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BBC SO/Oramo

Sakari clapping his hands joyfully

Mesmeric ballet music commissioned by the extraordinary Ida Rubinstein meets an exquisite piano concerto with a special place in BBC Symphony Orchestra history.

In the early 1910s, the Russian Ida Rubinstein arrived in Paris – unusually tall, precipitously talented and possessing a strange androgynous beauty (as well as a pet tiger). Her effect on the music scene was huge. In 1933, she commissioned Stravinsky to write Persephone, a celebration of spring full of tenderness and beauty. 

A few years earlier she had asked Ravel for a ballet score, which became Boléro – a hypnotic, continuous crescendo over a single rhythm that would become iconic. It may not be a ballet, but Schoenberg’s Piano Concerto, introduced to the UK by the BBC Symphony Orchestra in 1945, pits dancing lyricism against rigorous counterpoint to fascinating effect. 

The performance will finish at approximately 9.15pm. It includes a 20 minute interval.


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