Thursday 9 November 2017

Tamsin Waley-Cohen & Ben Gernon premiere Richard Blackford's Niobe in Prague

Niobe Mourning Her Children - Abraham Bloemaert (1566-1651)
Niobe Mourning Her Children - Abraham Bloemaert (1566-1651)
Violinist Tamsin Waley-Cohen will be giving the premiere of Richard Blackford's violin concerto Niobe with the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, conductor Ben Gernon at the Rudolfinum in Prague on Saturday 11 November 2017. Blackford’s score was inspired by the story of Niobe, recounted by Homer in the Iliad. (See the orchestra's website for further details of the concert).

Niobe, who has seven daughters and seven sons, mocks Leto, goddess of motherhood yet mother of only two children, Apollo and Artemis. In revenge, Apollo murders Niobe’s sons, while Artemis kills her daughters and her husband, Amphion, king of Thebes, commits suicide. Niobe in grief turns to Zeus for help, who takes pity and turns Niobe to stone; she continues to weep, however, for eternity, her tears flowing as a stream from the rock.

Comments Waley-Cohen, 'The Greeks saw Niobe as a warning against hubris, but what happened to her can also be interpreted today as a tale about the overly severe punishment of women judged to have stepped out of line. Her punishment seems so brutal, as does the punishment that many women face today around the world. Richard’s concerto is an incredibly powerful piece and a story that is so relevant to women’s issues today.'

Waley-Cohen, Genon and the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra will be recording the concerto for Signum Classics.

Waley-Cohen has a busy weekend as she is performing at the Wigmore Hall on Sunday 12 November with pianist Huw Watkins, in Beethoven, Brahms, Janáček and Ravel.

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