Ben Gernon conductor
Jess Gillam alto saxophone
Bartók The Miraculous Mandarin (Suite)
Glazunov Saxophone Concerto
Debussy Rhapsody for Orchestra and Saxophone
Tchaikovsky Symphony No. 5
The hurtling rhythms of Bartók’s Miraculous Mandarin plunge us into the heart of an unforgiving city, where a gang of do-badders pounce on hapless victims enticed into their seedy lair. But they get more than they bargain for when the mysterious figure of the title strides into their world, his shimmering robes a portent of this 20th-century classic’s edgy magic. In stark contrast, Glazunov’s Saxophone concerto breathes the rich harmonies of his plush Romantic soundworld. Jess Gillam, a former BBC Young Musician finalist and winning advocate for the saxophone’s classical credentials, is our soloist here, and also in Debussy’s Rhapsody, a subtle piece of Impressionism with a Spanish flavour. Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony finds this conflicted composer grappling once again with the forces of fate, but here the emotional journey is one that ends triumphantly. The Fifth quickly became the most popular of all his symphonies, its passionate melodies matched by a roll call of perfectly-pitched solos.
Free pre-concert talk, 6.30pm in the auditorium: Jess Gillam in conversation.