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Alisa Weilerstein & Trondheim Soloists

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Southbank Centre: Queen Elizabeth HallBelvedere Road, London, Greater London, SE1 8XX, United Kingdom
On Wednesday 16 October 2019 at 19:30

From sunny to soulful – enjoy the many moods of three of the finest string sextets of the 19th and 20th centuries, with a majestic American soloist and a leading Norwegian chamber ensemble. The evening opens with an enchanting sextet by one of the 19th and early 20th century’s most progressive Romantic composers, Richard Strauss, who brings his lush harmonic style and complex textures to his version of elegant 18th-century chamber music. This sextet serves as the opening to Strauss’ opera Capriccio, set in a French chateau from that time. In the opera, the piece is presented as a gift to a Countess. Music critic Michael Kennedy described Capriccio as 'the nearest [Strauss] came to unflawed perfection in a work of art.’

Tchaikovksky’s Souvenir de Florence finds the composer in holiday mood, the bouncy opening of this atmospheric sextet evoking the city that gave the piece its name. Sit back and enjoy the flight of fancy, full of glorious melodies, as the piece moves from a tender slow movement into a dramatic third and fourth, featuring folk motifs that Tchaikovsky brought to this Italian scene.

The evening comes to a close with Schönberg’s lush, almost painfully Romantic Verklärte Nacht (Transfigured Night). An expressive revelation, it manages to combine the chromaticism of Wagner and lyricism of Brahms, and introduced Schönberg as the herald of a brave new century on its premiere in 1903.

Alisa Weilerstein and the Trondheim Soloists recently released a highly regarded recording of Verklärte Nacht. The Guardian observed that the ensemble ‘capture every shift of colour and allow their soloists to move into and out of the foreground beautifully. It’s a yearning, soulful performance.’ The ongoing relationship brings together the youthful energy of the Norwegian string orchestra and the galvanising force of Alisa Weilerstein, a 2011 MacArthur Fellow, who was appointed artistic partner of the Trondheim Soloists in 2017. Of her appearance in Southbank Centre’s 2017/18 season, The Times wrote, ‘[she]found a balance between intimacy and grandeur – the connection between artist and material was vivid.’

Ticket prices: £45, 35, 25, 15

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