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George Benjamin: A Duet and a Dream
Royal Festival Hall

George Benjamin: A Duet and a Dream

Date: 5 Mar
Time: 19:30
Sir George Benjamin, conductor

Pierre-Laurent Aimard, piano

OLIVER KNUSSEN Choral
MESSIAEN Le merle bleu from Catalogue d'oiseaux for solo piano
BENJAMIN Duet for piano and orchestra
--interval--
BENJAMIN Dream of the Song
JANÁCEK Sinfonietta

One of Britain's greatest living composers leads the Philharmonia Orchestra from the podium in an all-star performance to mark his 60th birthday.

In Dream of the Song, Benjamin looks to the vivid world of Andalusian poetry. He pairs Arabic-inspired medieval poems with those of Federico García Lorca, creating a subtle sound-world of gentle choir murmurs and orchestral colours backing the solo voice. In his words, 'The poetry I chose abounds in imagery of stars and moonlight, and I wanted to try to capture a silvery tone for the whole piece.'

Janácek's Sinfonietta completed the programme at the premiere of Dream of the Song in 2015 - the two works complement each other perfectly. Janácek spins the opening fanfare into new colours and melodies, exploring fascinating harmonies in 20 thrilling minutes of music. The piece ends in triumph when the fanfare returns in a glorious version for full orchestra.

In the first half, an atmospheric early work by Benjamin's friend Oliver Knussen sets the scene for Messiaen's interpretation of the song of the blue rock thrush, and Benjamin's intricate Duet for Piano and Orchestra. The Duet was written for tonight's soloist Pierre-Laurent Aimard, a revered performer of 20th- and 21st-century music.

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Royal Festival Hall

The Philharmonia Orchestra is a world-class symphony orchestra for the 21st century, led by Principal Conductor & Artistic Advisor Esa-Pekka Salonen.

The Orchestra's home is Southbank Centre's Royal Festival Hall, London, where it presents over 50 performances each year. Six other residencies across the UK bring the Philharmonia to a wide national audience. Internationally, the Philharmonia is active across Europe, Asia and the USA.

The Philharmonia was founded in 1945. It has been self-governing since 1964 and is owned by its 80 members. Salonen has been Principal Conductor since 2008, with Santtu-Matias Rouvali being appointed Principal Conductor Designate. Jakub Hrusa is their Principal Guest Conductor, and honorary conductor positions are held by Christoph von Dohnányi and Vladimir Ashkenazy.

www.philharmonia.co.uk/

This Event is at Royal Festival Hall

 Southbank Centre SE1 8XX Belvedere Road, London

Royal Festival Hall stands at the heart of Southbank Centre complex. Opened in 1951 as part of the Festival of Britain, the Hall is one of the world's leading performance venues. As well as the auditorium, the building consists of The Clore Ballroom, Southbank Centre Shop, several places to eat and drink, and the Saison Poetry Library.

www.southbankcentre.co.uk

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