Bernstein Symphony No 2 and Wonderful Town

London Symphony Orchestra/Sir Simon Rattle

Photo of Sir Simon Rattle conducting

Sir Simon Rattle presents a double-bill of works by Leonard Bernstein, to celebrate the centenary of the Orchestra’s former President.

Rattle is joined by pianist Krystian Zimerman for the symphony inspired by W H Auden’s ambitious book-length poem, The Age of Anxiety, which Bernstein considered ‘one of the most shattering examples of virtuosity in the history of English poetry’. It’s an eclectic set of variations for piano and orchestra, following four strangers as they struggle to combat their loneliness and isolation in an increasingly industrialised world.

One of Bernstein’s lesser-known musicals, Wonderful Town is nevertheless a swinging, bluesy, fun and uplifting piece, with five Tony Awards to its name. A sunny and good-humoured work, it tells the story of two sisters seeking success and bright lights from their basement apartment in New York City.

Barbican Hall