Impressive classical program at Brighton Festival – and how to get your tickets
Andrew Comben, Managing Director of the Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival, said: “Top international artists including the London Symphony Orchestra, La Nuova Musica & Iestyn Davies and the Philharmonia Orchestra will perform works by Tchaikovsky, Florence Price, Handel and Kaija Saariaho to mark a welcome return to classic large-scale events at this year’s Brighton Festival.
“In a decidedly poignant yet hopeful program echoing this year’s Festival theme, Rebuilding, established and emerging artists will present familiar and lesser-known works to first-capacity audiences since 2019.
“As part of her UK debut, Marta Gardolińska will conduct the London Symphony Orchestra in D’un matin du Printemps by Lili Boulanger; the Flute Concerto by Marc-André Dalbavie; Symphony No. 4 in F minor Op.36 by Tchaikovsky and Prayer for Ukraine by Silvestrov. Alongside the luminous optimism of the young Boulanger against the raw passion of Tchaikovsky’s semi-autobiographical symphony, Gareth Davies, principal flute of the LSO, will highlight the brilliance and audacity of Dalbavie’s 21st century classic. Gardolińska and the LSO will also contextualize the incomparable 19th-century Russian Tchaikovsky with the spellbinding work of 21st-century Ukrainian Silvestrov, marking the horror of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“La Nuova Musica teams up with Iestyn Davies, arguably ‘the best countertenor in the world’, to explore exceptional arias from Handel’s operas in the critically acclaimed Handel’s Unsung Heroes. Under the direction of conductor David Bates, Davies and the LNM soloists – violinist Thomas Gould, oboist Katharina Spreckelsen and bassoonist Inga Maria Klaucke – perform a selection of arias oblige highlighting how important Handel’s compositions were. as virtuosic and lyrical for his instrumental “unsung heroes” as for their vocal counterparts. Intimate and often deeply moving, this compelling May 20 performance promises to be a showcase for sublime musicality and lyrical bravery.
“The long-standing association of the Czech Republic’s Pavel Haas Quartet and Moscow-born Israeli pianist Boris Giltburg has resulted in an exquisite musical partnership. The quartet – which celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2022 – and Giltburg will perform two piano quintets at this year’s Festival by masters of late Romantic music – Brahms Piano Quintet in F minor Op 34 and Dvořák’s Piano Quintet in A Major Op 81 No 2. Giltburg also performs Prokofiev’s Piano Sonata No. 2 Op 14, a piece of enormous emotional contrasts. These exceptional performers provide audiences with an unmissable afternoon at Glyndebourne Opera House on May 8.
“The Youth Orchestra of Brighton & East Sussex, recently reunited to form an exciting new youth orchestra for the region, are joined by dynamic young pianist Jeneba Kanneh-Mason and conductor Peter Davison for a concert on May 9 echoing the theme of the Rebuilding festival. Featuring the best of the region’s young classical talent, freshly mentored by LSO musicians throughout their rehearsals, the show celebrates the great African-American composer Florence Price, alongside Gershwin’s An American in Paris. With the rebuilding of Price’s long-neglected reputation in recent years, his Piano Concerto and Third Symphony reflect the warmth and authority of his music – from the richness of full-fledged European Romanticism to the eloquence of Afro-American spirituals. Americans.
“The UK’s leading contemporary instrumentalists, Riot Ensemble, will make their Brighton Festival debut, bringing their dynamic contemporary classical virtuosity to the atmospheric atmosphere of All Saints Church on May 11. In this fascinating programme, echoing ideas across the Festival, Xenakis’ Paille in the Wind celebrates the centenary of the architect and master composer whose pioneering works reveal a unique fusion of music, mathematics and design. Pieces by Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho – a favorite of this year’s Festival co-guest director Marwa Al-Sabouni – combine with Brighton-based composers Peter Copley and Patrick Harrex and those of Outi Tarkianen and Anthony R Green, as part of a new generation of composers whose work responds to the world around us.
“On May 26, All Saints Church will host an evening honoring Syria’s rich musical culture. Beginning with In Damascus – a moving elegy for a war-torn country by composer Jonathan Dove, performed by tenor James Gilchrist and the UK’s Sacconi Quartet. Reflecting a dark vision of lost beauty and culture, Dove’s powerful musical expression of empathy, grief and outrage at the destruction wrought by conflict. Put into words by Syrian poet Ali Safar and offering a vivid account of life in a war-torn country, In Damascus is an eloquent plea for hope: for renewal; for reconciliation; and for peace.
“Later in the evening, one of the few female oud players in a traditionally male-dominated field, Rihab Azar, will take to the All Saints’ Day stage with her trio to perform classical and contemporary Syrian and Middle Eastern music. East in general. A graduate of the Damascus Conservatory who remains strongly linked to her Syrian roots, Azar’s collaborations with London Sinfonietta, Stile Antico and Cantata Dramatica have seen her perform on stages from the Royal Albert Hall to St Paul’s Cathedral.
“The Marian Consort’s Brighton Festival commission on May 13 is a typically imaginative performance, blending the baroque magnificence of Schütz’s Musikalische Exequien with the world premiere of a specially commissioned work by contemporary Irish composer David Fennessy. This unique twilight concert at All Saints Church weaves together the old and the new and contemplates mortality and immortality. Combining the austere ritual of ancient chant with the color, urgency and pathos of 17th-century solo chant, Fennessy’s new pieces responding to the startling themes of Schütz’s masterpiece capture the nobility of faith and the human spirit in times of torment.
“The Philharmonia Orchestra, conducted by Ilan Volkov, and featuring acclaimed soloists Gweneth-Ann Rand, Duncan Rock and the Brighton Festival Chorus will also celebrate the work of Kaija Saariaho, named BBC magazine’s ‘greatest living composer’ in 2019. Music. Saariaho’s Oltra Mar evokes marine travels and moods in a composition of profound power and beauty, while texts by poet Abou Saîd and author Amin Maalouf remind us of the place of humanity in the world. Order of Nature. Vaughan Williams’ Sea Symphony, set to words by poet Walt Whitman, is an epic companion and marks Williams’ 150th anniversary. This vast evocation of the ocean and the depths of the human condition will close the Brighton Festival on May 29.
Brighton Festival returns to full capacity in 2022, with an extensive international schedule of over 150 events taking place in Sussex from May 7-29.
Tickets at https://brightonfestival.org/whats-on/