Tuesday, 6 January 2015

From Peri to Percussion, by way of the The Dansant - January at the Barbican

Paradise and the Peri
January at the Barbican Centre continues with a welcome appearance from the London Schools Symphony Orchestra which is conducted by Edward Gardner in Rachmaninov, Dvorak and Grieg's Piano Concerto with the young Swiss pianist Louis Schwizgetel (11/1/2015).

Simon Rattle conducts the London Symphony Orchestra in a pair of contrasting concerts. First Schumann's oratorio Das Paradies und Die Peri, which was written in 1843 and based on stories from Persian mythology (For those that know Sylvia Townsend Warner's The Kingdoms of Elfin, she had a rather different take on the story), with a strong cast including Sally Matthews, Mark Padmore, Kate Royal, Bernada Fink, Andrew Staples and Florian Boesch (11/1/2015). Then on 15 January, Rattle conducts Stravinsky's Rite of Spring in a programme which includes Webern's Six Pieces, Berg's Three Fragments from Wozzeck and Ligeti's Mysteries of the Macabre which consists of three arias from Ligeti's opera Le Grand Macabre sung by Barbara Hannigan (15/1/2015).

Sarah Connolly joins the Britten Sinfonia, directed by violinist Jacqueline Shave, for Aaron Copland's Eight Poems of Emily Dickinson which paired with Copland's Appalachian Spring, the Andante for Strings by Ruth Copland Seeger (1901 - 1953), whose career encompassed both being a modernist composer and American Folk Music Specialist, and Richard Bennett's A History of the The Dansant. Richard Rodney Bennett's song cycle dates from 1994 and sets of poems by his sister MR Peacock which were suggested by the discovery of snapshots of their parents on holiday in the South of France with Roger Quilter (20/1/2015)

Pianist Benjamin Grosvenor presents a challenging programme mixing Rameau, Chopin, Franck and Granados with the Bach-Busoni Chaconne in D minor (23/1).

The musical month finishes with one of the BBC Symphony Orchestra's Total Immersion days, this time devoted to Percussion! The music on offer includes Steve Reich, Brian Ferneyhough, Kagel, Helmut Lachenmann, with performers including the Guildhall Percussion Ensemble. The evening concert is the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Kent Nagano in Wolfgang Rihm's 1980-82 Tutuguri which is described as a poem danse/ballet for large orchestra, choir on tape and speaker using texts by Antonin Artaud. It features timpani plus seven percussion players including four in the auditorium.

January also sees the conclusion of the Royal Shakespeare Company's performances of Shakespeare's Henry IV Parts 1 and 2 with Anthony Sher as Falstaff, directed by Sher's partner the RSC's Artistic Director Gregory Doran. The theatrical month finishes with the London International Mime Festival presenting artists from around the world.

In the cinema there is the chance to catch The Merry Widow and Tales of Hoffmann from the Met in New York, Jonas Kaufman as Andrea Chenier from Covent Garden and Treasure Island from the National Theatre.

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