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Living Music - London Symphony Orchestra - Home Symphony Orchestra Living Music London’s Symphony Orchestra Thursday 8 December 2016 7.30pm Barbican Hall JOHN ADAMS AT 70 Bartók

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  • London Symphony OrchestraLiving Music

    Londons Symphony Orchestra

    Thursday 8 December 2016 7.30pm Barbican Hall

    JOHN ADAMS AT 70

    Bartk Hungarian Sketches Stravinsky Orpheus INTERVAL John Adams Scheherazade.2

    John Adams conductor Leila Josefowicz violin

    Concert finishes approx 9.40pm

  • 2 Welcome 8 December 2016

    Welcome Kathryn McDowell

    Living Music In Brief

    A very warm welcome to this LSO concert at the Barbican, the second of two programmes celebrating John Adams 70th birthday. After a long history of working with the LSO, we are delighted that he joins us this evening to celebrate this milestone, conducting three works that show the power of storytelling through music.

    The first half of the concert explores two evocative pieces by Bartk and Stravinsky, composers who have greatly influenced the work of John Adams. The first, Hungarian Sketches, narrates Hungarian folk traditions, while Stravinskys ballet is a haunting interpretation of the Ancient Greek legend.

    John Adams will also be conducting one of his own works this evening, his dramatic symphony Scheherazade.2, a reimagining of the tale of the legendary heroine of One Thousand and One Nights. The LSO was fortunate to give the UK premiere of this work in October 2015, and it is a great pleasure to welcome back violinist Leila Josefowicz, for whom this piece was composed, to perform the work again. Both John Adams and Leila Josefowicz will also join the Orchestra in taking tonights programme on tour to Paris and Dijon later this week.

    I hope you enjoy tonights performance and that you can join the LSO at the Barbican again soon. On Wednesday 14 December violinist James Ehnes returns to perform Shostakovichs First Violin Concerto alongside conductor Fabien Gabel.

    Kathryn McDowell CBE DL Managing Director

    CHRISTMAS OFFERS FROM LSO LIVE

    Take the LSO home with you this Christmas with LSO Lives specially curated box sets and bundles. Spend 35 or more to receive a 5% discount, 50 or more for 10% discount, or 75 or more for 15% discount, plus free shipping on orders over 30.

    lsolive.lso.co.uk

    LORD MAYORS APPEAL

    We are delighted that the new Lord Mayor of the City of London, Alderman Dr Andrew Parmley, has chosen LSO Discovery, our education and community programme, as the main beneficiary of his charitable appeal for 2017. The appeal will support inspirational projects such as an open access choral programme, creative workshops for young people in special schools and hospitals, and guided orchestral concerts for school pupils at all levels.

    thelordmayorsappeal.org

    SOUND UNBOUND 2017: THE BARBICAN CLASSICAL WEEKENDER

    Early-bird passes are now available for Sound Unbound 2017, the Barbicans Classical Weekender, which takes place on 29 and 30 April 2017. With 60 short sessions featuring everything from symphony orchestras to solo concerts, the Festival showcases the infinite variety of music, including film scores by John Williams performed by the LSO, cutting-edge new commissions, and performances by world-class soloists.

    barbican.org.uk/soundunbound

  • Sat 14 & Sun 15 Jan 2017 Barbican Hall

    Sir Simon Rattle conductor Peter Sellars director

    London Symphony Chorus Simon Halsey chorus director

    A SEMI-STAGED PERFORMANCE produced by the LSO and Barbican

    Part of LSO 2016/17 Season and Barbican Presents

    Ligetis

    Death walks into an opera, a fat prince falls off his horse

    and the end of the world is passed over in a drunken haze

    London Symphony Orchestra

    Le grand

  • PROGRAMME NOTE WRITER

    JAN SMACZNY is the Sir Hamilton

    Harty Professor of Music at Queens

    University, Belfast. A well-known

    writer and broadcaster, he specialises

    in the life and works of Dvork and

    Czech opera, and has published

    books on the repertoire of the

    Prague Provisional Theatre and

    Dvorks Cello Concerto.

    4 Programme Notes 8 December 2016

    Bla Bartk (18811945) Hungarian Sketches (1931)

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    5

    The alternation of slow and fast tempos in An Evening with the Szklers has each section led by a wind instrument; its affecting simplicity provides an effective curtain-raiser to the five movements and sets off the gruff vigour of the Bear Dance ideally. The Air manages to strike a fine balance between reflective and questing moods before an exquisitely gentle conclusion. With irregular rhythms and moments of sentimentality from the strings, A Bit Tipsy conveys superbly a sense of near inebriation. By way of a finale, the Dance of the Urog Swineherds, in which a solo clarinet takes the melody over excitable rhythms in the strings, develops an exhilarating sense of impetus before a slightly quizzical close.

    AN EVENING WITH THE SZKLERS (ESTE A SZKELYEKNL)

    BEAR DANCE (MEDVETNC)

    AIR (MLODIA)

    A BIT TIPSY (KICSIT ZOTTAN)

    DANCE OF THE UROG SWINEHERDS (RGI KANSZTNC)

    The strains of folk-song flow strongly through western art music in many eras, though never more powerfully than in the early 20th century. Jancek and Vaughan Williams, both avid collectors of folk-song, willingly incorporated their findings into many of their compositions. Bartk, however, transcended both. Much encouraged by his exact contemporary Zoltn Kodly, he discovered an enthusiasm for Hungarian folk-song early in the 20th century which led in short order to arrangements of melodies and, by 1907, serious collecting trips first in Slovakia, Transylvania and further east in Europe, and in 1913, North Africa.

    Even before 1910, folk-song was well integrated into Bartks developing compositional style and permeates the piano collections he wrote between 1908 and 1911. While Bartk developed a modernist and more abrasive style during the 1910s and into the 1920s, there was no real sense of incongruity, and when returning to these much earlier piano pieces in 1931 he made arrangements of five of them for orchestra entitled Hungarian Sketches. The first two (No 1 is often translated as An Evening in the Village) were from the Ten Easy Pieces of 1908; the Air is taken from the Four Dirges; and A Bit Tipsy is from Three Burlesques. The more overtly folk-derived Dance of the Urog Swineherds is from the large For Children collection.

    LSO LIVE NEW RELEASE BARTK, STRAVINSKY AND PROKOFIEV

    Stravinsky The FirebirdBartk Piano Concerto No 3 Bartk The Miraculous MandarinProkofiev Romeo and Juliet Suite

    Valery Gergiev conductorYefim Bronfman piano

    An outstanding performance Gergiev, hands constantly aflutter, brought even the most insignificant transition passages to vivid life. The Guardian

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    ZOLTN KODLY (18821967)

    was a Hungarian composer, linguist

    and philosopher. Kodly also took

    a keen interest in education, and

    is known for creating the Kodly

    method, a system of music

    education for children that sought

    to develop musicality at an early

    age, with exercises that focused

    on listening, singing and movement

    before studying musical notation.

    Kodly met Bartk around the time

    the former had started to collect

    folk songs in 1905, and the two

    men were lifelong friends and

    champions of each others music.

  • PROGRAMME NOTE WRITER

    WENDY THOMPSON studied at

    the Royal College of Music, before

    taking an MMus in musicology at

    Kings College, London. In addition

    to writing about music she is

    Executive Director of Classic Arts

    Productions, a major supplier of

    programmes to BBC Radio.

    lso.co.uk Programme Notes 5

    Igor Stravinsky (18821971) Orpheus (1947)

    1

    2

    3

    4

    1

    2

    3

    4

    5

    6

    7

    8

    1

    lover, a harp representing his lyre, over a chorale-like theme played by strings. Orpheus friends (represented by woodwind) arrive to offer condolences, and the Angel of Death, represented by a solo violin, appears (Air de danse). The Angel takes Orpheus to Hades to seek his dead wife; during an atmospheric Interlude, they appear in the gloom of the Underworld, their arrival heralded by trumpet calls.

    Scene Two introduces the Furies, who dance agitatedly, while making veiled threats towards the intruder. Stravinsky himself said that the music for the Furies is soft, and constantly remains on the soft level, like most of the rest of this ballet. Then comes a slow Air de danse, as Orpheus employs his lyre to move the gods of the Underworld to pity. As he dances, the tormented souls in Hades stretch out their arms to him, imploring him to continue his heart-melting song (Interlude: Listesso tempo). He continues his Air de danse, and Hades calms down. The Furies surround Orpheus, bind his eyes, and return Euridice to him (Pas daction: Andante sostenuto). The newly reunited pair dance a Pas de deux, but Orpheus can no longer bear not to see his wife. He tears the bandage from his eyes, and Euridice falls dead once more (plucked strings). In a third Interlude, Orpheus returns to Earth, and in a violent and dramatic Pas daction, he meets his end at the hands of the Bacchantes, who tear him to pieces.

    A dignified calm returns in Orpheus apotheosis. In the ancient legend, his severed head continued its song, and now the harp resumes its first theme, accompanied by a subdued dirge for two horns, solo violin and muted trumpet. In Stravinskys words, Apollo enters. He wrests the lyre from Orpheus and raises his song heavenwards.

    INTERVAL 20 minutes

    SCENE 1

    LENTO SOSTENUTO

    AIR DE DANSE: ANDANTE CON MOTO

    DAN