We are delighted to announce our Winter/Spring 2021 series of live and exclusive symphonic concerts, performed from our home venue of Lighthouse, Poole, and simultaneously streamed to households across the UK. An exciting mix of concerts conducted by Kirill forms the backbone of the series and we are delighted to welcome back a host of guest artists including Sunwook Kim, Stephen Hough, Mark Wigglesworth and Sir John Eliot Gardiner.
Details of all concerts are listed below. Click on the titles to take you to each individual event page. CLICK HERE to download the pdf leaflet.
Each concert is streamed live from Lighthouse, Poole at the advertised date and time. Thereafter, the concert is available to watch on demand for 30 days after each original performance date.
Ravel, Couperin and R Strauss
Wednesday 6 January, 7.30pm
An evening of homage to composing predecessors. Perhaps one of Ravel’s most personal creations Le tombeau de Couperin is a memorial to the fallen in the First World War. Bursting with colour and inventiveness, he reimagines the clarity and rhythmic liveliness of its Baroque forebears. Couperin in turn depicts the elder composer’s elevation to Mount Parnassus whilst the elegant, witty and tender music of Lully himself, enlivened by Strauss’ colourful orchestration and counter-melodies, is central to his bold adaptation of Moliere’s famous comedy.
Power and Passion
Berlioz and Dvořák
Wednesday 13 January, 7.30pm
Not intended to open a performance of Shakespeare’s play, Berlioz’ “concert overture,” rather intended to suggest a link to a well-known literary or theatrical work in a single movement. The terms “tone poem” and “symphonic poem” had not yet been developed for this kind of orchestral work, so a number of composers simply applied “overture” as a designation. He simply wanted to write a score of powerful tragic character and, having done so, entitled it with the name of the greatest tragedy he had recently read. If it was Smetana who effectively created the Czech musical character, it was Dvořák who took it to the world. His Sixth Symphony, the first to be published (which is why for many years it was known as his First), sees Dvořák’s style fully formed, the thick scoring of his earlier symphonies now replaced by the colourful, translucent sound that characterised his mature output. Its allusions to the musical world of Brahms, Beethoven and Schubert only serve to highlight the confidence Dvořák had in his own voice, which is never swamped by his illustrious forbears.
Fauré and Beethoven
Wednesday 20 January, 7.30pm
An orchestral gem popular with concert audiences, Fauré’s suite is a symphonic masterpiece chosen from incidental music to Maurice Maeterlink’s symbolist drama. Whereas Mozart delighted, Beethoven confounded and his epic ‘Eroica’ proved to be the watershed between the Classical and Romantic periods. Although his earlier works had shown flashes of what was to come, the Third Symphony, by contrast, opens with two staggering chords that announce to the world the arrival of a new talent and a man never to be forgotten.
Wagner and Vaughan Williams
Wednesday 27 January, 7.30pm
Wagner’s musical drama Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg holds a unique place in his output. Among his stage works, it is the only one missing supernatural elements and the only one not a tragedy. Inspired by the real 16th century Master Singer’s Guild of Nuremberg, the story is a metaphor for Wagner’s own musical struggle. For all its warmth, melodic generosity and seeming spaciousness, Vaughan Williams’ Fifth Symphony is also an intricate, highly sophisticated work. The tonal ambiguity of its opening is ultimately resolved in radiant orchestral polyphony, recalling the spirit of the Elizabethan choral masters
Born in the USA
Copland, Mason Bates and Gershwin
Wednesday 3 February, 7.30pm
Copland took the title of his Fanfare from US Vice-President Henry Wallace who dubbed the 20th century “the century of the common man.” Comprising the simplest imaginable materials, Copland’s sense of timing in their deployment is masterful. Auditorium begins with the premise that an orchestra, like a person, can be possessed. Ghostly processed recordings of a baroque ensemble haunt it. Essentially it is a work for two orchestras – one in the present, one in the past. Realising that Porgy and Bess was too long, Gershwin cut down the score for its New York production and extracted a suite later entitled Catfish Row. It contains beloved passages such as “Summertime” and “Bess, You Is My Woman” as well as less familiar music.
More Voices from the East
Borodin, Nurymov and Rimsky-Korsakov
Wednesday 10 February, 7.30pm
Borodin’s score begins, “Out of the silence of Central Asia come the sounds of a peaceful Russian song. There are heard, too, the melancholy strains of Eastern melodies and the stamping of approaching horses and camels.” Evoking the spirit of his homeland, Turkmen composer Chary Nurymov’s highly charged mini symphony could almost be a film score to some epic battle. Rimsky-Korsakov’s masterful abilities for orchestral colour and tunefulness were already evident in his early three symphonies, and especially magical in the Second. Exotic folk tales, such as the legend of the Arab Antar, never ceased to fascinate him throughout his life.
Bruckner with Kirill
Mozart and Bruckner
Wednesday 17 February, 7.30pm
Mozart’s Fourth Horn Concerto is a winsome gallop through the Austrian countryside. It’s most famous for its rollicking third movement, a popular party piece for French horn players, but such vivid and varied ground is covered here that you’ll feel like you’ve been on a bracing hike. The designation Nullt, or No.0, for Bruckner’s early D minor Symphony has perhaps brought it a certain ridicule; the odd name comes from an inscription by the composer on the title page. It is an extremely attractive symphony – lighter and more accessible than the more frequently heard First and Second.
Hough plays Brahms
Schumann and Brahms
Wednesday 24 February, 7.30pm
Schumann’s overture to his tragic opera Genoveva sets the mood and foreshadows the story’s path from the brooding intensity of C minor to the ecstatic joy of C major, duplicating his hero Beethoven’s progression in the famed Fifth Symphony. The monumental First Piano Concerto occupied Brahms for at least five years. After beginning a two-piano sonata in 1854, he soon realised that the musical material required orchestral treatment and recast the opening as the first movement. Later adding the jaunty finale, followed by the radiant slow movement, adjustments were made up to and even beyond the first performances in 1859.
Schubert and Shostakovich
Wednesday 3 March, 7.30pm
Schubert’s concise Third Symphony, written in 1815 during an explosion of creativity which saw over 200 compositions written, nevertheless foreshadows ideas that would expand the scale of the symphony. Liadov’s brilliant and fantastical tone poem is one of the most beautiful atmospheric depictions of a lake, inhabited by fairies and wood sprites, in the moonlight. Shostakovich’s Ninth Symphony was written in a fateful year – 1945 – and subverted the expectations of the Russian musical world. Devoid of pompous grandeur; it is a transparent, classically-oriented work belying a complex emotional landscape riddled with Shostakovich’s irreverent sense of humour.
BSO Artist-in-Residence Recital
Schumann and Franck
Wednesday 10 March, 7.30pm
It was during a time of tormented courtship that Schumann’s compositions had become more experimental and complex. His Kreisleriana was a product of this fertile, fraught period. The music swings violently and suddenly between agitation and lyrical calm, dread and elation. Romances were one of Clara Schumann’s favourite compositional forms, which is perhaps why this particular work is so effective – the three contrasting movements bursting with character. Franck’s lone Sonata in A Major remains his best-known chamber work. From its expansive opening to the famous finale, the music flows with melodic fluency and effortless poise.
Sunwook plays Beethoven
Beethoven and Schumann
Wednesday 17 March, 7.30pm
In this most lyrical, poetic and fantastical of his concertos, Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto, one of his most daring keyboard works – ardent yet melancholy, heroic yet ethereal, anguished yet whimsical. There is a bucolic freeness to its opening, but it only takes a few minutes for it to explode into restless action. Schumann’s Fourth Symphony is a sinuous and structurally taught work. Its four thematically connected movements are played without pause, enhancing the poetic flow of the solemn grandeur of the music before reaching its volatile and explosive ending – and its threat of insurrection, violence, terror and madness.
Penderecki and Haydn
Wednesday 24 March, 7.30pm
Penderecki described his four-minute, brass Prelude as a distillation of his childhood memories from the period of German occupation and communist regime that came to dominate Poland after the war, leading to a sense of final liberation. Haydn “translated” the seven last short sentences uttered by Christ from the Cross (according to the gospels of Matthew, Luke and John) into a sequence of seven slow, prayerful, meditative sonatas, framed by an intense introduction and a short, explosive coda. It was commissioned in 1783 for the Good Friday service at the Oratorio de la Santa Cueva, Cádiz.