Nielsen's Inextinguishable

London Symphony Orchestra/Sir Simon Rattle

Photo of Sir Simon Rattle conducting

Sir Simon Rattle brings together three harrowing and mournful pieces in this tragic tour-de-force.

Nielsen’s turbulent Symphony No 4 echoes the violence and ferocity of World War I. Opening with a furious blast of energy, chaos and a sense of instability reign for much of the piece, brought to a menacing climax by two warring percussion. But hopeful and atmospheric moments reoccur throughout the piece, embodying what Nielsen called ‘the elemental will to live’, or ‘the inextinguishable’.

Sibelius compresses the full energy of a four-movement symphony into a single movement with his unconventional Symphony No 7, described by Sir Simon Rattle as ‘almost like a scream.’ Barbara Hannigan joins Sir Simon for Abrahamsen’s hauntingly beautiful let me tell you, exploring the perspective of Shakespeare’s Ophelia.

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Barbican Hall