In this programme, conductor Francois-Xavier Roth brings together three composers, who, in their own lifetimes were considered to be at the forefront of modern music. The concert begins with Ligeti’s Lontano, which conjures images of “long submerged dream worlds of childhood”.
The LSC then joins the LSO for a performance of Bartok’s Cantata Profana, a work which received its premiere in London on 25th May 1934. It relates the story of a father whose nine sons, while hunting a large and beautiful stag are themselves transformed into stags. Bartok once confided that this piece was “his most profound credo”.
After the interval Haydn’s Nelson Mass is the single work in the second half of the evening, his “Mass for Troubled Times”, written in the wake of Napoleon’s advance on Austria. Haydn’s chief biographer considered this mass to be “arguably Haydn’s greatest single composition”. What Haydn did not know was that Napoleon had been dealt a stunning defeat at the Battle of the Nile by Admiral Horatio Nelson. Because of this coincidence, the mass gradually acquired the nickname “Lord Nelson Mass”. When Nelson, accompanied by his mistress Lady Hamilton visited the Palais Esterhazy, it is thought he may have heard the mass performed.
The vocal soloists in this concert are: Camilla Tilling (soprano), Adele Charvet (mezzo-soprano), Julien Behr (tenor), Matthew Rose (bass).