RNCM’s War & Peace Season
Part of the global commemoration of the First World War Centenary, our War & Peace season looks at musical interpretations of the horrors of war as well as themes of hope in the face of adversity.
Continuing our programme of events, our end of year RNCM Symphony Orchestra concert at The Bridgewater Hall on the 27 June will be an evening of dramatic and evocative music from Stravinsky, Shostakovich and more.
The feature piece, Shostakovich’s epic Seventh Symphony (Symphony No 7 in C major Op 60 ‘Leningrad’) was written during the siege of Leningrad, when as many as a million people died of cold and starvation.
The composer was shrewd enough to let the world believe that his music was about the enemy without – though it was also clearly about the enemy within. He later declared: ‘I have nothing against calling the Seventh the Leningrad…but it’s not about the Leningrad under siege, it’s about the Leningrad that Stalin destroyed and Hitler finished off.’
Since its first performance in 1942, the ‘Leningrad’ has been seen as a symbol of resistance against the Nazis. However, it isn’t simply a work about Operation Barbarossa, it is better viewed as a depiction of brutality in general, and is a statement against aggression full stop.
In July, After the Silence: Music in the Shadow of War will explore the soundscape of war in the setting of IWM North, where the RNCM will create a living installation to portray and evoke the emotions elicited by warfare. The audio-visual spectacle will form part of IWM North’s Reactions 14 season of creative responses to the First World War.
The performance juxtaposes poignant pieces such as Butterworth’s A Shropshire Lad with jazz, post-war ragtime and big band pieces representing the sounds of hope.
With brass fanfares and mighty percussion, plaintive woodwind, evocative song, expressive strings, gritty and heart-rending at the same time, After the Silence promises to bring the season to a close with a total commemoration of sound and visuals, music, projections, interviews and film in an overwhelming and unforgettable experience.
1 May 2014