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WELCOME TO OUR 2017-18 SEASON
Source: Hallé Concerts Society
08/09/2017

In a season brimming with some of the greatest symphonies and concertos in the repertoire, there is a distinctly Russian flavour to our music in the coming year. We open with Tchaikovsky’s great Piano Concerto No. 1, followed by the Pathétique Symphony. Mark Elder will conduct Stravinsky’s triumphant fairytale The Firebird alongside Rachmaninov’s great Paganini Rhapsody and will lead a performance of Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition in a fascinating evening which includes Ravel’s Boléro.

Our widely acclaimed Beyond the Score presentations continue with Shostakovich’s Fourth Symphony. This shocking story sets the violence of the Soviet Union alongside political and personal events, using diaries, letters, documentary film and the astonishing posters of the time.

Mark Elder’s programmes will also delight Wagner fans, with performances of the overture and Venusburg music from Tännhauserthe funeral march and Rhine journey from Götterdämmerung, and, at last, our final installment of the Ring, Siegfried Acts I & II and Siegfried Act III, presented over two days. And there is so much else. Rachmaninov’s Second SymphonyElgar’s Cello ConcertoShostakovich’s Symphony No.5and Symphony No.8Beethoven’s Eroica and Brahms’s First Piano Concerto offer just a taste.

The Hallé Pops offers a great and varied selection of concerts from The Best of British CinemaVivaldi’s The Four SeasonsGreat Sci-Fi Moviesand España, to a night for Opera Lovers and the music of Quincy Jones. Plus there will be a stocking full of Christmas concerts including A Swinging Christmas with Gary Williamsan Evening with 007 and The Snowman back by popular demand, together with We’re Going on a Bearhunt!

A few words from Sir Mark Elder about the new season

The years since the falling of the Iron Curtain have perhaps increased the fascination with Russian culture where, as current events continue to demonstrate, nothing is quite what it seems. This is very much a Russian season, full of contrasts and contradictions!

We begin with Stravinsky’s ‘The Firebird’, the great ballet that inspired 20th-century Russian music and much else, and we visit great works by earlier Russian masters, Mussorgsky, Rimsky-Korsakov and Tchaikovsky, as well as three of Rachmaninov’s most deservedly popular works: the ‘Paganini Rhapsody’, the Third Piano Concerto and the Second Symphony.

Since I heard the London premiere of Shostakovich’s Fourth Symphony in the early 1960s, almost 30 years after it was completed, suppressed, and lost, the capacity of this composer’s largest and most powerful symphonies to speak to us about our modern age has continued to live with me, and I find this music seems to have more and more resonance with the public as the years go by. This season, we will perform three symphonies forged in the heat of controversy and against a background of barely-credible personal danger for Shostakovich.

Gerard McBurney’s brilliant ‘Beyond the Score’ concept, with the help of actors and film, illuminates the extraordinary story of the contentious Fourth symphony. We will later hear the Fifth and the Eighth symphonies, each in a context intended to highlight both the personal and wider cultural associations behind these two great works.

Throughout the season, great music and great performances are on offer, before we close with one of Wagner’s greatest masterpieces of music-drama. Some of our finest instrumental soloists return in concertos by Brahms, Beethoven, Elgar and Mendelssohn, and there will be new names and talents, soloists and conductors, to appreciate as always. The Hallé Choir sings Verdi, Handel, Mendelssohn and John Adams and Ryan Wigglesworth’s new orchestral work receives its Manchester premiere. At long last, we bring our acclaimed ‘Ring’ cycle to a climax with Wagner’s hero Siegfried braving the flames to awaken Brünnhilde. I can’t wait!

Sir Mark Elder

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