Kurt Weill: The Seven Deadly Sins
Paul Hindemith: Symphony, Mathis der Maler
Arnold Schoenberg: Accompaniment to a Film Scene, Op.34
Berlin in the 1930s was a sassy, sleazy place of decadence, experimentation and simmering tension.
The inexorable rise of the Nazis forms the ever-present backdrop to this concert's iconic works.
Schoenberg's 'Accompaniment to a Film Scene' comes from the decade's opening, and its three numbers 'Danger threatens', 'Anguish' and 'Catastrophe' all present danger. Written with no particular film in mind, this curiosity is an early example of 'mood music', reflecting the influence of technology as well as Schoenberg's soon-to-be-outlawed modernity.
In addition to evoking the era's steamier side, Kurt Weill's sung ballet the 'The Seven Deadly Sins' (text by Brecht) reflects the cut-throat, razor-sharp edge of 1930s' political realities. Weill was forced to relocate to Paris following Hitler's accession in 1933, where the music's sultry sounds formed a happy marriage with George Balanchine's chic Parisian choreography. Performing in Weill's satirical play-with-dance is Shara Worden of My Brightest Diamond.
Hindemith's opera 'Mathis der Maler' was another victim of fascism - a portrait of Renaissance painter Matthias Grünewald, its subtext of artistic integrity in politically challenging times led to the Nazis banning the piece. Cunningly, Hindemith sneaked in the opera's symphonic prequel under the radar for its 1934 Berlin premiere, cocking a snook at the banality of political and artistic oppression.
'My Brightest Diamond front-woman Shara Worden has the classically trained vocal equipment for the opera but chooses to mix ambient indie-rock and Cocteau Twins-style goth.' (Isthmus)
'Guitarist and acclaimed composer Shara Worden blends striking, quasi-classical sounds with a love of lo-fi rock (PJ Harvey, Breeders). Here she plays a one-off special with a string quartet.' (Time Out London)
'Enigmatic songs from My Brightest Diamond; its leader, Shara Worden, sang with velvety richness as she dispensed stark riffs and elusive memories.' (The New York Times)
Please note that a number of Restricted View tickets are available to purchase at £5 in person and on the door. Please be advised prior to purchase that these Restricted View seats offer a limited view of the stage.Performers
BBC Concert Orchestra
André de Ridder conductor
Shara Worden vocalist