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Britten Sinfonia: Musical Everests

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Arcangelo Corelli Concerto Grosso No 2, Op 6
Michael Tippett Fantasia Concertante on a theme of Corelli
Elizabeth Maconchy Symphony for Double String Orchestra
Joseph Phibbs New work (world premiere)
William Walton Finale from Variations on an Elizabethan Theme

Britten Sinfonia reveals music written by British composers in 1953 which scaled dizzying artistic heights – perhaps their crowning achievements – and yet is rarely heard today.

70 years ago, in May 1953, the UK was breathlessly awaiting news of Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay’s attempt to scale Earth’s highest point and eagerly anticipating The Queen’s coronation.

Tippett’s wonderful fantasia transforms musical materials from the Corelli Concerto Grosso which precedes it, using the original theme as its points of departure and ultimate return. Elizabeth Maconchy’s Symphony is an underexposed masterpiece, influenced by Baroque counterpoint but compellingly written in a highly personal style. Walton’s finale goes back to music from the court of Elizabeth I, and in this coronation anniversary year, Britten Sinfonia also play a substantial new piece by Joseph Phibbs.

Important information

Duration: 2 hours 5 minutes

About Britten Sinfonia

In 1992, Britten Sinfonia was established as a bold reimagining of the conventional image of an orchestra. A flexible ensemble comprising the UK’s leading soloists and chamber musicians came together with a unique vision: to collapse the boundaries between old and new music, to collaborate with composers, conductors and guest artists across the arts, focussing on the musicians rather than following the vision of a principal conductor; and to create involving, intelligent music events that both audiences and performers experience with an unusual intensity.

The orchestra is named after Benjamin Britten, in part a homage to its chosen home of the East of England, where Britten’s roots were also strong. But Britten Sinfonia also embodies its namesake’s ethos. Its projects are illuminating and distinctive; characterised by their rich diversity of influences and artistic collaborators; and always underpinned by a commitment to uncompromising quality, whether the orchestra is performing in New York’s Lincoln Center or in Lincolnshire’s Crowland Abbey. Britten Sinfonia musicians are deeply rooted in the communities they work with, with an underlying philosophy of finding ways to reach even the most excluded individuals and groups.

About Joseph Phibbs

Joseph Phibbs was born in London, and studied at The Purcell School, King’s College London, and Cornell University. His teachers have included Param Vir, Sir Harrison Birtwistle, and Steven Stucky.

Described by BBC Music Magazine as “one of the most successful composers of his generation”, Phibbs’s works have been championed by some of the world’s leading conductors, including Edward Gardner, Gianandrea Noseda, Sakari Oramo, Vassily Petrenko, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Alexander Shelley, and Leonard Slatkin. Rivers to the Sea, the first of several large-scale orchestral works composed in recent years, was premiered to acclaim in 2012 by the Philharmonia Orchestra under Esa-Pekka Salonen, and has since received numerous performances in the UK and abroad, winning a British Composer Award in 2013.

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21 May

05:00 pm

£7.50 - £35.00

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