RNCM Symphony Orchestra: The Genesis Suite
Friday 6 March 7.30pm
RNCM Concert Hall
Arnold Schoenberg, Nathaniel Shilkret,
Alexandre Tansman, Darius Milhaud,
Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Ernst Toch,
Igor Stravinsky Genesis Suite
Antonín Dvořák Symphony No 9 in E minor Op 95 ‘From the New World’
Douglas Boyd, Clark Rundell, Harish Shankar, Ellie Slorach conductor
In their review of the LSO’s 2018 UK première of the Genesis Suite conducted by Simon Rattle, the Guardian described the piece as: ‘the most fascinating work you’ve never heard of.’ Praise indeed!
1945: the world is reeling from war and persecution on a scale never seen before. Nathaniel Shilkret, himself a second-generation Jewish immigrant, took a break from writing film scores to plan this collaborative seven-part work with two benevolent purposes – on one hand to galvanise American morale with a stirring musical work accompanying a narration of the Book of Genesis, on the other, to provide refugee composers with paid work. The result? A work of incredible ambition with political themes that still resonate today – stories of displaced peoples, broken promises and destruction.
The Genesis Suite displays an unsurprising mix of styles and influences, with Schoenberg’s evocative opening, nods to Hollywood and inspired flashes throughout. Our performance will be conducted by Clark Rundell alongside two former RNCM conductors, Harish Shankar and Ellie Slorach, rapidly making their names in the profession, and we’ll be working with students from MMU’s School of Art who’ll be creating original artwork as backdrops for each of the seven movements.
The programme also features Dvořák’s towering masterpiece, a work that heralded a new dawn for American music. The clue is in the subtitle, From the New World. It very much looks back, from the USA, to Dvořák’s native Bohemia, as if the composer is standing at the feet of the Statue of Liberty, desperately looking to see if he can make out his faraway homeland.
6.30pm // Carole Nash Recital Room
TALK: From Europe to Hollywood – Genesis Suite and 1945 in context with Barbara Kelly
Free admission, no ticket required