World premiere of Swensen’s ‘The Fire and the Rose’

The Scottish Chamber Orchestra performs the world premiere of Joseph Swensen’s Symphony for horn and orchestra ‘The Fire and the Rose’ in Glasgow City Halls on Friday 3 April, and Edinburgh Queen’s Hall on Saturday 4 April, conducted by Swensen (pictured) himself and featuring virtuoso horn player Radovan Vlatković, for whom the work was written. The new symphony is programmed alongside Sibelius’ Pelléas and Mélisande and Respighi’s The Birds.

The Fire and the Rose is the largest scale work Swensen has written to date, both in length and instrumentation. Swensen took his inspiration from T.S. Eliot’s poem, Four Quartets, a poem that was written in response to Beethoven’s late string quartets. The two main themes are time and remembering, with many references to déjà vu in Eliot’s poem. Swensen has captured the essence of déjà vu by creating echoes of echoes which reverberate throughout the piece. The symphony features an extensive range of percussion, from cowbells to marimba, as well as samples of other instruments played on synthesizers.

Swensen says of his new work:
“I wrote the Symphony in reverse (the last movement being written first, and so on) and I often felt as if I were trying to remember a dream, from the relative clarity of the ending, backwards toward the nearly forgotten events of the beginning... All the musical material is closely related – the handful of motifs and melodies with which it is built are not, for the most part, developed as in traditional classical symphonies: rather they are repeated in ever varied ways and contexts through the work.”

Joseph Swensen will be talking about his new work at pre-concert talks in both Glasgow and Edinburgh – free to ticket-holders.

Edinburgh audiences can hear horn player Radovan Vlatković perform in a more intimate Sunday afternoon chamber concert at the Queen’s Hall on Sunday 5 April at 2:30pm. Vlatković performs Dohnanyi’s Sextet with an SCO Ensemble, and the Orchestra’s Principal Clarinet, Maximilliano Martín, takes the solo in Brahms’ Clarinet Quintet.

SIBELIUS Pelléas and Mélisande
SWENSEN Symphony for horn and orchestra ‘The Fire and the Rose’ World premiere

Joseph Swensen, conductor
Radovan Vlatković, horn

Friday 3 April, 7:30pm Glasgow City Halls
Saturday 4 April, 7:30pm Edinburgh Queen’s Hall


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