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London Symphony Orchestra/François-Xavier Roth

Half Six Fix: Varèse & Berlioz

Composer François-Xavier Roth

Arcana came to its composer in a dream. Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique is more like a nightmare. Tonight’s Half Six Fix is about imaginations running off the leash.

In revolutionary France, a roaring mob surges around the guillotine. A century later, Edgard Varèse dreamed of incandescent colours, stormy seas and powers capable of transforming the world. These are astonishing sounds for a rush-hour concert – but why squeeze onto the tube when you could be exploring the universe?

And even if you already know the March to the Scaffold from Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique, there’s still nothing to match the shock value of Varèse’s ear-splitting Arcana, or the uncompromising percussive energy of Ionisation. Two radicals, separated by a century – but for conductor François-Xavier Roth, they never stop sounding new, and tonight he explains why. Music to startle, to provoke, and to challenge the way you hear.

This concert is part of Half Six Fix, a different way to experience the LSO, with an introduction to the music from François-Xavier Roth, and digital programme notes on your phone or device. Grab a drink, take your seat and enjoy the music.

The performance is expected to finish around 7.30pm.

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