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Basel Symphony Orchestra 1

More than minimal - Mini(mal music) Festival


Philip Glass
Overture (2012)
Arvo Pärt
Lamentate for piano and orchestra
John Adams


Dennis Russell Davies
Maki Namekawa

One of Switzerland’s leading orchestras, the Basel Symphony Orchestra has a broad repertoire ranging effortlessly from the Viennese classics to contemporary music. Whether in the concert hall or the opera house, this internationally varied group of musicians constantly demonstrates its unique flexibility and artistic prowess.

The orchestra performs a set of three concerts presenting visually inspired music with its roots in minimalism.

Philip Glass’ Overture was composed to commemorate the bicentennial of the War of 1812 in which the USA fought Great Britain over Canada, at that time one of its colonies. The work was commissioned from Glass to provide an ‘appropriately American alternative to Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, and is full of typically Glassian changing musical patterns and vivid orchestration, including the use of an anvil.

Pärt’s Lamentate is a homage to Anish Kapoor and his giant sculpture Marsyas which had a powerful impact on the composer when he first saw it. The resulting work, scored for piano and orchestra, is not a typical piano concerto, but is instead marked by two diametrically opposed moods – ‘brutal/overwhelming’ and ‘intimate/fragile’ – which are not placed opposite one another, but left to develop themselves in a conflict that runs throughout the entire work.

John Adams’ spectacular Harmonielehre was triggered by a dream he had of a supertanker suddenly taking flight from San Francisco Bay. After wrestling with the legacy of Schoenberg and Mahler, it was a breakthrough piece in which the composer arrived at a new and confident means of expression, culminating in an exhilarating ‘tidal wave of brass and percussion’.

Part of Zurich International Orchestra Series 2013-14.

From 6.30pm: free pre-concert music in the Culford Room
The London Basset Horn Trio performs two Divertimenti by Mozart.

Part of Zurich International Orchestra Series 2013/14

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