Thursday 10 February 2011


Philharmonia Orchestra

Resident at Southbank Centre

Béla Bartók: Cantata Profana
Béla Bartók: Music for Strings, Percussion and Celeste
Igor Stravinsky: The Rite of Spring

This evening's programme pairs two of Bartók's most important works with one of the seminal musical icons of the 20th century. Cantata Profana is a choral work on a truly monumental scale, rarely performed due to the sheer scale of its vocal and orchestral writing. Based on a Romanian ballad sung at the time of the winter solstice, it tells the story of nine sons who are turned into stags when they cross a haunted bridge while out hunting. By contrast with this rich tapestry of choral sound the Music for Strings, Percussion and Celeste is sparse, eerie and other-worldly, using rhythmic power rather than melody to communicate its themes. The same rhythmic dominance, albeit a far more primal version, could also be said to characterise The Rite of Spring. Stravinsky's ballets had a major influence on Bartók's compositional style.

Royal Festival Hall at 6pm - pre-concert talk. Malcolm Gillies introduces the evening's programme. Admission free.


Philharmonia Orchestra
Esa-Pekka Salonen conductor
Attila Fekete tenor
Michele Kalmandi bass-baritone
Gulbenkian Choir

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