Daniel Barenboim and the Staatskapelle Berlin, returning heroes of the BBC Proms, give the UK premiere of Sir Harrison Birtwistle’s Deep time and deliver an outstanding performance of Edward Elgar’s Second Symphony at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Barenboim and the Staatskapelle contrast Birtwistle’s contemporary piece with the Second Symphony by Elgar, thus reaffirming their special relationship with the revered British composer: “The Staatskapelle, driven by Barenboim, has become probably the world’s best Elgar-orchestra.” (Die Welt) They excel in their performance of the Symphony No. 2 which is considered one of the greatest English symphonies, earning praise for playing it “with heroic sweep and heart-melting beauty” (Spectator) and “magnificent energy” (Daily Telegraph). The night is dedicated to celebrate European culture in all its diversity: the German orchestra under Barenboim, who is a passionate advocate of international understanding, gives a “superb performance of Britain’s finest symphonies and its greatest living composer, each first and foremost part of a wider European tradition.” (The Guardian) The new orchestral epic Deep time by Birtwistle, a co-commission from the Proms and the Staatskapelle, revolves around the composer’s fascination with layers of time. Harrison Birtwistle, who is generally deemed Britain’s greatest living composer, refers with the title to the notion of geological time and the perpetual cycle of erosion and formation. Under its music director Barenboim, the orchestra embraces Birtwistle’s challenging music, fully capturing the immensity of the concept of “deep time”. Despite a five minute blackout during the recording of the performance, this unique concert of Barenboim and the Staatskapelle Berlin was captured in its entirety, with beauty shots compensating for any discontinuity.
SIR HARRISON BIRTWISTLE
(BBC co-commission with the Staatskapelle Berlin)
Symphony No. 2 in E flat major, Op. 63