Beethoven and Beyond

In a few hours, Norrlands Opera Symphony Orchestra and I will begin our survey of Beethoven Symphonies here in the new European Capital of Culture – Umeå, Sweden.

There will be four concerts in total taking place over one and a half weeks, but our Beethoven cycle has a difference – we have commissioned nine different Swedish composers to each write a nine minute work to be played alongside one of the nine symphonies.
We held a ‘lottery’ a while back to match the composers with a particular symphony and it has been really interesting to see how they have been inspired by their allotted work.

We will be playing the first three symphonies today, and the corresponding world premieres by Kent Olofsson, Fredrik Högberg and Kim Hedås. Quite a marathon, but perhaps slightly eased for the audience by the provision of our special ‘Beethoven and Beyond’ sausage which they will receive in the long interval!

Members of the orchestra and I had a very enjoyable evening making a lot of sausages the other night, with thanks to the guys at local gourmet store Duå (http://www.duaumea.se).
We tried to come up with a sausage to reflect Beethoven’s revolutionary, unique style that emerges during the series of symphonies and the result is wonderful, with more than a nod to the ‘Wiener Schnitzel’. Here is a photo of one of Bassoonists, Maria with her beautifully twisted bangers!

Maria

 

All the concerts will be recorded for broadcast by Swedish Radio in the week beginning the 20th January. I will post details later.

Meanwhile, here is the link to the NorrlandsOperan website about the concerts.

http://www.norrlandsoperan.se/sve/evenemang/0111-beethoven-beyond/5626

and the official Umeå2014 website

http://umea2014.se/

New CD – British Overtures

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BBCNOW/Rumon Gamba

Frederic Austin – The Sea Venturers (1934)
Granville Bantock – The Frogs (1935)
Samuel Coleridge-Taylor – The Song of Hiawatha (1899)
Frederic Cowen – The Butterfly’s Ball (1901)
Henry Balfour Gardiner – Overture to a Comedy (1906, rev. 1911)
Alexander Mackenzie – The Little Minister (1897)
Charles Villiers Stanford – Oedipus Rex Prelude (1885)
Arthur Sullivan – Macbeth (1888)

Released 16th December but available as a download right now from theclassicalshop.net

Full details here

Rózsa

This week I’ve been performing the Rózsa Viola Concerto with the amazing Lawrence Power and a few people have asked where they can hear more by this great composer.
Well as a matter of fact I have recorded three CDs of his orchestral music with the BBC Philharmonic captured in spectacular sound by Chandos.

Follow the links below for more information on each CD (also available to download).

20130531-130319.jpgOrchestral Music vol.1

20130531-130335.jpgOrchestral Music vol.2

20130531-130345.jpgOrchestral Music vol.3

Britten, Haydn, Moeran Live on BBC Radio 3

Rumon will be appearing with the Ulster Orchestra and Mezzo-Soprano Jennifer Johnston live on BBC Radio 3 this Wednesday evening (10/4/2013).

The concert includes E.J Moeran’s rarely performed Sinfonietta plus two dramatic scenarios for Mezzo-Soprano – Britten’s Phaedra and Arianna a Naxos by Haydn.  The concert begins with Britten’s Suite ‘A Time There Was’.

Live on Radio 3 at 1930 UK time.

Details here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01rr9n2

New d’Indy CD out now

The latest volume of the orchestral music by Vincent d’Indy has been released. Featuring perhaps d’Indy’s best known work, the Symphonie sur un Chant Montagnard Français for piano and orchestra (with soloist Louis Lortie), the disc is the first commercial recording made in Iceland’s new concert hall, Harpa.

More details here:  http://www.chandos.net/details06.asp?CNumber=CHAN%2010760

CHAN 10760

Bornholm

It’s always fun when you get to take a trip with an orchestra somewhere slightly different or new, and so having played our concert in Aalborg on Thursday night, we allowed the van to get a headstart on Friday before the rest of us left Aalborg airport early Saturday bound for the small island of Bornholm. Part of Denmark, Bornholm is actually nearer to Sweden, in the Baltic sea and turns out to have quite an interesting history from the times of the crusades to the second world war. We took over the church in the main town of Rønne, a rather nice place with many old houses and a sense of community and history that naturally comes with a life inextricably linked with the sea and the fishing port. Although it was rather wet and windy, it seemed like a beautiful place and the isalnd as a whole is apparently a hugely popular holiday destination, particularly with Germans!
My German soloist, Daniel Müller-Schott once again played the Haydn C major with brilliance, energy, poise, delicacy and beauty (and much more besides!) before we launched into a rip-roaring Beethoven’s second symphony. I caught the eye of Peter, one of our stage managers just before I went out to conduct and he had a look of slight panic at the prospect of de-rigging the concert and a race to catch the last ferry to the mainland in a very short amount of time! I like to think we helped him out a little bit…

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Coming soon to a concert hall near you…

With the new concert season about to kick off, here is a trailer for a really interesting project scheduled for November in Umeå: Fredrik Högberg’s multimedia piano concerto.  The composer made the news earlier in the year for dropping a flaming grand piano from a bridge into a frozen river…will be interesting to see what becomes of it all!