Wednesday, September 24, 2008

New season ahoy

Barely are the Proms over when the big UK orchestras start their new seasons, and it seems more important than ever to set off with something of a bang. Few pieces are more 'bangy' than The Rite of Spring, and if you head for the Royal Festival Hall tonight, that's what you will hear from the LPO and Vladimir Jurowski. Popular stuff now, unlike 1913, but the rest of the programme is jolly intriguing. Ligeti Atmospheres; the premiere of a new violin concerto 'Mambo, Blues and Tarantella' by Mark-Anthony Turnage with Christian 'golden boy' Tetzlaff as soloist; and Symphony no.8 by Vaughan Williams (I'm promised it is short).

On Friday next week the BBC Symphony Orchestra launches at the Barbican with the Beethoven Missa Solemnis conducted by Belohlavek. The LSO has started already - they had a Rachmaninov festival over the weekend, which passed me by - and tonight at the same spot they do Mozart, Elgar and, er, more Vaughan Williams, with Sir Colin Davis. The Philharmonia is now on tour in the 'provinces' and can be heard tonight in Leicester with the splendidly hirsute Leif Segerstam wielding the baton, but in London they set off with a very big bang last night: a gala concert with Esa-Pekka Salonen and more Stravinsky, this time Oedipus Rex.

So Stravinsky and Vaughan Williams emerge as flavours of the month, which is an interesting combination since Stravinsky could probably have eaten Vaughan Williams for breakfast, given half a chance.

I am delighted to say that tonight in the RFH foyer the South Bank will be selling signed hardback copies of my novel Rites of Spring, to match said Stravinsky, in aid of the LPO Benevolent Fund.