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Tagged with 'London Philharmonic Orchestra'

Work of the Week – Valentin Silvestrov: Symphony No 3

The London Philharmonic Orchestra celebrates Valentin Silvestrov’s 80th birthday with the UK premiere of his Symphony No. 3 (“Eschatophony”) at Royal Festival Hall on 27 September with conductor Vladimir Jurowski.

Silvestrov was 15 when he began teaching himself the craft of composition. While studying engineering in Kiev, he continued his musical education in the evenings, eventually winning the Koussevitzky Prize at the age of 30. However, he was expelled from the Composers’ Union of the USSR shortly after for embracing the “Kiev Avantgarde” movement.

During this period, Silvestrov experimented with significant contrasts in his compositions. Symphony No. 3 is one such example, featuring interactions between complex rhythms and free improvisation. It was this rejection of traditional forms and structures that led to his works being banned in his home country of Ukraine, though they achieved great success in Europe and America.

Symphony No. 3 by Valentin Silvestrov: Music from the beginning of a new world

The subtitle “Eschatophony” is a neologism fusing eschatology, the area of theology concerned death, judgment and the final destiny of the soul, and the Greek word for sound, phoné, to lend a musical connotation.
According to [Silvestrov], everything already exists – everything has already been written. In order to understand this you have to think of the Lord Almighty. Everything has been created before, all you have to do is to listen to it carefully and call it up again. Then another thing begins to vibrate. It’s always been there but now we can feel its vibration and understand it as music. – Sofia Gubaidulina on Silvestrov’s understanding of music

A new world is created in every performance of Symphony No. 3 as the score is peppered with instructions such as “chromatic cluster of indefinite size” or “atonal improvisation corresponding to the graphic model”. Improvised passages for the strings and percussion also occur in each of the three movements.

Further performances of Silvestrov’s works are planned around the world in honour of his 80th birthday on 30 September.  On 28 September Symphony No. 8 can be heard in the Sibelius Hall in Lahti, Finland played by the Lahti Symphony Orchestra and John Storgårds; on 30 September and 1 October at the Kulturpalast Dresden, Serenade and Elegy for string orchestra will be performed by the Dresden Philharmonic conducted by Kirill Karabatis; on 27 October, Adelphi Symphony Orchestra conducted by Christopher Lyndon-Gee will present Postludium at the Adelphi University Performing Arts Center in New York; on 4 November Symphony No 4 and Postludium can be heard in Tokyo played by the NCTS Orchestra and Dennis Russell Davies; and on 11 November, the Svetlanov Orchestra and Vladimir Jurowski will perform Dedication in Moscow.

His publishers Belaieff and Schott Music send Valentin Silvestrov their warmest congratulations on this occasion.

Work of the Week: Gerald Barry – Canada

Ludwig van Beethoven and Canada. What do those two have in common?

Gerald Barry’s new work for voice and orchestra, Canada, will have its world premiere at the Royal Albert Hall as part of the BBC Proms on 21 August.

Specially commissioned for the Proms, it will be performed by tenor Allan Clayton and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra conducted by Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla.

"Some time ago I was in Toronto airport returning to Dublin. When I got through security, Canada suddenly came into my head: a setting of the Fidelio Prisoners' Chorus for voice and orchestra." Gerald Barry

Gerald Barrys Canada – A tribute to Beethoven

The text, in English, French and German, includes the lines "Speak softly! We are watched with eyes and ears" from Beethoven’s politically charged and only opera, Fidelio. Barry holds Beethoven in high regard, considering him to be the greatest composer that ever lived. Many of his own works draw on the letters and works of Beethoven.  These include Schott and Sons, Mainz for bass solo and SATB choir which uses selected texts from Beethoven’s letters to his publisher and Beethoven for bass voice and ensemble which also features excerpts from Beethoven’s personal letters to his "Immortal Beloved".
“Canada, the name and country, is both everyday and strange to me - exotically normal.” Gerald Barry

Other new works for Barry this season include an Organ Concerto for organist Thomas Trotter commissioned jointly by Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra.

Beethoven would celebrate his 250. birthday in 2020. If you’re still looking for suitable musical programme, you’re invited to have a look at the recent Schott journal for inspiration.