The most recent golden era of music written by English composers began in the 20th century and continues to this day. The Bridging Europe festival is dedicating a special concert to the island nation's last 40 years. The works by Christian Mason, the youngest composer on the programme, his two teachers George Benjamin and Julian Anderson, and Thomas Adès, who has done more to spread contemporary English opera around the world than anyone else, reflect the beauties of the world around us and the importance of tiny details.
Mason says that the essence of the work of Pierre Boulez is creating an endless world out of the tiniest elements. In 2015, in order to honour the French master as he turned 90, he set a few lines of poetry by William Blake to music, centring it on the sound of small cymbal-like bells called crotales. It was a year later when Thomas Adès revised his own piece Lieux retrouvés, originally composed for cello and piano, for cello and chamber orchestra. The first movement features notes played ...with varying levels of intensity, while the second ascends a musical mountain through wild plucking. The next movement, entitled Les champs, is serene and restrained, capped off with enchanting harmonics from the cello ringing out into the emptiness. Contrasting with all of these is the dark and virtuosic cancan macabre in the final movement.
With the Alhambra Fantasy, Julian Anderson pays homage to the famous Spanish palace, depicting in music both the building's Moorish history and its beautiful natural setting. The title of the work by George Benjamin refers to the initial glow of dawn. The composer took inspiration from William Turner's painting Norham Castle, Sunrise, after feeling amazement at how it made solid objects seem to melt in the sunlight.
Presented by: Budapest Festival Orchestra, Müpa Budapest
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