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‘This programme reflects a personal journey: I am Belgian, I studied at the Royal Academy of Music in London, and now I live in France. I wanted to present composers from these three countries, taking as my cornerstone the English song repertory and the English language. It was Britten’s On this Island that started me thinking in this direction. William Walton’s Daphne and Ivor Gurney’s tiny but intensely fresh Spring touch me enormously and form a part of my life experience. Nicolas Krüger and I then chose other songs that we liked, such as Let Beauty awake by Ralph Vaughan Williams . . . I also wanted to give my listeners a chance to hear French or Belgian composers who set English poems to music: Darius Milhaud, Germaine Tailleferre (one of those female composers who deserves to be better known) and Irene Poldowski . . . and to commission a work from the Belgian composer Patrick Leterme, who has often accompanied me. . . But I discovered Queen before I discovered opera. When I heard Freddy Mercury singing You take my breath away at the piano in Hyde Park, I was overwhelmed. I had to include that love song in my recital!’ – Jodie Devos