Saturday 29 March 2014

April at the Barbican

Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra
April at the Barbican includes the English National Ballet commemorating the First World War, a residency from the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Andrew Davis conducting two of Elgar's great oratorios, the BBC Singers in 20th century German masterworks and the Britten Sinfonia in a Bach passion.

The Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra from Amsterdam has a three day residency (3-5 April 2012) with Mariss Jansons conducting them in Bruckner Symphonies nos.4, 7 and 9. Players from the orchestra will also be giving masterclasses at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

Andrew Davis conducts the BBC Symphony Orchestra and BBC Symphony Chorus in Elgar's The Dream of Gerontius. The work is a tight fit on the Barbican Hall platform, and the music can almost burst the auditorium, but Davis has a superb dramatic cast with Stuart Skelton, Sarah Connolly and Brindley Sherratt(6/4). Davis also conducts another of Elgar's great oratorios, The Apostles again with a superb cast, Sarah Connolly, Nicole Cabell, Paul Groves, Brindley Sherratt, Gerald Finley and Jacques Imbrailo. There is also an afternoon workshop in singers are invited to join the BBC Symphony Chorus and BBC Singers in singing excerpts from Elgar's oratorios. (12/4)

The BBC Singers and David Hill perform two 20th century masterworks for unaccompanied choir, Schoenberg's Friede auf Erden and Richard Strauss's outrageous Deutsche Motette, alongside sacred songs by Brahms, Reger, Schumann, Rheinberger and Wolf to provide a lovely overview of a particular German genre (7/4). Britten Sinfonia Voices joins the Britten Sinfonia directed from the violin by Jacqueline Shave in Bach's St. John Passion which will be performed on Good Friday, with Nicholas Mulroy as the Evangelist and soloists Julia Doyle, Iestyn Davies, Jeremy Budd and Eamonn Dougan.

The Hertfordshire Chorus, conductor David Temple, premieres James McCarthy's Codebreaker about the mathematician Alan Turing, which weaves Turing's own words with famous poets. Whilst Turing is famous for his work on the code breaking Enigma machines, his work has its abstruse qualities. But the difficult nature of his death, committing suicide after being convicted for homosexual acts, makes him a fascinatingly tragic figure. It will be interesting to see how McCarthy copes with this in music. (26/4)

Valery Gergiev is conducting the London Symphony Orchestra in a pair of concerts featuring Scriabin's symphonies nos. 2, 3 (The Divine Poem) and 5 (Prometheus, Poem of Fire) (10,13/4). Whilst the Scriabin is relatively unusual repertoire, and highly welcome indeed, the LSO is also performing in a rather more eclectic concert. Curated by conductor Kristjan Jarvi, the concert pairs music by Arvo Part (Fratres and Symphony No. 3) with works by the Tunisian vocalist and oud player Dhafer Yousseff and Yousseff will be performing at the concert. How do you make such a pairing, I can't help wondering how such details as different scales and tuning systems will be coped with?(24/4)

The Arditti Quartet is celebrating is 40th birthday. Amazing! They have a day of concerts 40 years Young with works by some of the luminaries of the 20th and 21st centuries, Jonathan Harvey, Elliott Carter, Gyorgy Kurtag, Helmut Lachenmann, Hector Parra, Georg Friedrich Haas, Gyorgy Ligeti, Wolfgang Rihm, Toshio Hosokawa, Brian Ferneyhough, Pascal Dusapin and Iannis Xenakis, with new works from Brice Pauset, James Clarke, Nilda Paredes and Harrison Birtwistle. (26/4)

Snapshot Songs brings together a community choir, the London Schools Symphony Orchestra, DrumHeads, composer Stuart Hancock and associate artists Liv Bradbury as the culmination of a project to create a new song-cycle celebrating London's zeitgeist, at Milton Court (13,14/4). The London Schools Symphony Orchestra also has a concert in its own right, performing Dukas and Ravel, with Tom Poster the soloist in Ravel's piano concerto and also L'enfant et les sortileges with students from the Guildhall School.

In the Barbican Theatre, the English National Ballet has a programme of new dance commissions to mark the 100th anniversary of the First World War with choreography by Akram Khan, Russell Maliphant, Liam Scarlett and George Williamson. (2-12/4)

Further information from the Barbican website.
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