Tuesday 26 February 2019

Beethoven and more: the Barbican's 2019/2020 season

Illustration of Beethoven made up of instruments and Barbican architectural features
Inevitably, Beethoven will be looming large in the concert schedules for 2019/20, and the Barbican's recently announced new season has plenty to enjoy on that score encompassing concerts, exhibitions and new responses to Beethoven's music. Away from Beethoven, the season also includes premieres from Joby Talbot, Emily Howard, Helen Grime, Detlev Glanert, Mark-Anthony Turnage, James MacMillan, Max Richter and Philip Glass.

The Beethoven 250 celebrations include the Beethoven Weekender, two full days in February devoted to Beethoven's music. There will be a complete symphony cycle from the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Northern Sinfonia and the Hall. There will also be an exhibition of artefacts from the Beethoven-Haus in Bonn. Later in theyear, Sir John Eliot Gardiner and the Orchestra Revolutionnaire et Romantique will perform another complete symphony cycle, whilst Andras Schiff performs all five piano concertos with the Budapest Festival Orchestra, and Anne-Sophie Mutter give us the complete violin sonatas. More rarefied fare includes Christ on the Mount of Olives from Simon Rattle and the London Symphony Orchestra, and the complete incidental music to Goethe's Egmont from the Academy of Ancient Music, performed alongside a recently discovered mass by Beethoven's contemporary Dussek.

The Academy of Ancient Music's season also continues revealing music by female composers of the past, including the sinfonia from Maria Grimani's oratorio Pallade e Marta. The orchestra will be joined by Benjamin Appl for Bach cantatas as part of a weekend devoted to Bach's music which includes harpsichordist Mahan Esfahani in The Musical Offering and Accademis Bizantina in The Art of Fugue.
The BBC Symphony Orchestra premieres Joby Talbot's new opera Everest based on a tragic climbing disaster in 1996, and Sakari Oramo conducts the orchestra in William Alwyn's Strindberg-based opera Miss Julie. The BBC's Total Immersion days include one for Detlev Glannert, including his Requiem for Hieronymous Bosch, and another date devoted to Anders Hillborg.

Emily Howard's Antisphere opens the LSO season; other contemporary composers in the orchestra's season include Sophya Polevaya, James Hoyle, Daniel Kidane and Amir Konjani. Helen Grime's new violin concerto receives its UK premiere from Leila Josefowicz, Dalia Stasevska and the BBC Symphony Orchestra, and Victoria Borisova-Ollas' new violin concerto is premiered by the BBC SO with soloist Baiba Skride.

The Britten Sinfonia and tenor Allan Clayton give the UK premiere of  Mark-Anthony Turnage's Refugee, and the orchestra is joined by The Sixteen for the London premiere of James MacMillan's Symphony No. 5 'Le grand inconnu'.

Max Richter's Voices will be premiered by an orchestra featuring 'radically reimagined instrumentation', and Third Coast Percussion will give the UK premiere of a new percussion piece by Philip Glass, along with UK premieres of music by Devonte Hynes and Gavin Bryars.

Full details from the Barbican website.

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