Thursday 15 May 2014

BBC Symphony Orchestra new season

Brett Dean
Brett Dean
The BBC Symphony Orchestra's 2014/15 season at the Barbican includes some very tempting offerings. There are three operas, Smetana's Dalibor, Bartok's Bluebeard and Unsuk Chin's Alice in Wonderland. Total Immersion covers John Tavener, Pierre Boulez and Percussion. Brett Dean is the featured composer, but there is also music by Kevin Volans, Thomas Larcher, Ryan Wigglesworth, Detlev Glanert, Christopher Rouse and Henze. Chief Conductor Sakari Oramo explores the symphonies of Nielsen, whilst Busoni's Piano Concerto and Bliss's Morning Heroes both get an outing.

Unsuk Chin
Unsuk Chin
Operatic offerings include the UK premiere (at long last) of Unsuk Chin's Alice in Wonderland. Conducted by Baldur Bronnimann, the work will receive a multi-media staging from Neita Jones and cast includes Rachaele Gilmore, Marie Arnet, Jane Henschel, Jenni Bank, Andrew Watts and Peter Tantsits (8/3/2015). Then Kirill Karabits conducts Michelle de Young and Gabor Bretz in Bartok's Duke Bluebeard's Castle, with music by Ravel and an new work from Swedish composer Albert Schnelzer, Tales from Suburbia (13/3/2015). The third operatic offering of the season is Smetana's Dalibor conducted by Jiri Belohlavek with a cast including Ivan Kusnjer, Pavel Cernoch, Ales Voracek, Dana Buresova and Alsbeta Polackova (2/5/2015)

Total Immersion on 5 October is dedicated to John Tavener with students from the Guildhall School, the BBC Singers, conductor James Morgan, and the BBC Symphony Orchestra, conductor Alexander Vedernikov, of his chamber music, choral music and orchestral music including the Akhmatova Requiem and The Protecting Veil plus film and discussions. Total Immersion on 31 January 2015 is Total Percussion! an exploration of contemporary percussion music with music by Ferneyhough, Reich, Kagel and Lachenmann, plus Wolfgang Rihm's Tutuguri for large orchestra, taped chorus and speaker, where Kent Nagano conducts the BBC Symphony Orchestra. The final Total Immersion of the season is devoted to the music of Pierre Boulez who will be 90, films and concerts will include Pli selon pli, Notations I-IV & VII, Eclat/Multiples and Cummings ist der Dichter (21/3/2015)

Brett Dean's The Annunciation is premiered on 19/11/2014 conducted by Josep Pons, his trumpet concerto Dramatis Personae is performed by Hakan Hardenberger conducted by Jukka-Pekka Saraste (5/12/2014) and Dean's The Last Days of Socrates receives its UK premiere with John Storgards conducting and John Tomlinson as soloist (13/2/2015)

Sakari Oramo is conducting a cycle of Nielsen symphonies. Symphony No. 1 on 11/10, Symphony no. 2 on 12/12 which is paired with Busoni's Piano Concerto with Garrick Ohlson as the soloist, Symphony no. 3 on 16/1/2015 with Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto no.3 with Yevgeny Sudbin, Symphony No. 4 on 18 February with Anne Sofie von Otter singing Zemlinsky's Maeterlinck Songs, Symphony No. 5 on 10/4/2015 and Symphony No. 6 on 23/5/2015 with John Foulds April -England.

Kevin Volans' The mountain that left opens the season on 24/9 with music by John Adams and Ives conducted by Andrew Litton.  Thomas Larcher's orchestral version of A Padmore Cycle (see my review of the original version) receives its premiere with Edward Gardner conducting and Mark Padmore as the soloist. The concert also includes John Adams Harmonium and Henze's Erlkonig orchestral fantashy on Goethe's poem and Schubert's Op.1 (1/11) Ryan Wigglesworth's new work is premiered in a concert which he conducts, paired with Strauss lieder sung by Sophie Bevan and Kagel Etudes (6/2/2015) Detlev Glaner's arrangement of songs from Mahler's Des Knaben Wunderhorn receives its UK premiere with Alexander Vedernikov conducting and Dietrich Henschel as the soloist accompanied by a film from Clara Pons (15/4/2015). Christopher Rouse's Prosero's Rooms inspired by Edgar Allan Poe and Leonid Andreyev gets its UK premiere conducted by Joshua Weilerstein, with Lutoslawski's Concerto for Orchestra.

James Gaffigan conducts and Kirill Gerstein is the soloist in a concert which puts together music by four remarkable contemporaries, Bernard Hermann, Schoenberg, Gershwin and Bartok. (12/11) Whilst Timothy Brock conducts an evening of Chaplin films with live film scores by Brock, Neil Brand and Chaplin himself.

In an intriguing pairing, James O'Donnell conducts the BBC Singers in motets by Bach and Bruckner, then Semyon Bychkov conducts Bruckner's Symphony No. 8 (28/2/2015). Andrew Davies conducts Arthur Bliss's wonderful Morning Heroes, his response to the First World War, which is paired with Berlioz's Le more de Cleopatre sung by Sarah Connolly (15/5/2015).

The BBC Singers are giving four early evening concerts celebrating their 90th birthday (24/9), English and Spanish Renaissance polyphony devoted to the Virgin Mary (19/11), Bach and Leipzig (28/2/2015) and Music from Poland (24/4/2015)
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