The Genesis Suite was the idea of another, less well-known musician, Nathaniel Shilkret, who invited six other composers to write a movement each illustrating episodes from the first book of the Bible. Arnold Schoenberg took chaos, Shilkret himself came up with the creation, Darius Milhaud depicted the brothers Cain and Abel, and Stravinsky delivered Babel.
The United States had been a haven for artists fleeing the mainland of Europe as fascism spread, and their energy and creativity fed into American culture in all media – especially film, music, and visual art. But being fellow arrivals did not necessarily make them best friends, as the cool atmosphere at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre showed.
Sir Simon Rattle and the London Symphony Orchestra play the largely forgotten Genesis Suite in a concert that is given special visual interest by the creative director Gerard McBurney.
Also on the programme is one of the best-loved works by another emigre, Belá Bartók. His Concerto for Orchestra, first performed the year before the Genesis Suite, is a wonderfully robust piece, rich with melody and texture, and a marvellous piece to enjoy live in the concert hall, because of its extensive use of the percussion. In the lovely fourth movement Allegretto, the timpani have to change notes within in every second – and that's as good to look at as it is to hear.
|What||Genesis Suite, Rattle and the LSO, Barbican|
Silk Street, London, EC2Y 8DS | MAP
|Nearest tube||Barbican (underground)|
On 13 Jan 18, 7:30 PM – 9:40 PM
|Price||£15 - £55|
|Website||Click here for more information and booking|