A land fabled for its snow-covered winters and a history rich with drama, it is perhaps no wonder that Russia has also produced some of the greatest ever composers. This season, explore many of their finest works at Southbank Centre.
The Russian musical tradition has long been championed by audiences the world over thanks to the variety of riches it offers – from the Romantic passion of Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov, to the innovative brilliance of Stravinsky and Prokofiev.
Providing a unique and valuable insight into the Russian tradition are the three War & Peace concerts. Conducted by Vladimir Jurowski – the London Philharmonic Orchestra’s Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor – as part of Southbank Centre’s Shell Classic International series, these concerts bring together the more intensely Romantic music of his home country, Russia, with music from Great Britain.
Passionate orchestral works by Benjamin Britten, such as his Sinfonia da Requiem, and Vaughan Williams’ arresting Symphony No.6, are performed alongside similarly moving works by Russian composers Prokofiev, Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky.
As Gillian Moore, Southbank Centre’s Head of Classical Music, explains: ‘Vladimir Jurowski’s series War & Peace, which brings together for the first time the Russian National Orchestra with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, is a very special highlight. The series culminates in a massive jointforces concert, a kind of orchestral super group where the two orchestras come together. I think it’s going to be an absolute must for any lovers of great orchestral playing and of great music.’
Explaining the concept behind the series, Jurowski says: ‘The premiere of Shostakovich’s Seventh Symphony took place exactly 70 years ago in 1942, and the other thing is the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Borodino which decided the destiny of the Napoleonic War. So, there is war and peace, there is [Tchaikovsky’s] 1812 Overture and there is also Shostakovich; and what brings it all together is the collaboration with the Russian National Orchestra – for me, the leading Russian orchestra at the moment.’
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