Mark Wigglesworth conductor
Jess Gillam saxophone
Elgar Overture: Cockaigne
Anna Clyne Glasslands (for alto saxophone and orchestra) UK Premiere
Ravel Ma mere l’oye
Beethoven Symphony No. 5
What better way to open a season than with a UK premiere from a world-leading composer, performed by a brilliant young saxophonist who’s fast becoming a national treasure? Jess Gillam’s infectious enthusiasm and effortless virtuosity make her an irresistible force in performance. Here she explores the darkly magical world of Anna Clyne’s Glasslands, three realms governed by the banshee of Irish folklore, mercurial and mesmerising by turns.
Ravel’s captivating Ma mere l’oye (Mother Goose) conjures a more benign magical world, populated by famous fairy tale figures such as Sleeping Beauty, Tom Thumb and Beauty and the Beast. The title of Elgar’s upbeat Cockaigne Overture also refers to a mythical land but its inspiration is altogether more worldly. His ‘stout and steaky’ homage (Elgar’s words) to turn-of-the-century London blazes with brass bands and seduces with lovers’ trysts in secluded public gardens. Ending the concert with elemental power is Beethoven’s fate-fuelled Fifth Symphony. With fiercely concentrated energy throughout, it ignites in a blazing finale where Beethoven provides extra firepower by adding a piccolo, contrabassoon and trombones to the symphony orchestra for the first time.
Free pre-concert talk, 6.20pm in the auditorium: Jess Gillam in conversation.