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Notes of Nostalgia

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Exeter CathedralExeter, South-West, EX1 1HS, United Kingdom
On Thursday 26 April 2018 at 19:30

When a young Richard Strauss attended a performance of Wagner’s Tristan and Isolde, he was totally captivated and a year later composed Death and Transfiguration, a tone poem that pays homage to the opera. It describes the last hours of an artist who has aimed to achieve the highest ideals. Opening with a throbbing ostinato which suggests the rhythm of the dying man’s heartbeat, two important themes reappear throughout in different guises, representing different stages of his life's journey.

Written at the end of Dvořák’s three-year contract in New York, the Cello Concerto reflects some of his American experiences but is at the same time filled with the spirit of his beloved Bohemia where he longed to return. It contains some of his most memorable melodies and one of the loveliest of horn solos, and by placing the solo cello into a variety of constantly changing instrumental combinations the result is most delicate and translucent. Britten’s Sea Interludes are not only a set of brilliantly realised tone portraits of the sea and its many faces, but a subtle psychological primer on the deep questions posed in the opera itself.

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