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Birdsong: Aimard plays Messiaen and Ravel

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Southbank Centre: Royal Festival HallBelvedere Road, London, Greater London, SE1 8XX, United Kingdom
Dates/times in London time zone

Brilliant pianist Pierre-Laurent Aimard joins the Philharmonia for an evening of sharply-etched musical depictions of the natural world.

Hailed as ‘an extraordinary visionary’ by The Washington Post, Aimard has been entrancing Southbank Centre audiences for many years. He opens with Ravel’s Miroirs – two movements in Ravel’s own orchestral arrangements, and the rest for solo piano. As intricate and precise as it is poetic, Ravel’s music conjures up a nocturnal gathering of moths, a boat rocked by ocean waves, and the call of a lone bird in a dark forest.

Piano and orchestra become a whole dawn chorus in Réveil des Oiseaux, by Aimard’s teacher Olivier Messiaen. Messiaen was a deeply religious man, and sought throughout his life to express the wonder of Creation in his music. He built this piece entirely from his own transcriptions of birdsong. His bold and vivid use of the orchestra, from woodblock cuckoos to violin finches, brings the birds of the mountains, fields and vineyards of France fluttering into the concert hall.

Ravel’s ballet music for Daphnis and Chloé is widely considered his greatest work, and its depiction of sunrise would top many people’s list of the most magical moments in the orchestral repertoire. In rich, imaginative writing he transports his listeners to a mythical world of shepherdesses, goatherds, gods – and pirates.

Price: £65, £48, £38, £29, £20, £13

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