The 1812 Overture and The Lark Ascending in a celebration of musical ties between Britain and Russia in the stunning surrounds of the Usher Hall.
Discover one of the brightest, freshest classical ensembles around. Founded just this year, the Britten-Shostakovich Festival Orchestra brings together exceptional young musicians from the UK and Russia in a captivating celebration of cultural friendship between the two countries.
Under founding conductor and Artistic Director Jan Latham-Koenig, the Orchestra performs powerful music from Britain and Russia, featuring iconic works by the two composers who give it its name – both 20th-century geniuses brought together by their devoted musical friendship.
Jennifer Pike, former BBC Young Musician winner and now a respected international soloist, soars through the exquisite avian evocations of Vaughan Williams’s nostalgic The Lark Ascending. Widely viewed as Britain’s favourite piece of classical music, it was originally written in 1914 but its premiere was put on hold until 1921 due to the outbreak of the First World War. Notoriously difficult to play, when performed by one capable it sounds light, effortless and free – all of which audiences can expect from the magnificent Jennifer Pike.
Clangourous bells and an all-engulfing storm mark out the vivid Four Sea Interludes from Britten’s Peter Grimes, while the shattering intensity of his film score Hamlet and the mischievous humour of his perky Suite for Variety Orchestra display two contrasting sides to the mercurial Shostakovich.
Tchaikovsky’s spectacular 1812 Overture brings the concert to a roof-raising close. While the great composer reportedly hated the piece, its mass popularity helped make him a household name and it’s been referenced repeatedly across 20th century popular culture, from a Woody Allen movie to The Simpsons.
Karl Chapman, Cultural Venues Manager at Usher Hall, said: “We are absolutely delighted to welcome the wonderful Britten-Shostakovich Festival Orchestra, one of the youngest and best touring orchestras around, to celebrate the best in Russian and British music at the Usher Hall. To hear the likes of the timeless The Lark Ascending, voted Britain’s favourite piece of classical music, performed by the amazing Jennifer Pike will be a truly special experience not to be missed, especially when juxtaposed with the hugely popular and bombastic 1812 Overture.