20th Century Masters

London Symphony Orchestra/Sir Simon Rattle

Photo of woman in pink blouse

These late works from four composers show that even on the brink of death, they were still capable of vital, even surprising, bursts of creativity.

Janácek’s overture from his final completed work circles round a single theme. We hear it again and again and every time, he forces us into a new perspective, to listen deeper and deeper to subtle details. 

So what a relief when Carter’s Instances constantly renews itself with a continuous stream of fresh musical ideas! His last orchestral work, written at age 103, celebrates the joy of creating something new.

Berg's final completed work, the Violin Concerto is a heart-breaking work – dedicated ‘to the memory of an angel’. He struggled all his life with a single question: how to write music that resolved the apparent conflict between systematic rigour and uninhibited emotional expression. And in this work he may have found his answer.

Bartók’s Concerto for Orchestra, while not his final work, offers a similar feeling of personal resolution. Pierre Boulez called the composer ‘the great synthesiser’ because he brought together disparate styles and traditions into a single coherent identity.

Pre-concert event

5.30pm Barbican Hall
LSO Platform: Guildhall artists perform in the Barbican Hall. Free entry.

SCRIABIN Two Poèmes Op 32
JANACEK Sonata 1 X 1905
RACHMANINOV Variations on a Theme of Corelli, Op 42

Ryan Drucker piano

Barbican Hall