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RNCM - Royal Northern College of Music
124 Oxford Road, M13 9RD Manchester, United Kingdom
Olivier Messiaen Les Off randes oubliées
Bohuslav Martinů Rhapsody-Concerto H 337
Igor Stravinsky The Rite of Spring
Clark Rundell, Sergej Bolkhovets conductors
Alexander Mitchell viola
The next phase of French Connections explodes onto our Concert Hall stage in the shape of Stravinsky’s visceral masterpiece. The Rite of Spring had the most notorious première in the history of modern music. On 29 May 1913, the Théâtre de Champ-Elysées erupted as the work proved such a violent wrench from every musical tradition that had gone before it. With its many complex technical innovations, the level of dissonance moved the audience far away from its comfort zone – there were cat calls, fist-fights and screams of abuse so loud that the dancers were unable to hear the orchestra. One critic said: ‘the music always goes to the note next to the one you expect…’ The score can be seen as cubist, as musical materials slice into one another, interact and superimpose with the most brutal edges, thus challenging the musical perspective and logic that had dominated European ears for centuries.
This programme also features Messiaen’s religious triptych, written when the composer was just 22 years old and a recent graduate of the Paris Conservatoire. Although Debussy, Ravel and his teacher Paul Dukas did leave a lasting impression on the young Messiaen, he had a completely independent spirit and evolved as a new kind of French composer.
And the Paris connections continue into tonight’s remaining piece. During his first years in the city, Martinů incorporated many of the trends at the time, including jazz and surrealism, but he was particularly drawn to the angular, propulsive rhythms and sonorities of Stravinsky. His Rhapsody-Concerto was written in 1952, when he was fighting homesickness and depression, worsened by the political situation in his native Czechoslovakia.
To celebrate the launch of French Connections, we are offering everyone a special capped ticket price of just £5 for this concert.