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Tagged with 'Huw Watkins'

Work of the Week – Huw Watkins: Horn Concerto

The horn is rarely heard alone in the orchestra and usually in the background: It sits in pairs or in the quartet at the back left. But in a solo concerto such as the new Horn Concerto by Huw Watkins, it makes its grand entrance. At the world premiere on 7 April 2024 in Saffron Walden, England, Ben Goldscheider will be the soloist in front of the orchestra. He will be accompanied by the Britten Sinfonia under the direction of Michael Papadopoulos.

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Work of the Week - Huw Watkins: The Moon

On 8 August 2019, BBC National Orchestra and Chorus of Wales conducted by Tadaaki Otaka will give the world premiere of Huw Watkins’ new work The Moon at the BBC Proms. The work, which has been inspired by the fiftieth anniversary of the moon landing on 20 July 1969, is the result of a major BBC Radio 3 commission for chorus and orchestra that will be further augmented by the Royal Albert Hall’s organ.

The piece tries to capture our experience of viewing the moon from Earth, and is also somehow about looking back at us here on Earth from above. – Huw Watkins

Rather than dealing with the moon landing directly, Watkins’ new work instead explores the collective experience of wonder, and sometimes unease, associated with the moon and space. The Moon is composed in a single movement spanning twenty minutes during which listeners are guiding through their journey by settings of poetry by Percy B. Shelley, Philip Larkin and Walt Whitman.

Huw Watkins: The Moon - Inspired by the moon landing

The Moon is Watkins’ third work composed for BBC NOW as Composer in Association with the orchestra. During his tenure, the orchestra has given performances of many of his existing orchestral and chamber works, as well as premiered the Cello Concerto (2016), written for his brother Paul Watkins and first performed at the BBC Proms under Thomas Søndergård, and Spring (2017) for orchestra.



Photo: © B Ealovega

Work of the Week – Arnold Schoenberg: A Survivor from Warsaw

This year's BBC Proms will include a performance of Arnold Schoenberg’s A Survivor from Warsaw (1947) on 8 August. Simon Russell Beale will narrate, with Esa-Pekka Salonen conducting the Philharmonia Orchestra and Philharmonia Voices.

In 1933, Schoenberg, the son of a Jewish merchant, fled the Nazi party’s rise to power and emigrated to the USA. The Nazi dictatorship and subsequent Holocaust clearly impacted Schoenberg deeply, driving and intensifying the representation of human suffering and torment in his compositions, as evident in A Survivor from Warsaw .

A Survivor from Warsaw - A groundbreaking exploration of twelve-tone technique

In just 8 minutes, Schoenberg expresses musically the suffering and persecution of an entire population. The cantata text, written by Schoenberg himself, portrays a scene in the Warsaw Ghetto to illustrate experiencing the Nazi reign of terror. The cantata is in three different languages: The narrator speaks English, but quotes the commanding shouts of a soldier in German, and finally in a devastating emotional climax to the work, the narrator cries out in Hebrew ‘Shema Yisroel’, a Jewish declaration of faith.
Now, what the text of the Survivor means to me: it means at first a warning never to forget what has been done to us, never to forget that even people who did not do it themselves, agreed and found it necessary to treat us this way. We should never forget this, even if such things have not been done in the manner in which I describe in the ‘Survivor’. This does not matter. The main thing is that I saw it in my imagination. – Arnold Schönberg

Other Schott works at the BBC Proms include Henri Dutilleux’s The Shadows of Time (1997) on 8 August in the same programme as A Survivor from Warsaw, Sir Charles his Pavan (1992) by the late Sir Peter Maxwell Davies performed by Juanjo Mena and the BBC Philharmonic on 9 August and a new Cello Concerto by Huw Watkins will receive its world premiere with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales conducted by Thomas Søndergård and with the composer’s brother Paul Watkins as soloist on 12 August.