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20th century classics: Ligeti and Schoenberg

 06 October 2013 at 7.30pm 

20th century classics: Ligeti and Schoenberg

CBSO Centre
Berkley Street. B1 2LF
United Kingdom


Cond. Oliver Knussen

Ligeti, a composer whose music has infiltrated popular consciousness thanks to Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, remained a maverick throughout his career, consistently challenging the received wisdoms and ideologies of the composing avant-garde. His four-movement Chamber Concerto is considered one of his greatest works. Each movement strongly contrasts in character – from the shimmering ‘micro-polyphonic’ texture of the first, to the strongly mechanical, clockwork rhythms of the third.

Arnold Schoenberg’s Chamber Symphony Op. 9 was a model for Ligeti’s Chamber Concerto (in instrumentation if not textures or forms). His later masterpiece Five Pieces for Orchestra, here given in its arrangement for ensemble, serves as a superb example that atonal music can be as moving and expressive as tonal music – from terror, anxiety and chaos to wistfulness and beauty.

Completing this exhilarating programme are two pieces by composers with connections to these two greats and a recent work by one of today’s most promising young British composers.

Alexander Goehr, whose father studied under Schoenberg in the 1920s, composed his impeccably crafted Suite for flute and harp with string trio, clarinet and horn at the behest of Benjamin Britten. Castiglioni, like his friend and champion Ligeti, was an ‘outsider’ from the mainstream European avant-garde – Tropi is characterised by the interchange of loud, virtuosic passages with ones of mute sparseness. Helen Grime’s Luna, premiered by the Scottish Red Note Ensemble in 2011, takes its inspiration from the Ted Hughes poem Harvest Moon.

Niccolò Castiglioni : Tropi
Arnold Schoenberg : Five Pieces for Orchestra (ensemble version)
Helen Grime : Luna
Alexander Goehr : Suite Op.11
Gyorgy Ligeti : Chamber Concerto

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