The orchestra presents the complete score of one of Stravinsky’s most popular pieces, The Firebird, which represented an international breakthrough for the 27-year-old composer when he was commissioned by the Ballet Russes to write a Russian-inflected score for a major new ballet.
An unknown who had previously arranged some Chopin pieces for the dance company, Stravinsky was impresario Diaghilev’s third and wild-card choice for the job: Rimsky-Korsakov had just died, and an arrangement with Lyadov came to nothing.
The ballet’s scenario was drawn up by a committee who included its choreographer and designer. The intention was to ride the wave of Parisian enthusiasm for Russian nationalism, and the concept was a melange of Slavic folk-tales.
Stravinsky came through with a musical triumph: a bold, modern, gorgeously orchestrated work offering engaging drama and appealing folk melodies.
The relationship between John Adams, the composer of Nixon in China, and the orchestra of his home city has lasted over 40 years, taking in the first performances of works such as Grand Pianola Music and Harmonielehre.
In this concert, the San Francisco Symphony perform the UK premiere of a new work by Adams at Royal Festival Hall, commissioned by San Francisco Symphony and Carnegie Hall.
Under Michael Tilson Thomas, the orchestra’s 2012 recording of Adams’ Harmonielehre & Short Ride in a Fast Machine won a Grammy for Best Orchestral Performance.
PerformersSan Francisco Symphony
RepertoireJohn Adams: I still dance * (UK premiere)
* Please note change of work from originally advertised