Tuesday 22 October 2013

Pekka Kuusisto explains...

Have you see the programme for our Serenade concerts in November?  With no less than 12 works by nine different composers, there's a high chance that you'll be hearing some pieces of music for the first time.

The programme was jointly devised by Pekka Kuusisto and Britten Sinfonia and we thought it would be a good idea to ask Pekka about why and how the programme has taken shape.

In Pekka’s words the programme is a ‘voyage’ with Britten’s Serenade for Tenor, Horn and Strings at the journey’s end. For Pekka, the programme should unfold as one interconnected string:

‘Since I am completely addicted to the Serenade and Les Illuminations, not to mention the Nocturne, I wanted to build a programme that would feel like an extended version of the voyage those pieces take the listener on, and have the whole concert be like a preparation, an approach, to the Serenade. Like Britten himself wanting to have the Fantasia Upon One Note by Purcell performed at the premiere of his String Quartet No. 2… I wanted to have pieces that would, in a concert situation, feel like they are connected, or that our way of performing them has to feel like we are stretching ropes from one musical bell-tower to another, or chains between stars... and then we will dance. Yes! That's what this concert must be.’

The programme journeys through works by Nico Muhly, Bartok, Erkki Sven-Tuur, Nordheim, Berg, Arvo Part, George Crumb and a new piece by Judith Weir. Pekka has requested that the audience refrain from clapping until the interval and end of the concert, as the works are designed to segue from one to the next.

He hopes the performance will take audiences to new and unfamiliar places: ‘I think we could afford to have some more concerts that don't follow the most common patterns. At the moment it doesn't take more than a violinist performing without shoes to create a stir, and that says a lot. I don't want to outlaw average programming, that's not it, but there's just so much we should try as well.’

The concerts take place at Norwich Theatre Royal on Sunday 17 November, Cambridge's West Road Concert Hall  on Friday 22 November (part of Cambridge Music Festival) and London's Milton Court Concert Hall on Sunday 24 November (part of Barbican Britten).
You can find full details here.

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