Thursday 31 January 2013

Barbican 2013/14 classical season

Sir Michael Tippett credit Jane Bown
The Barbican Centre's 2013/14 classical season is full of some amazing goodies. I have already covered the baroque opera and oratorio, the Britten 100 season and the Academy of Ancient Music's residency in previous posts. Other highlights include celebrations of Harrison Birtwistle's 80th birthday with concerts including Gawain and Yan Tan Tethera. Valery Gergiev is doing a Berlioz cycle with the LSO including La Damnation de Faust and Romeo et Juliette. The new BBC Symphony Orchestra chief conductor Sakari Oromi has his first season in charge with some giants of the symphonic repertoire, and the BBC SO are also celebrating Michael Tippett's symphonies and concertos.

Next year Harrison Birtwistle is 80, and the Barbican iscelebrating in fine style with a series of concerts. Top of my list is the performance of Gawain on 16 May 2014, semi-staged with Martyn Brabbins conducting the BBC Symphony Orchestra and the ever amazing John Tomlinson re-visiting the role of the Green Knight some 20 years after the first performance. The Britten Sinfonia under Baldur Bronniman will be doing a semi-staged performance of Yan Tan Tethera (29 May 2014). There are concerts in the more intimate surroundings of the new Milton Court Concert Hall, Oliver Knussen will be conducting the Birmingham Early Music Group and Baldur Bronniman the Britten Sinfonia, in a programme which includes Birtwistle's Fields of Sorrow alongside music by Holst and Vaughan Williams, including Flos Campi; should be highly illuminating as Birtwistle uses the same text for Fields of Sorrow as Holst does for a piece of the same name which is also in the programme. Further information from the Barbican mini-site.

Valery Gergiev is doing a series of Berlioz concerts with the London Symphony Orchestra with performances of Les Nuits d'Ete, Symphonie Fantastique, Harold in Italie (with Antoine Tamestit on viola), La Damnation de Faust (with Olga Borodina as Marguerite and Ildar Abdrazakov as Mephistopheles)  and Romeo et Juliette (also with Borodina and Abdrazakov), dates for all these are in November 2013. Having had a previous musical director, Colin Davis, who made a speciality of Berlioz it will be interesting to hear Gergiev's presumably very different take on the music. Further information from the   Barbican mini-site.

In the more mainstream symphonic repertoire, visitors include Riccardo Chailly and the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra performing a complete cycle of Brahms symphonies and concertos, Mariss Janssons and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra perform three Bruckner symphonies (nos 4, 7 and 9 ) plus Haydn's Cello Concerto, Mozart's |Violin Concerto in G major and Beethoven's Piano Concerto No. 3. Further information from the Barbican mini-site.

Over at the BBC Symphony Orchestra, their new chief conductor Sakari Oromo takes up his baton with a season which includes Mahler's First Symphony, Beethoven's Third Symphony, Shostakovich's Fifth Symphony, Elgar's Enigma Variations and Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra plus music by Schumann, Shostakovich, Sibelius, Debussy, Honegger, Dukas and new work from Tristran Murail, David Matthews with a UK premiere of violin concertos by Pascal Dusapin, Bright Sheng and Esa-Pekka Salonen. Further information from the Barbican mini-site

The remainder of the BBC Symphony Orchestra season at the Barbican concentrates on the music of Michael Tippett, hurrah! Mark Wrigglesworth kicks things off with the Leopold Trio in Tippett's glorious late Triple Concerto on 19 October 2013, paired with Henk de Vlieger's Wagner arrangement, The Ring - an Orchestral Adventure. Then on 1 March 2014, Beethoven's Triple Concerto (itself a relatively rare visitor to the concert hall) is performed by three BBC Radio 3 new Generation Artists, Alexandra Soumm, Nicolas Altstaedt and Igor Levitt with David Robertson conducting. Susan Bullock is the soprano soloist in Tippett's Third Symphony, a work in which the composer confronts Beethoven's Ninth Symphony.

Another Tippett favourite of mine, the Midsummer Marriage inspired Piano Concerto is performed by Steven Osborne with Alexander Vedernikov conducting on 22 March 2014, paired with John Adams The Chairman Dances and Shostakovich's Eighth Symphony. Tippett's astonishing final symphony, the fourth, is conducted by Andrew Davis on 12 April 2014, with Stephen Hough playing Brahms' First Piano Concerto and a new work for strings by Jonathan Lloyd  (the Royal Philharmonic Society Elgar Bursary Commission). 

Martyn Brabbins conducts Tippett's  Second Symphony, another work inspired by Beethoven,  on 17 Marh 2014, with Beethoven's Violin Concerto played by Nicola Benedetti and the London premiere of a new work by Mark Simpson. Finally on 17 May 2014, James Gaffigan conducts Tippett's First Symphony and Stephen Hough returns for Brahms's Second Piano Concerto and there is a new work for winds from Jonathan Lloyd. Further information from the BBC Symphony Orchestra mini-site.

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