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Gershwin, Ives, Harris and Bernstein

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Barbican HallSilk Street, London, Greater London, EC2Y 8DS, United Kingdom
On Saturday 6 June 2020 at 19:30

Six portraits of America from the first half of the 20th century round off Sir Simon Rattle’s season-long exploration of sources of musical inspiration in toe-tapping style.

Jazz and Latin inevitably predominate in the featured works by Gershwin and Bernstein. Yet both composers fold in other, more classical influences – from the impressionistic swirls of Debussy in An American in Paris to the spiky rhythms of Stravinsky in Three Dance Episodes.

There is a more home-grown and nostalgic feel to the other music in the concert. Military and hymn tunes weave in and out of Charles Ives’ melancholic and typically idiosyncratic Decoration Day. There are fragments of folk melodies peppered throughout Roy Harris’ expansive and shimmering Third Symphony, described by Sir Simon Rattle as one of the symphonic masterpieces of the last century.

A programme of great variety and contrast, yet each composer in their own way quintessentially American.


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