Huddersfield Philharmonic & Huddersfield Choral Society
“His writing desk resembled a surgeon’s instrument case. Bottles of different coloured inks in their ordered hierarchy each had a part to play in the ordering of his art….One was reminded of the definition of St Thomas: beauty is the splendour of order.” Whose desk? Stravinsky’s. And which of his works was described by Georges Pioch as a masterpiece in 1913 (in contrast to his opinion of The Rite of Spring)? The Firebird. Both works were commissioned by Diaghilev for the Paris-based Ballet Russe and The Firebird was an overnight success. Debussy was thrilled by its “unusual combinations of rhythms”. The ballet tells the story of how the firebird helps a young prince to rescue a beautiful princess from an evil ogre and win her heart in the process – not the most unusual of stories, but definitely something new and different in the music.
For the second half of this concert the Philharmonic are joined by the Huddersfield Choral Society for a performance of Walton’s dramatic cantata, “Belshazzar’s Feast”. Originally commissioned by the BBC for small chorus, small orchestra not exceeding 15 and a soloist, this work outgrew those limitations and took some 2 years to complete. It received its first performance in October 1931 as part of the Leeds Festival (after 6 month rehearsals) and was critically acclaimed. Robert Guy conducts a chorus and orchestra that can in no way be described as small. Not only will there be a full stage of performers but also off-stage bands, so dramatic is the apt word.
Soloist: Stuart Orme
Conductor: Robert Guy