Entertainment, Music

University Symphony Orchestra

Up Next: 25th November 2023, 7:00pm
Location: Sit Jack Lyons Concert Hall
Symph Orch 540x304 1

John Stringer conductor

Saariaho Lumière et Pesanteur
Sibelius En Saga, op. 9
Shostakovich Symphony no. 15, op. 141

Following the sad news of her death earlier this year, University Symphony Orchestra’s first concert of our 2023/24 season opens with Saariaho’s short orchestral work Lumière et Pesanteur. Sibelius’ tone poem En Saga reflects the composer’s emotional state following several upsetting episodes in his life. Despite containing no extra-musical references, with its repetitive motifs and dark and brooding textures, the work has a distinctively Finnish character. As Sibelius declared later in life, ‘how could one think of anything but Finland while listening to it!’ Shostakovich wanted his final symphony to be ‘merry’, describing its first movement as a ‘toy-shop’. As Tom Service points out, however, while you might be able to characterise the atmosphere as ‘playful’, it is taking place ‘on a playground in the middle of a blasted, denuded landscape.’

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