collection, Joseph Middleton. Casting is split between six singers and part of the joy is wondering who’s been given what...It’s a really entertaining collection highlighting Purcell’s genius, Britten’s ingenuity, and underpinning it all, Joseph Middleton’s casting design and intuitive piano playing. I love this.

Andrew McGregor, BBC Radio 3 - Record Review

Nocturnal Variations with Ruby Hughes

Champs Hill Records

There is no question, first of all, that we have two major talents here...This is an extraordinary and rather brave CD...Joseph Middleton is a fine musician, technically secure, and fully responsive to Hughes’s, and the composers’, poetic vision...This disc is very special...Something to relish, and a great achievement.


Musicweb International - Recording of the Month - Gwyn Parry-Jones

Joseph Middleton’s neat and purposeful accompaniments are major assests, and just as Hughes’s singing offers and object lesson in how to bring words and notes together, she and her pianist collaborate as a duo of equals...Each of the performers observes the details of Schubert’s writing...In Mahler...Middleton makes a good deal of the accompaniments that feel orchestrally rather than pianistically conceived...A dream debut.


BBC Music Magazine - CD of the Month Choral and Song 5* Performance, 5* Recording

Recital with Sir Thomas Allen

Bridgewater Hall, Manchester

5*****
...Middleton’s bird-song-like flourishes in Coates' Bird songs at eventide and control at the ends of songs, and for that matter his seamless entrances into each, were nothing short of brilliant. His playing was fluid and attentive. Their combined music-making was truly evocative of the landscapes and narratives it aims to capture…
Allen and Middleton’s performance seemed to catalyse a transcendental feeling between composer, composition and performer, creating the illusion that the songs were written for them. Not only this, but the line between vocal and instrumental became blurred. Both performers displayed the ultimate expression of both.

Imogen Phoebe Webb, Bach Track*****, 1 April 2016

Gramophone Podcast

Leeds Lieder Festival 2016

http://www.gramophone.co.uk/classical-music-news/talking-song-with-a-pianist-and-a-singer-a-gramophone-podcast Gramophone, March 2016

The Leeds Lieder Festival is a compact triumph of outstanding art song...Middleton’s contribution comprised a meaty recital of Nordic songs 

The Sunday Times/ Hugh Canning
What the visionary Jane Anthony founded now has the young and energetic Joseph Middleton as its Director. Bachtrack - Richard Wilcocks

Administered by Joseph Middleton (one of the best accompanists I know) and Roderick Williams (the most eloquent of baritones and so damn nice you want to hug him), it was round-the-clock, relentless, but with concerts of surpassing quality.


Michael White - Classical Music Magazine

Recital with Clara Mouirz

RWCMD

Joseph Middleton is a brilliant accompanist – his evident qualities further evidenced by the roll call of singers who have chosen to work with him (it includes Ian Bostridge, Sir Thomas Allen, Iestyn Davies, Christopher Maltman, Mark Padmore, Amanda Roocroft and Ailish Tynan)...Turina’s writing in this ‘Dedicatoria’ is a brilliant ‘translation’ of that kind of guitar music and was superbly played by Joseph Middleton.”


 

Musicweb International

Recital with Ian Bostridge

Barber Institute of Fine Arts

...perhaps England’s greatest exponent of Schubert lieder, Ian Bostridge... was accompanied by another award winner, Joseph Middleton...Aided by the considerable keyboard technique of Middleton, the pair progressed together to present a performance that, with an impressive range of dynamics and colour, was both exceedingly intense and sincere...– a great interpretation. 
As the last note died away, Bostridge and Middleton remained motionless. It was over a minute before the enthusiastic applause broke the trance. The execution of the duo of Schubert’s Winterreise had been a magnificent obsession.
Geoff Read, Seen & Heard International, 5 February 2016

Recital with Sarah Connolly

Alice Tully Hall, New York debut

Sarah Connolly, whose superlative matinee on Sunday at Alice Tully Hall had Joseph Middleton at the Steinway, is at the peak of her career...Ms. Connolly and the impressive Mr. Middleton, meanwhile, flaunted their versatility. Opening with Schubert’s three “Ellens Gesänge,” they brought an otherworldly confidence to the “Ave Maria.” Each of five of Copland’s intriguingly varied “12 Poems of Emily Dickinson” had a distinct mood, while in Elgar’s “Sea Pictures” even Ms. Connolly’s breathing seemed part of her supremely noble phrasing. The encores, Handel’s “Ombra mai fu” and Howells’s “King David,” exuded poise and dignity. This was everything a recital should be.
David Allen, The New York Times, 13 April 2015
Sunday April 12, 2015 - The final concert in our Great Performers at Lincoln Centersubscription series, this recital at Alice Tully Hall by the English mezzo-soprano Sarah Connolly was as fine an evening of song as I have ever experienced; both the singer and her songs stood proudly in my memory-pantheon of great vocal recitals which reaches back to the 1960s when I met Dame Janet Baker and which encompasses such paragons of the lied as Christa Ludwig, Elisabeth Söderström, Jessye Norman, Wolfgang Holzmair, and a host of others...The pianist Joseph Middleton was at the Steinway and was an ideal partner for Ms. Connolly with his sensitive, elegant playing. His mastery of piano/pianissimo gradations provided so many passages of quiet rapture throughout the program...Mr. Middleton's playing had clarity of detail...A whole catalog of descriptive superlatives won't do justice to this evening's performance in which singer and pianist found the poetic heartland of the songs and transported us there with the immersive beauty of their entwined voices...In the final "The Chariot", she and her pianist again found a perfect rapport, and throughout this set (and the entire evening, in fact) there were passages of entrancing delicacy from the keyboard. At the end of "The Chariot" Ms. Connolly sustained the final note in a remarkable pianissimo that hung on the air: a bit of heaven here on Earth...Most musical performances have peaks and valleys; this evening, Ms. Connolly and Mr. Middleton set out on a plateau high in the musical stratosphere and lingered there til the final note, transporting us out of a troubled world and fortifying us with the generosity and sincerity of their artistry. A great night of song. Oberon's Grove

Recording with Carolyn Sampson

Fleurs - BIS Records



The bouquet was Joseph Middleton's idea, and his fluent and always idiomatic playing accompanies Sampson with glee and grace throughout - first through songs whose English, French, German and Russian texts are all inspired by the rose. Sampson's soprano luxuriates in the melismas of Purcell's cool evening breeze, inhabits the passions of Britten's Pushkin setting, The Nightingale and the Rose and, refreshingly, refuses to over-indulge Fauré's Roses d'Ispahan.
This programme is the perfect place in which to showcase Richard Strauss's four Mädchenblumen, after enjoying the free-flight into paradise of his Der Rosenband. Sampson and Middleton nicely choose Schubert's bosky, frolicking Im Haine rather than the obvious Heidenröslein. And for Verlaine's poem Green, they veer away from the well-known Debussy and Fauré settings, heading instead towards a beautifully focused performance of Hahn's Offrande.
Poulenc provides the disc's title-song - and Sampson and Middleton capture its dark, chaste ecstasy as incomparably as they enjoy the exuberance of their final Chabrier Toutes les flours.
Hilary Finch, BBC Music Magazine
Joseph Middleton is a perfect accompanist. Opera Now, April 2015
The English soprano's latest recital, Fleurs, has her joining that excellent pianist Joseph Middleton to offer an exquisite bouquet of flower songs.
Roses take precedence, and Purcell's Sweeter than Roses, dressed up by Benjamin Britten, creates a certain frisson with Sampson's historically informed singing set against Middleton's resonantly modern piano. Schumann's vision of a snowdrop is so moving that one might hope that spring would stay right away, while there is a winning strain of mischievousness running through a Richard Strauss poppy song. For some, the "find" may be the languorous post-Debussian world of Lili Boulanger's lilacs.
A number of pieces are less bloom-specific. Sampson catches just the right mix of the becalmed and bizarre for Poulenc's Fleurs and is suitably wry in a Victor Hugo dialogue between a butterfly and a flower, set to music by Faure.
The New Zealand Herald, 21 March 2015
With pianist Joseph Middleton she savours some choice blooms from, among others, Britten, Chabrier, Schubert, Schumann, Gounod and Strauss, her glorious soprano particularly affecting in Fauré’s Le papillon et la fleur and the wonderfully perfumed Les roses d’Ispahan. Middleton plays with dextrous delicacy throughout and brings real virtuosity to Strauss’s Mädchenblumen. Highly recommended.
Stephen Pritchard, The Guardian, 29 March 2015
Editor's Choice for May 2015
...an imaginatively planned, beautifully executed recital that charms and touches by turns...Carolyn Sampson and Joseph Middleton range well off the beaten track to embrace such rarities as Lili Boulanger’s dreamy, liquescent ‘Les lilas qui avaient fleuri’ and Strauss’s beguiling Mädchenblumen songs...To Schumann’s fragile, self-communing miniatures she brings an ideal delicacy and Innigkeit, not least in the gently floated high notes and magical pianissimo close of the rare ‘Die Blume der Ergebung’. Here and elsewhere Middleton creates limpid, luminous textures and reveals a subtle feeling for Schummanesque rubato...In French song, too, Sampson is in her element, whether in the blithe, seductive grace of Gounod’s ‘Le temps des roses’ or the hothouse torpor of Debussy’s ‘De fleurs’, where she and Middleton respond sensitively to the sultry, shifting harmonies.

Richard Wigmore, Gramphone May 2015
Sampson and her superb pianist, Joseph Middleton, make a case for a selection of songs that succeed in producing a dazzling range of intimacy and virtuosity...

James Naughtie, BBC Music Magazine
Sampson’s lovely, uncomplicated tone and palpable sincerity are all one could ask for...
Marvelously accompanied by pianist Joseph Middleton, who is as sensitive to the expressive demands of a song as to the singer’s interpretative strengths...performances so beautifully sung and accompanied...the recording can be highly recommended.
Jason Victor Serinus, San Francisco Classical Voice, 14 July 2015
Highlights of this CD? Every track is a highlight unto itself…Thanks to Sampson's great artistry and Middleton's risk-taking approach, everything sounds fresh and vital...a pianist who plays with guts and feeling…the greatness that is this Sampson-Middleton duo.

Fanfare Magazine - Lynn René Bayley
Sampson and Middleton's enthusiasm is infectious…It's a charming recital with pleasant variety, performed with appropriate sweetness and great energy by Sampson and Middleton… Middleton's playing is stellar…wonderfully delicate, but like Sampson, never sentimental.
American Record Review - Heisel

Recording with Kitty Whately

This Other Eden - Champs Hill Records

She receives terrific support from pianist Joseph Middleton, sensitive to Ireland’s fine writing.  This is a perfectly controlled performance...Kitty Whately builds Herbert Howells’ (1892–1983) King David so well, rising to some very fine moments with exquisite piano accompaniment, limpid and sensitive with mezzo and pianist complementing each other’s textures superbly...After Madelaine Newton’s fine reading of Thomas Hardy’s (1840–1928) The Darkling Thrush we have a song by Charles Villiers Stanford (1852–1924), something of an underrated song composer. Here his La belle dame sans merci has a surprisingly spare opening with Whately finding just the right feel before the music turns brighter picking up rhythmically and with Middleton, finely delivering all the changing moods, tempi rhythms and dynamics...Kevin Whately reads a line from A E Houseman’s Spring will not wait before Joseph Middleton plays John Ireland’s piano piece of the same name, a wonderful idea with this pianist catching Ireland’s elusive sound world so well...Benjamin Britten’s (1913–1976) piano piece Early Morning Bathe is a light skittish piece to which Joseph Middleton brings a lovely rippling quality, full of forward motion and richness of tone...This is a terrific debut disc from Kitty Whately...

5* Bruce Reader, The Classical Reviewer, 24 March 2015
Joseph Middleton's piano accompaniments are equally fine, and he contributes Britten's horribly hearty solo piece 'Early Morning Bathe. 4* BBC Music Magazine, Michael Scott Rohan

...Middleton’s partnership is exemplary in the entire program. He performs two short solo pieces, Ireland’s impressionist ‘Spring Will Not Wait’ and Britten’s rollicking ‘Early Morning Bathe’, which suggests the invigoration of a cold dip. ‘The Children’ (Macmillan, 1995) is a powerful setting of Scottish poet William Soutar’s anguish at the Spanish Civil War...It is a deeply moving performance of this brilliantly harrowing work.


American Record Guide - Shortlisted for Best Disc of 2015

BBC Radio 3

Recital with Kitty Whately

Wigmore Hall, London

She and her suave pianist Joseph Middleton were at their most winning in the wry or whimsical light comedy of songs such as Die Kartenlegerin and Ich kann’s nicht fassen — deliciously characterised.
The Times, Richard Morrison
Throughout the cycle Middleton was very much an equal partner, contributing to the intensity with which the songs were projected and characterised, full of vivid emotion.
Planet Hugill *****

Love said to me

Recording with Caroline MacPhie

Stone Records

Vividly stylish and responsive accompaniment from Joseph Middleton enhances this delightful musical menu…beautifully polished miniatures from Wolf's Italienisches Liederbuch…all sung by MacPhie with haunting sensitivity and emotional engagement.
4**** The Telegraph, Rupert Christiansen, November 2014
Joseph Middleton, mit dem sie auch im Konzertsaal häufig zusammen arbeitet, ist dabei weit mehr als Begleiter, sondern mit seinem entschiedenen Zugriff eine Art Motors des ganzen Unternehmens.
[Translation: Joseph Middleton, with whom she regularly appears in recital, proves far more than an accompanist, propelling the whole programme with his decisive ownership of the music]
Klassik Heute

Schubert

'Winterreise' with Sir Thomas Allen

Barber Institute of Fine Arts

What a privilege for a packed house. Here we were listening to Sir Thomas Allen, one of the finest baritones in the world, accompanied by Joseph Middleton, a sensitive and truly talented young pianist...Middleton discreetly joined forces with lovely phrasing and imaginative, but never overwhelming collaborations. His breathless pianissimos are a joy; achingly sad minor passages contrasting with brief flashes of caressing major sunlight. There was splendid clarity for The Post Coach (but, alas, no letter); more ferocity for a brief storm then a heart-­stopping velvety long introduction for a“pitiless tavern"...A recital to treasure. Birmingham Post, 21 October 2014

Schubert

'Winterreise' with Sir Thomas Allen

National Concert Hall, Dublin

The distinguished English baritone Sir Thomas Allen accompanied, with impeccable taste, by his younger compatriot Joseph Middleton. This is a marriage of musical minds serving Schubert with total dedication...While wonderfully understated, Joseph Middleton's accompaniments are still powerfully meaningful as he follows Schubert's flowing melodic lines with natural grace. Assertive and incisive, he is continuously in tandem with Thomas Allen's soul-searching insight into Müller and Schubert. The Independent
...the voice, aided by the tastefully graded piano accompaniment of Joseph Middleton, still asserted its glory or cast its hushed spell. This winter’s journey may have been tinged with the hues of autumn, but it remained an object lesson in concentrated, unflinching characterisation. The Irish Times
Ably and stylishly accompanied throughout by Middleton, the momentum of the cycle maintains its hold right to the end. In the final two songs, ‘Die Nebensonnen’ (The Phantom Suns) and ‘Der Leiermann’ (The Hurdy-Gurdy Man), singer and pianist project a rapt sense of impassioned stillness, at the end of which Sir Thomas holds the audience in a beautifully extended moment of silence, before the inevitable applause that follows. Standing ovations have become all too common in recent years, but on this occasion the audience’s reaction is spontaneous and well-deserved. Goldenplec.com

Gregynog Festival

Recital with Christopher Maltman

Llandinam Village Hall

Pianist Joseph Middleton matched Maltman for power in the two Mahler songs, yet the strength of this duo's performance lay less in their deeply expressive sound than in their expression of humanity...In the hall, the years stood still and raw feelings hit home: hope, honour and despair. Schumann's setting of Hans Christian Andersen's Der Soldat, where a commanding officer, facing an execution squad, is shot through the heart by the soldier who loved him, carried an almost unbearable force…deeply compassionate.**** Rian Evans, The Guardian, 27 June 2014

Thuille

LUDWIG THUILLE: SONGS

Champs Hill Records

They're impeccably sung, with great warmth of tone...some gorgeous ensembles. Joseph Middleton is their indefatigable pianist. Tim Ashley, The Guardian, 21 November 2013
Middleton is exquisite in every piece...The extremely imaginative songs of Ludwig Thuille are the subject of this thoughtfully prepared program...The three singers sound wonderful together; the colors in the voices line up, and Middleton offers clear and lively support...Sophie Bevan and Middleton play it with great sensitivity...This is a worthy addition to every lieder lover’s collection.
American Record Guide
They're impeccably sung, with great warmth of tone...some gorgeous ensembles. Joseph Middleton is their indefatigable pianist.

****The Guardian, Tim Ashley
Both singers should be applauded for bringing this long-forgotten repertoire to life, as should Joseph Middleton, who brings sparkle to Thuille’s imaginative and charming accompaniments...This release offers a generous and welcome conspectus of his song output.
Gramophone Magazine, Harriet Smith

Rising Star 'Great artists of tomorrow'

BBC Music Magazine

November 2013

*Rising Star: Great artists of tomorrow*
Middleton, aged 32, is one of the brightest stars in the world of song and Lieder, performing with the likes of baritone Sir Thomas Allen, sopranos Dame Felicity Lott and Clara Mouriz and tenor Toby Spence.
BBC Elizabeth Davis, BBC Music Magazine, November 2013

Richard Tauber Competition Winner

Wigmore Hall Recital

With Jung Soo Yun, tenor

The pianist, Joseph Middleton, won the 2010 Ferdinand Rauter Memorial Prize for Accompanists...Middleton was beautifully musical, never over-pedalling, never overbearing, each phrase, gesture or accompaniment pattern carefully considered and weighted...an excellent pianist ...One had to admire the ravishing piano playing in ‘Ideale’. Middleton set up the atmosphere perfectly in the space of but a few bars; and ‘L’alba separa dalla luce l’ombra’ was nicely impassioned.
Colin Clarke, Seen and Heard International

Cheltenham International Festival

With Dame Felicity Lott & Clara Mouriz

Pittville Pump Room

BBC Radio 3 Recital with Clara Mouriz:

‘Concert-going doesn’t get much more feel-good than this…The two have played regularly together, clearly get on well, and beam broadly as they take the stage – today’s sunny good mood has got to everybody. Smiles, too, at the end of their deftly delivered first half…Expect to hear a lot more from her – and, for that matter, from the effortlessly graceful Middleton too.’
Jeremy Pound, BBC Classical Music Magazine
BBC Radio 3 Recital with Clara Mouriz:

‘she was accompanied by Joseph Middleton providing the careful, empathetic support that many singers can only dream of.’
Roger Jones, Gloucestershire Echo
Recital of Poulenc and Britten with Dame Felicity Lott:

‘I doubt there’s ever been a better English interpreter of melodies than Felicity Lott… In these Poulenc songs, as in everything else, Joseph Middleton was an ideal and highly skilled partner for Dame Felicity.’
John Quinn, Seen and Heard International

Wagner & Liszt recital

Kings Place, Hall One

…Joseph Middleton stole the show in the Liszt selection - especially the balmy "Bells of Marling.
Andrew Clark, Financial Times, 27 June 2013
And her pianist in a thousand, Joseph Middleton, treated Wagner’s phrase endings with as much care as those of the much more individual master song-writers...When Schumann's first Liederkreis set (Op. 24) nudged Wagner out of the way and Middleton started making wonderfully nuanced connection between several of the songs, we knew we were in another world...Middleton again took the limelight in the elaborate gypsy strains of Liszt’s vivid song-picture "Die drei Zigeuner", followed by ethereal river music. He made the most of the piano part in the Wesendonck settings, conjuring the oppressive atmosphere of the hothouse and the liberation of dreams.

David Nice, The Arts Desk, 28 June 2013
…Middleton's animated performances offered great harmonic and stylistic understanding, as well as unfailing support for the singer... Middleton ensured that there was no reason whatsoever to lament the lack of an orchestra...Watson showed herself just as much at ease with the vocal line as Middleton with the gorgeous piano parts, a treat for any pianist with the requisite technique and stylistic command.


Mark Berry, Boulezian, 27 June 2013

Tell me the Truth about Love - Amanda Roocroft recital disc

Champs Hill Records

5 star review 
This beautifully packaged recording brings together songs around the conceit of a weekend love affair, beginning with an innocent young girl’s wonders and fears (the album’s title song, a setting by Benjamin Britten of a poem by WH Auden). The CD moves through a variety of emotions to its close: Britten’s version of the traditional Early One Morning.
In between, there is much to enjoy, not only in the quality of this well-paired performance, but in the emotional range displayed in a series of musical vignettes. 

Alexander Bryce, The Scotsman, 17 February 2013, 5*****
Half the fun in anthologies comes from seeing what has been chosen and how the programme has been sewn together...A pair of cabaret songs - Britten's setting of Auden's popular poem 'Tell me the truth about love' and Weill's 'Je ne t'aime pas', neither of them easy to pull off - fall early and late in what is an imaginative recital of art song. Most of the usual suspects are here but there is also a welcome thread of rarities from composers such as Boulanger, Marx and Dunhill. 

How often do we come across Loewe's playful 'Ich kann nicht fassen' or Mompou's elegiac 'Damunt de tu, només les flors'? Even better is the grand setting of Verlaine's 'En Sourdine' by Poldowski's, an interesting contrast to Fauré's melodie. Roocroft is impassioned in outgoing songs such as Bridge's ecstatic 'Adoration', where accompanist Joseph Middleton is really able to let himself go...persuasively shaped and coloured. The choice of songs, though, is its own strong selling point. It would be nice to think that every weekend fling might be as rewarding as this one.    

Richard Fairman, The Gramophone, June 2013
This is an intelligent and engrossing recital...Roocroft and Middleton's performance is glorious...Faure's Fleur jetee (Discarded flower) is altogether a surprise. A brilliant, Erlkonig like, piano part superbly rendered by Middleton, and the highly dramatic song gives Roocroft full rein...Mompou's Damunt de tu nomes les flors (Above you naught but flowers) evokes true sensuality in its direct uncluttered line. Roocroft brings real depth to this song, hinting at memories of Caballe. And we conclude in ecstasy, with Rachmaninov's Midsummer nights, Middleton revelling in the outrageously elaborate piano part. Roocroft is wonderfully intense here...Roocroft's performances are always dramatically involving, and she gives each song its own distinctive style. In this she is ably supported by Middleton who is dazzling...the whole adds up to a great recital from one of the warmest, vibrant and most human of sopranos.
Robert Hugill, Planet Hugill, 14 February 2013
4 star review
Joseph Middleton is everywhere a sensitive and imaginative accompanist to Amanda Roocroft, whose intimate, emotionally versatile singing is always engaging...
...beautifully engineered CD, presented in an equally beautiful little Victorian-style photo album.
Hilary Finch, BBC Music Magazine, September 2013

Recital with Malin Christensson & Christopher Maltman

Barber Institute of Fine Arts

a tidy and logical collection, impeccably delivered by each singer and their pianist Joseph Middleton, whose delicacy of touch and tonal elegance was at all times perfectly judged. And, although the subject matter rarely strayed from romantic love, the treatment and expressive range was remarkably varied.
David Hart, The Birmingham Post, 23 November 2012

Recital with Sir Thomas Allen

Chan Centre, Vancouver

The pianist, Joseph Middleton, a star in his own right, was in perfect sync with Allen throughout the concert. There was a camaraderie and a mutual delight in the music being shared by these two artists that added a very special tone to the evening.
Nancie Ottem, Review Vancouver, 13 June 2012

'Songs to the Moon' - The Myrthen Ensemble

Queen’s Gate Terrace

For sheer joy – for youthful panache and heartfelt commitment – nothing I have experienced musically this year comes near to matching this lovely soirée, given in the salon of a private house in South Kensington before a small invited audience. What a privilege to be there!
The concert marked the inauguration of a new group, The Myrthen Ensemble, named after a song that Schumann sent to his wife Clara and modelled on the fondly remembered Songmakers’ Almanac. Like the latter, it consists of a pianist and a quartet of singers functioning as a team of friends rather than stand-alone stars – here they are Joseph Middleton, and soprano Sophie Bevan, mezzo-soprano Clara Mouriz, tenor Allan Clayton and baritone Marcus Farnsworth.This line-up represents the crème de la crème of young British-based musical talent…
The programme was most intelligently devised by Joseph Middleton, an unfailingly sensitive accompanist. 
The Myrthen Ensemble will be performing at the Wigmore Hall next season. I hope and predict we will be hearing a lot more of them over the coming years.
Rupert Christiansen, The Telegraph, 30 March 2012

Recital with Katarina Karnéus

Westminster School

Swedish mezzo Katarina Karnéus has made all this repertoire very much her own...Joseph Middleton, often noted by Musical Pointers as a special musician, impressed throughout as her equal partner.
Musical Pointers

Recital with Sir Thomas Allen

Oxford Lieder Festival

Sir Thomas’s performance of this raw and direct depiction of young love [Schumann's Dichterliebe] was exactly tailored to the intimate Holywell ambience, with every note and gesture considered and made to count...Prizewinning young accompanist Joseph Middleton provided excellent, unshowy support throughout. Giles Woodforde, Oxford Times, 26 October 2011

Recital with Sir Thomas Allen

Toronto Summer Music Festival

Pure musical magic…Allen and pianist Joseph Middleton put together a recital of German Lieder from the 19th century as well as a selection of 20th century art songs. To call this a class act would be a huge understatement. It was a living, breathing, example of what it means to effectively communicate in song…Allen’s approach [to Dichterliebe] was to keep the emotions from frothing up too mightily, while Middleton’s liquid-velvet work at the piano maintained a discreet counterweight. John Terauds, Toronto Star

Recital with Wolfgang Holzmair

Westminster School

Joseph Middleton, who is already established as an outstanding accompanist of some distinction, showed his burgeoning reputation is fully deserved. He would seem to have a flawless technique and provided Wolfgang Holzmair with nuanced support that was alert to his veteran singer's every whim. Jim Pritchard, Musicweb International

Recital with Geraldine McGreevy

Pembroke College Chapel

Joseph Middleton is as classy a Lieder pianist as can be found anywhere in the world... McGreevy and Middleton's first half built inexorably to a magnificent climax with “Mignon: Kennst du das Land.” Goethe's headily ecstatic vision of a paradise in the south was powerful stuff indeed...the final selection of characterful and lively Chabrier songs again brought out the best of both performers’ musicianship, humour and stagecraft.


Sebastian Scotney, www.bachtrack.com

Recital with Andrew Kennedy

Belfast Festival at Queen's

Joseph Middleton was an outstanding accompanist throughout, providing musical and sensitive support with a formidable pianistic technique.

Belfast Telegraph, 26 October 2010

Recital with Sir Thomas Allen and Geraldine McGreevy

Barber Institute of Fine Arts

Their wonderfully supportive pianist Joseph Middleton, so sensitive and subtly shaded in the quieter numbers, dashed off the glittering Hexenlied (Witches’ Song) with virtuosic relish.
David Hart, Birmingham Post, 14 May 2010

Recital with Clara Mouriz

Wigmore Hall, London

The contribution of unassuming and beautifully phrased musicianship that Joseph Middleton brought to the accompanists role must impart confidence to a singer in no small measure … Exciting times are ahead for this talented musical partnership.
Musical Pointers, 5 July 2007

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Recordings

PURCELL : BRITTEN

Songs by Henry Purcell, Realised by Benjamin Britten

Ruby Hughes, soprano
Anna Grevelius, mezzo-soprano
Robin Blaze, countertenor
Allan Clayton, tenor
Benedict Nelson, baritone
Matthew Rose, bass
Joseph Middleton, piano


Champs Hill (2016)

Songs to the Moon

The Myrthen Ensemble - DEBUT CD

Mary Bevan, soprano
Clara Mouriz, mezzo-soprano
Allan Clayton, tenor
Marcus Farnsworth, baritone
Joseph Middleton, piano
Signum Records

Fleurs

Carolyn Sampson and Joseph Middleton 

*Gramophone Editor's Choice (May 2015)* 
*Disc of the Month - Radio France 
(May 2015)*
*Recital Award - Gramophone Awards (2015)*
BIS Records (2015)

Love said to me

Caroline MacPhie, soprano
Joseph Middleton, piano

Rising-star soprano Caroline MacPhie’s debut solo CD of songs inspired or written by women.
Stone Records

Tell Me The Truth About Love

Amanda Roocroft, soprano

Joseph Middleton, piano
Release: February 2013
Champs Hill Records: CHRCD040
Venue: Champs Hill, Sussex

"Joseph Middleton is everywhere a sensitive and imaginative accompanist to Amanda Roocroft, whose intimate, emotionally versatile singing is always engaging" BBC Music Magazine, September 2013

Champs Hill Records

Elgar in Sussex

This recording contains Elgar's beautiful Piano Quintet in A minor, Three Movements for Piano Trio and seven songs performed by Felicity Lott and Joseph Middleton, piano.

Recorded: November 2010
Release date: 26 September 2011
Venue: Champs Hill, Sussex
Champs Hill Records