pulsating rhythms, striking colours and brutal harmonies

Stravinsky’s Le sacre du printemps – or, to use its English title, The Rite of Spring – arrived like a thunderclap in Paris in 1913, provoking a riot that has gone down in the annals of music history. Its pulsating rhythms, striking colours and brutal harmonies have lost none of their power to shock, but audiences today are more likely to be invigorated rather than outraged by the work’s seismic energy.

Also shocking in its own way is Richard Strauss’s Also sprach Zarathustra, a work composed in 1896 and, in the words of the composer, “Dedicated to the 20th Century”. Inspired by Friedrich Nietzsche’s philosophical novel of the same name, Also sprach Zarathustra was used to spectacular effect as the title music in Stanley Kubrick’s cult classic, 2001: A Space Odyssey. Ligeti likewise won a whole new audience for himself thanks to 2001. Lontano is like a mirage – sounds appear from nowhere, float dreamily and disappear into the ether. Music meets metaphysics in this strange and haunting work.

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Performers in this concert